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As evidenced by a post from two years ago, I enjoy good banana bread … I really do. And back then I referred to the posted recipe as “the best banana bread ever.” Well, I might have to amend that statement due to my addiction to, I mean love of, chocolate.
Combining chocolate with banana bread is an idea that speaks to me. I spotted this recipe on the Smitten Kitchen website in September. Just the picture alone made me think of my mom’s “marble” cake. And when I read that it was a combo of chocolate and banana – I thought it looked so delish that I put it in my “to make” file. Yes, I actually have a file of recipes I intend to make at some point in time.
Per usual, I changed the original recipe (shocker) and reduced the amount of brown sugar (the original recipe calls for light brown sugar but I only had dark brown, so whatever). I used salted butter and omitted the additional salt and put in bittersweet chocolate in place of semisweet. Duh. I added baking soda in with the flour as I always do rather than putting it with the brown sugar.
Being a big shot (you know, a fancy “paid professional”), I always tell friends and family to READ THE RECIPE CAREFULLY BEFORE BEGINNING and to prep ahead of time and get everything measured and ready to go before you start baking, even with things you make often. Great counsel, right? I did prep and measure everything, but sadly, I didn’t listen to my own advice and accidentally omitted the part about adding the ¼ cup of the flour and cinnamon to the original batter, not the chocolate batter. I wondered why the chocolate half had so much more volume and heaviness and then reread the recipe. So be forewarned. Fortunately, the bread came out just fine.
Another note here. I have a small scale that weighs in grams or ounces I purchased this scale way back when I was trying a lot of whole grain bread recipes because I found it easier and more precise to weigh ingredients than to use my cups, teaspoons and tablespoons. It made me feel like I was in Chemistry class all over again, and I love Chemistry (except for the Bunson burners…I am afraid of fire and matches)). My point here is that I often use the weight measurements but if you don’t have a scale, the cup measurements are just dandy.
The result? LOVE. Love more than chocolate “bread”, and love more than traditional banana bread. This one goes in my “Things I Love” file. And yes, I do have a file by that name too.
Chocoholic’s Swirly Banana Bread
Makes One Loaf
- 3 large very ripe bananas (about 1 ½ c puree)
- ½ cup (115 grams) salted butter, cut into ⅛’s and melt in microwave for sixty seconds, stirring halfway through until it is melted
- 115 grams dark brown sugar (a little over ½ cup)
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
- Additional all-purpose flour 1/4 cup (35 grams)
- ¼ cup (about 20 grams) dark cocoa powder (I use Scharfenberger but any kind should work) sifted if lumpy (which mine always is)
- ¾ cup (130 grams) dark (bittersweet) chocolate chunks (again, I use Scharfenberger) chopped a bit more so it is more like chocolate chip size. No need to get carried away here.
Preheat oven to 350°F and put the baking rack in the center. Coat a 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick baking spray and set aside.
In a large glass bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Mash the bananas right into it until mostly smooth. Whisk in brown sugar, egg and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Add the one cup flour mixed with soda, stirring just until it disappears.
Pour about half of batter into a second medium sized bowl (you can guesstimate, this isn’t rocket science). Into one bowl, stir the remaining ¼ cup of flour . Into the other bowl, stir in the cocoa powder and chocolate chips.
Dollop chocolate and plain batters in large alternating spoonfuls into the bottom of prepared loaf pan. Attempt to “checkerboard” the rest in, roughly meaning that you’ll drop a chocolate batter dollop on top of a chocolate-free one and vice-versa until both batters are used up. Use a butter knife or small offset spatula to make a few figure-8s through the batters, marbling them together — but just a little, say, 2 to 3 figure-8s. Any more and the swirls may not look distinct when you cut the cake.
Bake 50 to 60 minutes (mine took 50 minutes, but the original recipe said 55-65 minutes so I guess it depends on your oven), until a tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out batter-free. (A melted chocolate chip smear is expected, however.) Cool in pan for ten minutes, then gently shake the pan to loosen the perimeter and invert the bread out onto a cooling rack. Cool with the bottom side down on the cooling rack.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Cook’s notes: The banana bread will keep, wrapped in foil, for up to 4 days at room temperature. I wrapped mine well and froze it — where I imagine it will be defrosted and and taste terrific after the next month or two, not that I won’t dig in before that time.