Wednesday, December 16, 2009

WDW- Chocolate Banana Bread


I love quick bread loaves. They take so little time to get into the oven, and I find that the ingredients are economical and usually on hand for most recipes I have. And, if you are in the mood for muffins instead, just pour the batter into muffin tins and bake for less time (usually 15-20 minutes).

I like to double most quick bread recipes and freeze one (or several mini-loaves) for later on. They are great to give as gifts or to save for when a friend stops by and you want to have something to offer to go with coffee or tea. To freeze, I wrap them in wax paper, then in foil and store them in large ziploc freezer bags. They keep very well this way for several months. Be sure and label them, too.

Here is a new recipe that I found that is absolutely wonderful! I am always looking for ways to use up my endless frozen bananas interesting variations of banana bread and happened upon this one online recently. There is unsweetened cocoa in the batter and it is also studded with chocolate chips. It isn't overly sweet, but the chocolate flavor really shines through. This bread is excellent fresh from the oven, slathered with butter, but also tastes very good at room temperature. Be sure and use a good quality cocoa powder; I use the Dutch Process kind from Penzey's. This is such a great bread that it may be our Christmas morning breakfast this year!

Chocolate Banana Bread

1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
3 ripe bananas, mashed well (about 1-1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

brown sugar for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place oven rack to middle position. Butter and flour (or spray with a non stick vegetable/flour spray) the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl combine the mashed bananas, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, lightly fold the wet ingredients (banana mixture) into the dry ingredients until just combined and batter is thick and chunky. Fold in the chocolate chips. Scrape batter into prepared pan and sprinkle the top of the bread with brown sugar.

Bake until bread has risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 to 65 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool and then remove the bread from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 1 - 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf.

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