Double chocolate banana bread

I'll try to keep this one short and sweet because it's a no-brainer.  When I saw double chocolate banana bread pop up on Smitten Kitchen recently, I knew I had to make it asap.  I'm guessing there's a good chance you might also be a fan of the site and felt a similar urge if you saw it too.  
My husband and I already have a favorite banana bread recipe, one I slightly adapted from Molly Wizenberg's book.  As nearly perfect as that banana bread with chocolate is, I've wanted to make a double-chocolate version because I naturally feel the urge to add more chocolate to things!  I thought about taking that recipe and tinkering with it to incorporate cocoa but my ideas were vague ones that floated around in my head without a clear direction.  Well, the answer came with this concrete recipe from Smitten Kitchen; not only did it look scrumptious but you just know you can trust Deb.  
She didn't let me down.  This double-chocolate banana bread was as good as I expected and I had high expectations.  It's chocolate cake, it's banana bread, it's both melded together but still standing individually on its own.  This is moist, dark, rich, delicious chocolate-banana cake.  Make it, enjoy it, and let's thank Deb together.


The hardest part about this recipe was waiting for the bananas to ripen!
I have to admit that instead of following the recipe by mixing everything essentially in one bowl (i.e., sifting the dry ingredient right into the wet), I took the traditional route of mixing my dry ingredients separately first.  I couldn't quite trust myself not to over-mix the batter otherwise.
This chocolate banana bread has ripe bananas, melted butter, dark brown sugar, deep Dutch-process cocoa, and studs of chocolate chips in it - all the good stuff that makes it so tasty.  There are no hidden secrets.  

Although...I did sneak a little whole wheat flour in here by substituting 1/3 of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat pastry flour.  I do a similar substitution with my favorite chocolate muffins with great results.
When I first looked at the recipe, I was surprised that Deb uses Dutch-process cocoa because there's only baking soda acting as leavening since the general rule is natural cocoa goes with baking soda.  I wasn't the only person curious about this and I noticed she answered the question by saying she preferred the flavor of Dutch-process cocoa and while it doesn't react quite as well with baking soda, the acidity in the bananas together with it provides enough of a lift.  It's true as you can see from the pictures below.  
Batter in the pan before baking...
As you can see, there was definite lift even using baking soda with Dutch-process cocoa
It's funny because until fairly recently, I always used Dutch-process cocoa, assuming (not altogether accurately) that it was "better" than natural and would work.  I assume now that I never had a major fail from a recipe doing that because there is some lifting power (and likely other acidic ingredients helping out) even if there was only baking soda as the leavening agent.
The banana bread definitely had a good rise in the oven - the lift may not be huge but it definitely worked.  The Dutch-process cocoa did its job by giving the cake a great depth of chocolate flavor. As for the chocolate bits in the banana bread that make it a double-chocolate delight, I used Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips.  I tend to agree that, in general, chopping up a bar of chocolate or using high-quality chocolate chunks - and a higher cacao % chocolate, at that - is the way to go but I started out using those semi-sweet chips for banana bread and the result is so good that I'm hard pressed to change!  As you can see, I like to stick with what works.  But I'm confident any chocolate you like would turn out deliciously.

An easy, delicious chocolate recipe always makes me smile and this one is such a winner.  I think, taste-wise, this double-chocolate banana bread is just about neck-in-neck with our old favorite (they do taste very much alike).  My husband and I agree that the old favorite probably hangs on to its title by virtue of being the best "banana bread" in a purer sense...but if you want as much (or more) chocolate flavor as you do banana, you will not go wrong with this one!  Now I have two amazing banana bread recipes to suit whatever mood we're in.  I need to have ripe bananas on standby!


