Tag Archives: banana bread

Chocolate Banana Bread

Chocolate Banana BreadNobody really needs more than one recipe for banana bread, but here I am anyway, posting a fourth.Chocolate Banana BreadYes, now you can go into my archives and make banana bread four ways: whole wheat with walnuts, topped with oat crumble, vegan and made with just one banana, and today’s chocolate version! Because who needs cinnamon and nuts when you can have dutch process cocoa powder and chocolate chips?!Chocolate Banana BreadThis loaf is everything you want in a banana bread—easy, no-mixer, moist, rich, intensely flavored—with a fudgy stickiness usually reserved for chocolate cake. But since it’s a quick bread, this is socially acceptable for consumption before noon. You’re welcome.Chocolate Banana BreadChocolate Banana BreadThe rules for Chocolate Banana Bread are the same as with all my banana breads: use only the saddest of bananas and don’t stir the batter together more than 25 strokes. I’m serious—count your stirs aloud and stop at 25. The reason is simple: the more flour is stirred into liquid ingredients, the more its gluten forms. More gluten means tougher results. Rubbery banana bread? No, thank you! So, keep the stirring to 25 strokes and don’t be alarmed if there are a few floury streaks leftover; they’ll be long gone by the time your Chocolate Banana Bread comes out of the oven.Chocolate Banana BreadAnother quality this loaf shares with its cinnamon-spiked sisters? It’s good on day one, but unreal on day two. The chocolate and banana flavors combine and deepen overnight to create a near-brownie-like taste and texture that will have you going back for more! And since Chocolate Banana Bread has less sugar, oil, and flour than my other recipes, you can do that without thinking too hard.Chocolate Banana BreadChocolate Banana BreadLove that ❤ Chocolate Banana Bread

Chocolate Banana Bread
makes one 9×5” loaf

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder (I like dutch process)
1 1/2 teaspoons espresso granules (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup canola oil
3 large very ripe bananas, mashed
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips + more for topping

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9×5″ loaf pan. Line with parchment, leaving overhang on the long sides. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso granules, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together brown sugar, eggs and oil until combined. Whisk in mashed bananas. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to stir the batter 10 strokes, making sure to scrape the side of the bowl. At ten strokes, pause and add the chocolate chips. Stir an additional 10-15 strokes.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and top with additional chocolate chips, if desired. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with only a few moist crumbs.

Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes before running a knife around the edge and using the parchment overhang to remove the bread to a rack. Cool completely before slicing and serving.

Leftovers will keep tightly-wrapped at room temperature for 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week.Chocolate Banana BreadChocolate Banana BreadChocolate Banana Bread

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One-Banana Banana Bread {Vegan}

One Banana Banana Bread {Vegan}I love banana bread. It’s a classic, easy crowd-pleaser, and while I’ve had a few that were subpar, I don’t think I’ve ever turned a slice away.

I already have two banana bread recipes on this site (see here and here). They are both pretty standard, containing the usual three overripe bananas. They’re great for those times when I have a bunch of near-rotten bananas lying around, but if I’m being honest, I rarely do. I buy a bunch nearly every week with the vague intention of making banana bread, but it almost never happens. Between breakfasts, snacks, and an obsession I have with creating a perfect banana milkshake, they’re gone long before they’re brown enough to be folded into brown sugar batter and slid into the oven.

One Banana Banana Bread {Vegan}Last night my boss offered me a banana that was far past its prime, casually suggesting that I make something with it. This is not an uncommon occurrence; people offer me their leftovers all the time in hopes that I’ll use them for some higher purpose. My biggest successes so far have been this Overnight Raspberry Cheesecake-Stuffed French Toast Bake and this Peanut Butter Granola.

I didn’t even have to think about what that banana would be thrown into–I came straight home to make an old favorite, Faux Martha’s One-Banana Banana Bread. I made this recipe over and over in the spring of 2015, using up overripe bodega bananas and messing with its chemistry in an effort to make it mine. I soon realized that her recipe was perfect already. As such, last night I had every intention of following her recipe to the letter, but upon discovering that I was out of eggs, I made a lot of adjustments at once.

One Banana Banana Bread {Vegan}The version I’m sharing today is vegan, made with a few easy changes. The “egg” is made from ground flaxseed and water. The buttermilk is a mixture of almond milk and apple cider vinegar. The butter is swapped for coconut oil. All the rest of the ingredients are standard fare: flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and so on. Fold them all together (but don’t stir too much–banana bread can easily be made tough), scrape the batter into a loaf pan, and bake for 40 minutes.

One Banana Banana Bread {Vegan}Now, this recipe does not make a ton of banana bread–there is just one banana in there after all–but the half-size loaf that it produces is seriously good. It’s dense, moist, and full of banana flavor. This loaf was made last night before bed, and when I woke up this morning to have a slice, the flavors had married perfectly.

