To my dismay, I realized over the past weekend that I had yet to to share my favorite banana bread recipe with you all. How can that be, considering banana bread is one of my go-to treats to make? In fact, it was the first thing I learned to make on my own way back in high school. You could say that banana bread and I had a love affair right from the beginning, the kind that sears your memory and can never be forgotten even after years pass and new trendy temptations arise. It’s always been there, waiting in the wings to be brought out when other recipes fail.
This recipe, in particular, comes from the baking bible “Baking: From My Home to Yours” by the beloved Dorie Greenspan. Remember when I first started out and almost every recipe on this site came from that book? It’s the first baking book I ever owned and I owe a lot to that book. From easy-to-follow instructions to deliciously tempting photos, it is the first book I recommend to those who seek an intro to baking. I don’t think any of its recipes have ever let me down, which is a pretty amazing feat considering so many recipes in cookbooks have so clearly NOT been tested.
While its tasty on its own, I find the addition of chocolate to really add depth of flavor to this recipe. Instead of adding the chocolate batter directly to the white batter and creating an entirely chocolate mix, the chocolate is dropped into the batter once its been poured into the pan, which gives the loaf a layered look. Always a pretty sight, right?
Moist with a light crumb, I imagine it would be a lovely gift to give to those loved ones or friends, wrapped with a bow of course.
Chocolate Banana Bread
Adapted from: Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home To Yours
Yields: One 9×5 loaf
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 ½ ripe bananas, peeled and roughly chopped
Squirt of fresh lemon juice (optional)
Grated zest of ½ lemon (optional)
1 tbsp. dark rum (optional)
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 stick plus 2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 c. packed light brown sugar
1/3 c. sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ c. whole milk (I used 2% milk instead)
Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter 9 x 5-inch loaf pan on an insulated baking sheet and set aside.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg and set aside.
In another small bowl, mash the bananas with lemon juice, zest, then stir in the rum.
Melt the chocolate and 2 tbsp. butter together in a microwave in 10 second intervals, stirring between intervals until chocolate is melted and looks smooth.
Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter at medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugars and beat for 2-3 more minutes, until light and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in vanilla. The batter will look curdled, and it will continue to look curdled as you add ingredients. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half the flour mixture, mixing only until it is just incorporated. With the mixer running, pour in the milk and when it is blended add the remaining dry ingredients.
Scrape down the bowl and mix in the mashed bananas. The batter will look lumpy but that is fine.
Pour a little less than half the batter into the bowl with melted chocolate and stir to blend. Drop alternating spoonfuls of both batters into prepared pan. Then, using a knife, swirl the batters taking care not to overdo it.
Bake for 1 hour and 20 – 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Check after 30 minutes, and if the cake browns too much, cover loosely with a foil tent. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it cool for 15 minutes before removing it from the pan. Continue to cool on the rack.
Wrapped tightly with plastic wrap, the loaf can be stored for up to 6 days or frozen. Left loaf come to room temperature overnight before serving.