Monday, March 17, 2014

double chocolate banana bread

double chocolate banana bread

I have a theory that Mondays are for repentance, for undoing whatever damages to your liver, psyche or saddlebags you’ve done over the weekend. They’re for getting back on the gym horse, resuming those eight daily glasses of water, and going to bed early. They’re for kale salad; they are not for chocolate cake. But, guys, those bananas that are one day from fruit flies are not going to eat themselves, and they must be addressed, which brings us to this.

what you'll need
mashed bananas

I joked earlier this year that I had a new mantra to address all future cooking indecisions: WWAE (What Would Alex Eat?), because my husband rarely chooses wrong. Thus far, it’s had spectacular effects: hazelnut-nutella linzer hearts, a chocolate-peanut butter cheesecake, and a dijon and cognac beef stew. (Don’t worry; my interests haven’t been fully occluded, see also: fennel and blood orange salad and stuck-pot rice — you know I can hear you snoring, right? — oh, right, and morning bread pudding with salted caramel.) And for years, he’s been angling me to put chocolate in my banana bread. “But why?” I’d demand to know. “Banana bread is perfect the way it is. Can’t there be one dessert that’s not improved by the addition of chocolate?”

melted butter

sifting dark cocoa powder
adding chocolate chunks, because
really dark chocolate batter

Well, Alex: 1, Deb: 0 on this one too because it’s so good, I’ve made it three times in the past week. Three. That would be .42 loaves a day, had I not offloaded half-cakes with everyone that I could. The first one was ostensibly for testing, but, guys, it was pretty much perfect. I made the second one for tweaking, and, indeed, the small change I’d made did improve it so perhaps it was justified. But the third one, well, I made that one because the second one was gone and we were sad. This cake is like that. It’s just about a one-bowl cake, requires no special equipment and can be made with stuff you already have around; there’s basically no reason it cannot be out of the oven in the next 75 minutes. I mean, unless you’re repenting or something boring like that, in which case, here’s a kale-quinoa salad. And now you can have this for dessert.

double chocolate banana bread
double chocolate banana bread
double chocolate banana bread

Three years ago: Sally Lunn Bread + Honeyed Brown Butter Spread
Four years ago: Thick, Chewy Granola Bars and Arroz Con Leche (Rice Pudding)
Five years ago: Red Kidney Bean Curry, Thick, Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and Soft Pretzels and The Little Owl’s Meatball Sliders
Six years ago: Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges and Rhubarb Big Crumb Coffee Cake
Seven years ago: Strawberry Rhubarb and Pecan Loaf

Double Chocolate Banana Bread

3 medium-to-large very ripe bananas
1/2 cup (115 grams) butter, melted
3/4 cup (145 grams) brown sugar (I use dark here; either light or dark work)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional; I skip it)
1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 cup (about 6 ounces or 170 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chunks or chips

Heat your oven to 350°F. Butter a 9×5-inch loaf pan, or spray it with a nonstick baking spray.

Mash bananas in the bottom of a large bowl. (You’ll have a little over 1 cup mashed banana total.) Whisk in melted butter, then brown sugar, egg, and vanilla. Place baking soda, salt, cinnamon (if using), flour and cocoa powder in a sifter or fine-mesh strainer and sift over wet ingredients. (My cocoa is almost always lumpy, so this is essential for me.) Stir dry and wet ingredients with a spoon until just combined. Stir in chocolate chunks or chips.

Pour into prepared pan and bake 55 to 65 minutes, 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 10 to 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and invert it out onto a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

The banana bread will keep for up to 4 days at room temperature. I keep mine wrapped in foil. It goes without saying that it has never actually lasted that long.


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