For those of you wondering if this bread, being made without eggs and milk and butter, is as delicious as traditional banana bread, the answer is a resounding yes. I have toyed around with vegan baking here and there, but had never attempted a vegan banana bread until last night. I wondered if I’d be able to taste the flax or if the coconut oil would change the flavor, but I shouldn’t have worried. This One-Banana Banana Bread {Vegan} is just as delicious as the recipe that inspired it.One Banana Banana Bread {Vegan}

One-Banana Banana Bread {Vegan}
adapted from Faux Martha
makes 1 small 9×5″ loaf

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
3 tablespoons warm tap water
1/3 cup non-dairy milk
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1 large ripe banana

Preheat oven to 300F. Grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.

Make a flax egg. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together flaxseed and warm water. Let sit five minutes, or until thickened. Set aside.

In a measuring cup, whisk together non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together melted coconut oil and light brown sugar. Whisk in flax egg and non-dairy milk mixture followed by vanilla and mashed banana. Add dry ingredients. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold ingredients together (20 strokes maximum). Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let banana bread cool completely in the pan on a rack. Run a small, thin knife around the edge and invert. Slice and serve.

Banana bread is best the next day.One Banana Banana Bread {Vegan}

Oat Crumble Banana Bread

 I almost didn’t share this recipe. Heck, I almost didn’t make this recipe.

Two weeks ago, I received an order for a hummingbird cake, so I went out and bought the necessary coconut, pecans, pineapple, and bananas. But things happen, and I had to cancel four days before the cake was scheduled for delivery; a friend of mine passed, and I was asked to cater the memorial. It was something to which I simply could not say “no.” So the bananas continued to brown, and the first half of the Fourth of July weekend was spent marathon-cooking with my friend, David, going to the service, and making sure all of the 100+ guests were fed. 

I got home Saturday night and noticed the browning bananas on my way to bed, figuring I’d throw them in something the next day. Sunday, my friend Liz came over to make pie, and the bananas were neglected again. I went into work unexpectedly on the Fourth of July, so no baking happened that day. 

When I went to pour my cold brew on Tuesday morning, I noticed the little bunch of bananas drooping off my baker’s rack, brown and visibly soft, seemingly minutes away from being inedible. And so I peeled and mashed all four and gently stirred them into banana bread batter. I poured it into a loaf pan with every intention of keeping it plain…but that’s not really my style. Classic banana bread is great, but I’m the kind of baker who loves to add cinnamon swirls, layers of cheesecake, or at the very least, a handful of chocolate chips anywhere I can. But it’s hard to add any of that stuff once the batter’s in the pan and the oven is making your kitchen a sauna. I was about to tap the pan on the counter and slide it into the oven, but then I paused, grabbed a half-stick of butter I had leftover in the fridge, a canister of oats, and some walnuts, and mixed up a quick crumble to sprinkle over the top before baking. 

When I took the loaf out of the oven, I had no intention of posting the recipe. The oat crumble had huge, beautiful clusters, my whole apartment smelled of cinnamon and bananas, and I couldn’t wait to have a slice before heading to work, but who really needs another banana bread recipe? Once you have a good one, you make it over and over, forever-and-ever-amen. I already have a whole wheat version on here, and I wasn’t planning to add another anytime soon. Plus, I had a lemon cake on the docket. Again, I was not going to post this recipe. 

But then, I ate a slice. And I followed it with a second one. All afternoon at work, I thought about the soft cinnamon-banana bread base and the crispy, crunchy combination of oats, toasted walnuts, and brown sugar in the crumble. It really is perfection in a mouthful. And so the lemon cake got pushed to next week, and here I am posting a second banana bread recipe.

And that, my friends, is the very long story of how this Oat Crumble Banana Bread recipe came to appear on this blog. 

 Oat Crumble Banana Bread
makes one 9×5″ loaf

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup neutral-flavored oil (I like canola)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup plain yogurt (nonfat is fine)
4 large ripe bananas, mashed

Oat Crumble:
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts (optional)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9×5″ loaf pan and line it with parchment, leaving a little overhang on the long sides. Grease the parchment. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oil and brown sugar, followed by eggs, plain yogurt, and mashed bananas. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to stir the batter together in no more than 20 strokes. There may be some small bits of visible flour–this is fine.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Set aside while you prepare the oat crumble.

In a small mixing bowl, stir together oats, flour, cinnamon, light brown sugar, salt, and walnuts. Use a pastry blender (or two forks) to cut butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Use your fingers to scatter the crumble over the top of the banana bread batter. Tap the full pan on the counter five times before baking for 55-65 minutes, tenting with foil at the 30 minute mark. The banana bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with only a few moist crumbs.

