Cocoa-Banana Bread

I know, I know, I said I was on a hunt for healthy breakfasts I could take to work in the morning. In my defense, this has bananas and eggs and flour. That’s three out of the four food groups, right?

Chocolate Banana Loaf

I had bananas and wanted to make a little bread with it. Over the years, a lot of the banana breads I’ve tried have ended up very dry. The only one that didn’t called for an 8-ounce block of cream cheese and I didn’t have that on hand. So, I went searching for something new.

This loaf is surprisingly moist and incredibly dense. At first I was a little disappointed because I used an extra-dark chocolate which made the first few bites ultra-chocolatey.

It’s okay, though. I got over it.

Next time, though, I’ll use regular cocoa. Also, for anyone who usually puts in baking shortcuts like me, I wrote this with my methodology that skips sifting all of the dry ingredients except for the cocoa, which I dumped into a strainer and shook out. I prefer strainers over sifters because they’re a lot easier to clean. (Hello, Mr. Dishwasher!)

After the batter came together, I was very worried because it’s a lot of batter for a small baking dish. My fear was the dough was going to rise and double. But it doesn’t, which is where the moistness and denseness comes in. On the back end of your bite, the banana flavor kicks in, creating a subtle, tasty treat. Maybe you won’t feel good about eating this for breakfast, but maybe later with a small cup of coffee…

Me? Oh, I had no qualms eating this and licking it off my fingers when I was done.

Sliced Chocolate Banana Loaf

Cocoa-Nana Bread
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan, Baking – From My Home to Yours

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped, or 1/2 cup store-bought chocolate chips

Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9×5 inch loaf pan and place it on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked on top of one another. This extra insulation will keep the bottom of the bread from overbaking.

In a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed for one minute, until softened. (My butter had been sitting out overnight, so I skipped this.) Add the sugars and beat for 2 minutes more. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for a minute after each addition. Reduce the mixer to low speed and mix in the mashed bananas.

Sift the cocoa powder into the bowl, and add the salt and baking soda. Mix on low speed until just combined. Add each cup of flour one at a time, mixing until just combined. Add the buttermilk, mixing on low speed until incorporated. Stir in the chopped chocolate and scrape the batter into the pan.

Bake for 30 minutes. Cover the bread loosely with a foil tent to keep the top from getting too dark and continue to bake for another 40 – 45 minutes or until a thin knife in the center comes out clean.

(Note: My loaf pan was 8.5×4.5, so my loaf of bread required another 10 – 12 minutes of baking.)

Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for at least 20 minutes before running a knife around the edges of the bread and unmolding it. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.

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