Recipe

Double Chocolate Banana Bread
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

- Makes one 9 x 5 inch loaf - 

1 cup all-purpose flour (I used 2/3 cup all-purpose and 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour)
1/2 cup Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup (6 ounces or 170 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chunks or chips
3 medium to large (a little over 1 cup mashed) very ripe bananas 
1 stick (115 grams) butter, melted
3/4 cup (145 grams) light or dark brown sugar (I used dark)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.  

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into a medium-size bowl.  Whisk in chocolate chips to combine.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork or masher.  Whisk in the melted butter, then brown sugar, egg, and vanilla.  Pour the dry ingredients into the wet, and stir together with a rubber spatula until just combined.

Scrap batter into the prepared loaf pan.  Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, until a tooth pick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out batter-free (but expect to see melted chocolate).  Place loaf pan on a cooling rack to cool for about 15 minutes before running a dull knife around the sides and removing the banana bread from the pan and onto the wire rack.  Enjoy the bread warm or at room temperature.  It keeps, wrapped at room temperature, for up to 4 days.






44 comments:

  1. I was just thinking about how I wanted to make this (or rather, I wanted to go buy some bananas and ripen them and THEN make this) ..... now it's increased from a "want" to a "need" !!!

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    1. Yes! Make it - I'm sure you won't regret it. : ) I have been wanting to make a double chocolate banana bread for so long but once again, Deb came through with a stellar recipe.

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  2. Beautiful Monica! It looks divine! Enjoy it over the weekend if there is any left!! :-)

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    1. Thanks, Jo. It is so good! I've been whipping up a lot of sweets this week or so (maybe too much)...I better take it easy. haha

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  3. Mouth-watering! I love the dark chocolate color and the half-melted chocolate chips. It is so sinful! I have a few bananas sitting at the counter now. I will need to try this next week.

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    1. Thanks, girl. Sinful is what it tastes like but I mean it in the best way. I *try* to enjoy a small slice at a time and enjoy it thoroughly. Please make it if you like banana bread (and chocolate, obviously)! Have a great weekend.

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  4. I love the deep dark brown chocolate and can even see the chocolate chips in there and you can tell it was going to be moist and delicious. Take Care, BAM

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    1. Yes - it's a really wonderful treat. Thank you!

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  5. If you used dutch processed cocoa powder, which means the cocoa has been alkalized to remove its acidity and make it neutral...so it won't react with baking soda.
    The cake looks beautifully moist and chocolatey!

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    1. I think many people were thinking that very point (I can remember the equation, not all the scientific reasons behind it though!) but as Deb said, there's enough reaction and extra acidity from the bananas to make enough of a rise. I've now added the before/after baking shots of the bread in case anyone's interested.

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  6. I have been wanting to make banana bread so bad lately! And then I always forget to buy bananas at the store (since I only like bananas in banana bread lol weird I know). I saw this chocolate version too ... now you really have me wanting to give it a try! It looks so moist!

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    1. We are not the same person after all. haha. I eat bananas as a snack almost everyday. I need a lot of starchy foods that fill me up and I love eating bananas. I didn't realize the wonders of banana bread til a few years ago! I hope you make it!

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  7. Looks mighty good, this loaf you made! Double chocolate works for me...:) ela

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    1. Thanks, Ela. I saw it and just had to wait for bananas to ripen to get in the kitchen!

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  8. Banana bread alone is so good. But with double chocolate?! Yum, this looks so moist and rich. I may need to get some bananas after this.

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    1. It is definitely incredibly moist and very satisfying. I have no complaints.

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  9. Oh this looks wonderful, Like that you added the whole wheat flour, great addition. Smitten Kitchen's recipes are always good, I love her lemon bars!

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    1. Thank you, Cheri! I know the bit of whole wheat flour isn't a huge difference but I really like doing it because you really can't taste the difference most of the time...and sometimes, it tastes better in my opinion. Smitten Kitchen is such an incredible resource for good food - she is so reliable!

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  10. I am not a big banana loaf fan but chocolate makes everything better :) This looks absolutely heavenly!

