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Chocolate Banana Bread

This time of year I pretend that I’ll eat bananas fast enough but it rarely happens. When they are past their “add to yogurt prime”, I end up freezing them for banana bread or banana crème brûlée.

Previous banana bread recipes I’ve made called for about a cup of mashed bananas. This time I had more than a cup so I did some research so see if using more could work. I came across a recipe from Cooks Illustrated where they freeze, thaw, drain, and reduce the banana liquid to a syrup. The syrup is then cooled and added back into the batter.

We’ve seen frozen bananas dipped in chocolate and coated in nuts. Why not turn that classic combination into a bread? Also, since I didn’t have enough unsweetened cocoa powder I used a combination of both natural unsweetened and dutch-processed. *If using only natural unsweetened double the amounts of the cocoa powder and baking soda.

If you’re not a fan of coconut or nuts free free to leave them out. However, for me it seemed like a no-brainer to add them both.

Make one 8 ½ x 4 ½-inch loaf

1 ¼ cups (5 ½ ounces) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (¾ ounce) natural unsweetened cocoa powder*
¼ cup (¾ ounce) dutch processed cocoa power
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup (8 tablespoons / 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup (6 ounces) brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 large egg yolk, room temperature (freeze white for another use)
4 – 5 brown bananas, frozen, thawed, drained, reserving liquid
1/2 cup full fat sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) walnuts or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)
½ cup (about 2 ounces) unsweetened coconut (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray or line pan with parchment paper.

Partially thaw, then peel bananas in a sieve over a bowl to catch liquid. Add liquid to a small saucepan and reduce to ¼ cup. Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powders, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add egg and yolk one at a time, incorporating well after each addition. Add dry ingredients and beat gently until just combined. Add bananas, sour cream, vanilla, and cooled banana syrup and mix on low speed to combine. Do not overmix.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Start checking after the bread has baked for 1 hour.

Let the loaf rest in the pan for about 10 minutes, run a blunt knife around the edges to loosen, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

Note: The bread can be frozen for up to 3 months. After it is completely cooled, wrap it securely in aluminum foil, freezer wrap and place in a freezer bag. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.