Dear readers, I should probably apologize to you in advance. Because, and I don’t mean to toot my own horn or anything, but…you will probably need to make this chocolate banana bread multiple times in the coming weeks, and I take no responsibility for it. I’ve got my own problems. And by “problems,” I mean, “I can’t stop baking this banana bread please send help.” Not only is it outrageously easy to assemble, but there’s fall weather coming on and I’m finding it even harder to resist warming the house with the sweet smells of baking.
This recipe takes all the things I love about the banana bread from my childhood (dense, moist, chock-full of banana flavour), and then improves upon all of those things by throwing in some chocolate. I’m not talking a spattering of chocolate chips dotted throughout. I mean, let’s mix in some cocoa and the whole damn thing becomes a rich, complex chocolatey-banana situation that you will likely devour steaming hot, out of the pan. Granted, the addition of cocoa means this bread is now approaching cake territory. But I think we can all agree that if there’s fruit present, then it’s more like a vaguely dessert-like breakfast food? Or a healthy dessert? Do we still care?
A note on baking with bananas: you really want to wait until they’re almost overripe. Go for a banana you would no longer consider suitable for eating out of its peel — one that is starting to caramelize in its skin and is pretty brown on the outside. This way you get a boost on both moisture and sweetness, and avoid the starchiness of a firmer banana, which can mess with the consistency of your bread if it won’t mash up well. And feel free to mess around with this recipe, as it’s rather forgiving: substitute whole-wheat or flax flour for half the flour, throw in some dark chocolate chips if you’re a chocolate fiend or omit the cocoa for a straight-up classic banana bread that is still a favourite around here. What’s that? You think you have some bananas that you need to use up? Bye.
Chocolate Banana Bread
- 2 large, very ripe bananas
- 120 ml (1⁄2 cup) granulated sugar
- 60 ml (1⁄4 cup) brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 120 ml (1⁄2 cup) coconut or vegetable oil
- 5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract
- 240 ml (1 cup) all-purpose flour
- 60 ml (1⁄4 cup) cocoa
- 5 ml (1 tsp) baking soda
- 1.25 ml (1⁄4 tsp) salt
- 120 ml (1⁄2 cup) chopped pecans or walnuts (optional, lightly toasted if you have time)
- Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan and preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
- In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas well with a fork until relatively smooth. Whisk in sugars, eggs, oil and vanilla until blended.
- In a separate bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine, then fold into the wet mixture until just combined. Stir in nuts, if you’re using them.
- Pour batter into loaf pan and bake about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Sara Chan is a Toronto-based entertainment lawyer, food enthusiast and unprofessional home chef. Her favourite food group is pork.
Illustration by Jeannie Phan