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    1. I was never a fan of banana bread until I really tried it. But you can't love everything, right?! And chocolate definitely makes things better! : )

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  11. You stole my heart. This looks AMAZING. Craving a big big big big piece of this pretty bread!

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    1. Thanks! It is swoon-worthy banana bread. :)

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  12. I know exactly what you mean when you say this banana bread is absolutely superb! I actually made the bread myself using the same recipe from Smitten Kitchen, so if you see the same recipe name pop up sometime soon on Pass the Cocoa...you'll know (: Have a great day

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  13. I love chocolate and banana bread combination. I do that with Nutella too. Love the dark rich color of chocolate here.

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    1. I want to do a version with Nutella. I'm always thinking a swirl kind of situation but I imagine the Nutella might just sink to the bottom? We spread Nutella on bread all the time so we eat it constantly. haha

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  14. That bread has such a gorgeously glossy chocolate colour! Bet it tasted fantastic too.

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    1. I do love that deep dark color from Dutch-process cocoa. It really is divine if you're into banana bread and lots of chocolate flavor, all in a moist cake form. :)

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  15. This looks mouthwatering Monica! I love the deep dark brown chocolate and half-melted chocolate chips - it looks so moist and rich. I have been craving for banana bread lately too and this one sounds perfect especially with the whole wheat flour - can't wait for my bananas to ripen up so I can give this a try :) Thanks for sharing and hope you're having a great weekend so far :)

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    1. Yes, sneak that whole wheat flour in there. Every little bit helps, I figure. : ) Thanks so much, Kelly! Keep those bananas ripening.

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  16. Wow! I love the sound of anything 'double chocolate' and I also love banana bread. For some reason I never loved a chocolate banana bread. But that is about to change. This seriously looks gorgeous with the bits of gooey chocolate within. I will have to make this soon.

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    1. I hear you. I think there's something wonderful about banana bread on its own. For a long time, I didn't even want to add chocolate chips but then it rocked my world. I think our hearts might still belong to that choc-chip banana bread but this is very close and it feels like eating chocolate cake and banana bread in one and how bad can that be!

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  17. I pinned this and am now debating whether I should run out and buy bananas right now, the riper the better! Looks great and so richly chocolatey!

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    1. Yes, grab some bananas, put a few on standby to ripen. You should absolutely make it! : )

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  18. I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen and def was intrigued. I'm glad you've confirmed it's as good as it looks. It's def one I'll have to be trying!!!

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    1. I have a feeling that Deb singlehandedly spiked sales of bananas after she posted this bread! I always buy and eat bananas anyway and don't need much excuse to make banana bread. I'm so glad I now have a great double-choc banana bread recipe. Give it a try!

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  19. Wow, this looks delicious! Why haven't I ever thought to combine chocolate and banana bread?! This has got be de fantastic!

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    1. Thanks, Cindy. Single-chocolate banana bread is really good, as I learned a while back. Now I know double-chocolate totally works as well! : )

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  20. Bananas and chocolate are MFEO (made for each other :) I bet it is super tasty. Don't you just love the aroma of banana bread baking in the oven - oh yum! I have a terrific, moist, delicious chocolate zucchini bread on the blog - you should try it this summer when zucchini is everywhere! Let's just swap recipes!

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    1. Oh yes...the smell is *almost* as good as eating the banana bread. I think I remember your chocolate zucchini bread - it looked incredibly moist! Yum...

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  21. This banana bread looks insanely chocolatey. Love!!!

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    1. It's one good banana bread and if you're like me and anything dark and chocolatey appeals to you, it will make you happy. :)

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  22. what a total comfort-food looking loaf! something about loaf cakes and breads...so inviting, maybe because you just know it's easy to do and that you can tuck into one of them without feeling like you're being (super) bad. :) this looks wonderfully chocolately; i can only imagine the combo of chocolate and banana is superb.

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    1. You know Deb would not steer us wrong. It's good eats. Thanks!

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