Banana bread is a timeless staple in my kitchen, and I’m guessing yours too. As good as the classic version is, sometimes it’s fun to jazz things up a bit. This Chocolate Banana Bread will get you looking at banana bread in a new light, especially as you cut that second or third slice in your quest to decide if it’s a decadent treat or something good for you. Hint: it’s a little of both.
When my kids were growing up, Sunday afternoons were often when I would do some cooking and baking for the week ahead. In the baking department, I’d make cookies, some muffins or cupcakes and usually a loaf cake. My choice was often a toss-up between a lemon loaf or banana bread, and the banana bread frequently won. After all, there were usually some bananas hanging around, starting to look a little desperate for some kitchen love.
My banana bread was glorious in its simplicity … no bells or whistles, just good banana flavour in a dense and moist cake that was perfect for putting into school (or work) lunches. In recent years, I’ve begun to jazz things up a bit, especially since my son-in-law loves walnuts in his banana bread.
Chocolate Banana Bread
Recently I began tinkering with a new recipe, one that adds a note of decadence via rich cocoa, but also a nutritional boost through the use of not only lots of walnuts, but also ground flax seeds and hemp hearts. The latter two ingredients are virtually unnoticeable, so the final result is that most felicitous outcome: something that’s good for you but seems like an indulgent treat. And, for those of you who are shaking a finger and saying, “But it’s still cake!”, yes, it absolutely is. But I’ve also cut back on the sugar and am using coconut sugar, which is less refined and has a lower glycemic level than the refined white sugar I used to use with abandon. That said, it is a cake, and it’s a treat. So, proceed accordingly, people.
I hope you enjoy this Chocolate Banana Bread as much as I have. I’ll continue to make the classic version, but it’s nice to have one with a few bells and whistles up my sleeve, just to keep people guessing.
Let’s Get Baking!
Chocolate Banana Bread
© Marlene Cornelis, Urban Cottage Life 2018
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and lightly flour a standard loaf pan (9 x 5 inches). Line it side to side with a piece of parchment paper not quite the length of the pan and wide enough to form handles to use to lift the loaf out after baking. If you like you can butter the parchment lightly, but I don’t always do that.
- 1-1/2 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup hemp hearts
- 2 tsp ground flaxseed
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 2 cups well-mashed bananas (4 to 5, depending on size)
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 to 3/4 cups chopped walnuts
Measure all the dry ingredients into a bowl and stir until well mixed. Set aside.
Mash the bananas and set aside.
Using a stand mixer or handheld mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light. When using coconut sugar this takes longer than for refined white sugar, about 5 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl partway through. Add the eggs one at a time and beat in well. Scrape down the bowl and add the vanilla and mashed bananas. Mix in well.
Add half the dry ingredients, and mix until it starts to blend in. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until just evenly mixed in. Scrape the beaters and the bowl with a spatula, then add the nuts and fold in with the spatula.
Put the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven and bake for about 55 minutes, or just until a tester comes out clean. To be on the safe side, start checking for doneness at the 50-minute mark (remember, ovens can vary greatly in their performance). Signs of doneness include the loaf being nicely risen and cracked on top, but the best sign is when a tester comes out clean. I keep a box of toothpicks on hand just for this purpose.
When the loaf is done, cool it in the pan on a baking rack for about 10 to 15 minutes, then remove the loaf from the pan and continue cooling. You may want to cut into it and have a slice while it’s still warm from the oven. And why not?!
Have a Hankering for a Loaf Cake?
There’s nothing like a loaf cake for grab and go simplicity. And since they’re baked in bread loaf pans, they must be wholesome, right? Well, you can be the judge of that, but I can assure that these recipes are delicious: Rhubarb Spice Loaf, Cranberry Orange Walnut Loaf and Date Loaf.