Chocolate Banana Bread

In the age of the internet, you can google any ingredient and find a million recipes to use it in.  Having my CSA, and a bunch of new ingredients to play with, has taught me that.  After a few failed attempts to get super creative with my new veggies, I decided that simple was best- a little oil and garlic is all that's needed, and I get to learn the taste of each veggie before I try to go nuts doctoring it up and adding it to some crazy concoction.

Where am I going with this, since you clearly see chocolate banana bread in these pics?  You have to know a few good food websites that will always give you consistent recipes, and provide inspiration to keep getting better in the kitchen, otherwise you'll get lost in an internet rabbit hole and wonder how you ended up making a cake that uses eggplant in the frosting (please tell me that isn't a thing...) and thought it might turn out well.  Food52 is one that I really love, with a ton of recipes and a huge variety of ingredients.  Martha Stewart also has a fantastic series called the Seasonal Produce Recipe Guide, which breaks things down by ingredient and has a bunch of recipes for each one; try it out for your summer produce!  But Smitten Kitchen is a blog I turn to time and again for consistent recipes with easy-to-find ingredients.  Deb just had her second child, and you can trust her to post recipes that are do-able for everyone, baby on your hip or otherwise.  She also has a way with words that can convey just how easy a recipe is, or just how worth it the seemingly trivial steps might be.  And it is her chocolate banana bread that I turned to when I needed to get rid of 6 bananas in my freezer... it was time.
My mom has an amazing recipe for banana bread using cream cheese in the batter.  It's so soft and moist, and even though I really don't like bananas, I can make an exception for her banana bread.  So when Deb suggested adding chocolate into the equation, it was a decision I could get even more behind.  And her instincts were spot on.  Cocoa and chocolate chips: this is what all recipes need.  Though we do take a recipe that could be considered breakfast and push it into full dessert territory...
I made two loaves, doubling the recipe to use all of my bananas, and my coworkers shared the profits.  The chocolate and banana combination really is spectacular, and it's a quick recipe to come together.  The hardest part was waiting for the bread to cool enough to taste it.  Once again, Smitten Kitchen proved that if you want a tried and true recipe that anyone can make, you should look there first.  Especially when you have old bananas to use up!  And the moist crumb is just on point.  Let's face it, we're eating cake.
Now who wants a slice?!
Chocolate Banana Bread (recipe courtesy Smitten Kitchen)
makes one loaf

3 medium-to-large very ripe bananas (about 1 cup mashed)
1/2 cup (115 grams) butter, melted
3/4 cup (145 grams) brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder (Dutch-process or regular both work)
1 cup (about 6 ounces or 170 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chunks or chips

Preheat your oven to 350°F.  Prepare a 9×5-inch loaf pan by spraying it with baking spray or buttering it.

Mash bananas in the bottom of a large bowl. Whisk in melted butter, then brown sugar, egg, and vanilla. Place baking soda, salt, flour and cocoa powder in a sifter or fine-mesh strainer and sift over wet ingredients. 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 toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. 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 tightly in foil.  It also freezes well- wrap it tightly in foil then place into a gallon ziploc bag and squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing.  Will keep for 2-3 months in the freezer like this.

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