Thursday, May 1, 2008

Chocolate Banana Bread or Cake

banana-chocolate breadChocolate Banana Bread has been an old favorite, and needs no preamble or praise. The pairing of chocolate and bananas is one of the most reliable ones where baking is concerned, and though bananas were traditionally baked with walnuts or pecans for the classic banana-nut loaf, this new combination has indeed found a place in the hearts and minds of foodies. Chocolate can get really overpowering, especially in baked desserts; but this Chocolate-Banana Bread recipe still focusses on the distinct flavor of ripe bananas, while chocolate, nuts and dried cranberries make it both festive as well as delicious! Every chef will certainly have their signature banana bread recipe, but there's always room to improve it, right?! So here I share my recipe with you - a classic recipe adapted to make it eggless and also to suit my tastebuds!

Banana Bread is pretty similar to a Banana Cake, except for its shape; while one is baked in a loaf pan, the other uses a non-loaf pan!:) But this, to me, is not really a valid difference! I chose to bake my chocolate-banana bread cum cake in a rectangular pan rather than a standard loaf one, and believe me, it still tasted as great as ever! Serve this with a cup of tea or coffee for a bread-like feeling; drizzle some chocolate syrup and whip cream on the top and it transforms into a decadent dessert. So now you have not one, but two wonderful reasons to put those 4-day old ripe aged and yellow-skinned bananas to good use! Also, a tip from Stephanie's chocolate-banana bread recipe about sprinkling some brown sugar on the top to get the crusty golden texture while it bakes sounds interesting! This beauty is on its way to the Banana-Bread Bakeoff hosted by Not Quite Nigella!

Eggless recipe - A banana bread or cake is the most appropriate type of recipe to make into an eggless version. Mashed bananas impart the same texture and softness to the cake that egg yolks would; you might have to compromise just a tiny bit on the fluffy part, but if you use self-raising flour, even that difference would melt away! So for an eggless version, omit the eggs, use self-raising flour instead of regular one, add 1 more banana, and 1/2 tsp more of baking soda.

1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tspn baking powder
1 tspn baking soda
1 tspn salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1 large egg
2 large ripe bananas (yellow-skinned ones)
1 tbsp milk
3 tbsp walnuts - coarsely chopped
3 tbsp dried sweetened cranberries
1/2 tsp nutmeg (optional)
1 tbsp poppy seeds (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan, or a 9x9 inch cake pan and set aside.

Cream the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well till it becomes light and fluffy.

In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Mix in the milk and nutmeg. In another bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cranberries, poppy seeds and walnuts.

Add the banana mixture to the creamed sugar mixture and stir until combined. Add the dry ingredients, mixing just until flour disappears.

Pour the batter into prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour (depending on oven and pan size), until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (Do the toothpick test after 45 mins, then bake a little longer if needed).

Set aside to cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan, then use a buttered knife to cut into slices.

Suggested Variations: White chocolate chips, raisins, pecans, macadamia nuts, toasted walnuts

This delicious Chocolate Banana Bread is great with your morning tea. The cranberries and poppy seeds add a nice flavor as well as a crunch to the loaf, at the same time balancing the sweetness of bananas. As bananas tend to give out a distinct smell as they get old, it is best to consume this bread within 2-3 days while keeping it refrigerated.

Similar Recipes:
Hazelnut & Mocha Bread
Banana & Walnut Fluffy Cake
Persimmon & Chocolate Spice Cake
Fried Banana with Ice Cream

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