Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chocolate Banana Bread

Since sourdough bread was the primary topic of yesterday, I thought I'd wait until today to share the recipe for the chocolate banana bread I made while waiting for the sourdough to rise.  It was an experiment to test a recipe for my dad.  

Doesn't look like banana bread, does it? 
The flecks on top are pieces of the ground nuts.
Dad loves nuts, but he can't chew them.  I wanted to see what the results would be of adding finely ground nuts to my favorite (chocolate)  banana bread recipe.  I'm looking to include the flavor of the nuts without the large pieces I would normally use for myself.  It needs a little more work.  I think maybe swapping out some of the butter with some corresponding nut oil may help boost the flavor.  I'll have to neglect some more bananas to test this again.

Decadent breakfast:  a thick slice of bread with mascarpone and blood orange marmalade.

Chocolate Banana Bread
Adapted from Cindy Mushet’s Chocolate-Banana Marble Bread in The Art and Soul of Baking

3 medium-sized, super ripe bananas
1/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup finely chopped or ground pecans, walnuts or almonds - optional  (I used pecans and almonds)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Spray a large (9” x 5” x 3”) loaf pan with cooking spray and coat with butter.  Line with parchment to go up one inch over the long sides – these will be “handles” to remove the bread from the pan. 

Peel the bananas and process them in a food processor until smooth.  (You can also just mash them if you don’t want to wash the food processor.)  Measure out one cup of the puree.  Discard the rest or freeze it and save it for another use.  Combine the banana puree with the buttermilk and vanilla.  Set aside.

Sift together the cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cocoa.  Set aside.  (If you're not into the chocolate/banana combination, swap the cocoa powder for an equal amount of cake flour.)

Cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until very light and fluffy, three to five minutes.  Stop and scrape down the bowl and paddle periodically.  Reduce the speed to medium and slowly begin adding the beaten egg, drizzling in no more than one tablespoon at a time.  If the mixture starts to look curdled, stop adding the egg and beaten until smooth before adding any more.  Stop and scrape about half way through.  When all of the egg has been incorporated, add the ground nuts and mix until thoroughly combined.  Scrape the bowl and paddle.  

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add one third of the dry ingredients, followed by half of the banana/buttermilk mixture.  Repeat and end with the last third of flour.  Mix just until the dry ingredients are incorporated, finishing by hand with a spatula if necessary. 

Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.  Rap the pan on the counter a couple of times to even out the batter and release air bubbles.  Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove to a rack to cool completely in the pan.  When the bread has cooled, remove from the pan and peel off the parchment paper. 

This bread is really moist, so refrigeration is recommended.  It also freezes beautifully if well wrapped.  Thaw in the refrigerator and then bring to room temperature before serving.

To make muffins, scoop batter into paper or foil lined cupcake tins and bake 20 minutes.  The recipe will make 18 – 20 muffins. 


  1. I've never liked bananas, but I think chocolate banana bread might compensate for that. And with mascarpone and marmalade? That sounds like an incredibly perfect breakfast.

    1. Katie, my husband laughs at me because I will only eat bananas when they're practically green; I think they're disgusting when fully ripe! The banana taste in this bread isn't as pronounced, but you still know there's banana in it. It mainly contributes to the sweetness.

      And it was a lovely breakfast - I may indulge again this morning!


What do you think?