Let the bread cool completely in the pan on a rack. Use the parchment overhang to lift the bread out of the pan onto a cutting board. Slice and serve.

Oat Crumble Banana Bread will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to ten days.

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

 I go to the same coffee place everyday. It’s an institution on Atlantic Avenue–Moon’s Palace. It’s not flashy, and you won’t find any fancy pour-over there, but the owner, known to me as Mr. Moon, makes a solid cup of coffee. I don’t even have to ask for my order anymore–he and his sons know that if its a weekday, I want a large black coffee, and if it’s a weekend, a second large coffee with foamed half-and-half, for Henry. I’ve been going there so frequently for the last three years that we even have a deal during the summer: they keep all their sad-looking overripe bananas for me (instead of tossing them in the garbage), and I buy them at half-price for banana bread. It’s the best deal in town, as far as I’m concerned: twenty-five cent bananas, and I don’t even have to wait for them to ripen! 

But now it’s winter, and ready-made overripe bananas are harder to come by. I went in last week and grabbed a few bananas that were still bright yellow, hoping to make banana bread in about a week. I put them in a paper bag and left them to ripen, but they refused. Sure, they started to turn a little brown in places, but not nearly enough for really good banana bread. Being the impatient, banana bread-deprived woman I was, I resorted to one of those hacks that probably plague your Facebook feed. I placed the bananas on a lined baking sheet and put them in a 250F oven for twenty minutes. And lo and behold: 

So, now that I’ve played Mother Nature with these bananas, let’s make some banana bread. Whole Wheat Banana Bread, to be exact. Sweet, cinnamon-scented quickbread chock full of bananas and walnuts, with all the nutty goodness of whole wheat. Now, baking with whole wheat flour can be tricky. Since it hasn’t been stripped of the bran and germ like all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour has a grainier texture and higher protein content. Higher protein = more gluten. More gluten = greater potential for tough, dense results. We have to follow a few guidelines to keep this banana bread from being a brick.

1. Measure the flour properly. American baking is notoriously unreliable when it comes to measurements. This isn’t a problem in countries where they bake by weight–100 grams is always 100 grams. In the U.S., though, measuring is a problem. Since we traditionally measure ingredients by volume, there’s no way to know if two people are using exactly the same amount of an ingredient. Some people measure flour by just scooping it with the measuring cup. This doesn’t allow any air into the flour, and can therefore contribute to over-measuring. In cakes and breads, this can lead to things becoming too dense and dry. In cookies, this can lead to toughness and/or cakey results. How do you measure flour properly in an American-style measuring cup? First, make sure you’re not using a liquid measuring cup. You need a set of measuring cups made specifically for dry ingredients. Then, you need a spoon, a table knife, and your container of flour. Use the spoon to give the flour a good stir. This is called aerating, and will keep us from measuring too much flour. Then, with the measuring cup sitting on a steady surface, spoon the flour into the cup. Do not tap or jostle the cup in any way–it could knock out the air. Once you have a heaping cup of flour, use the back of your knife to level off the measuring cup. That’s it! Just enough flour for whatever you’re making. If you use weighted measurements instead of volume, you’ll need 260 grams of whole wheat flour. Otherwise, spoon and level your flour from now on. 

  I have added some extra insurance against the heaviness of whole wheat flour by adding a touch of cornstarch to the dry ingredients. Cornstarch lightens all-purpose flour in cake flour, and is in many of my cookie recipes for a little extra softness. Here, it mitigates the graininess and heaviness of the whole wheat. If you don’t mind a heavier bread, you may leave it out, but I really think it brings something special to the texture.

2. Use really brown bananas. The general rule with banana bread bananas is “the browner, the better.” Make sure they’re super brown. Like, pretty-close-to-rotting brown. This means that all the sugars in the bananas are developed. They don’t need to be solid black-brown, but they should be heavily spotted, a little squishy, and have a heavy scent. Don’t use green or solid yellow bananas, or you’ll have dry, sad bread. If your bananas, like mine, are refusing to ripen after several days, do as I have done: set the bananas on a lined baking sheet and bake at 250F for 20 minutes. The peels will darken completely. Let the bananas cool for at least half an hour before peeling and mashing. 

3. Add enough moisture. (Warning: I’m about to say “moist” a lot.) In this banana bread, we need a ton of moisture to counteract the density potential from the whole wheat flour. Here, we use oil so our banana bread stays soft and springy. If we used butter, which is around 15% water, our bread would dry out as the water evaporated over time. Also, there’s so much flavor going on between the bananas, cinnamon, and walnuts that we won’t even notice the lack of butter. So, break out the neutral-flavored oil: canola, vegetable, whatever you have. You may also use melted coconut oil. Next comes brown sugar. We use only brown sugar in this recipe because it’s more moist than granulated sugar, thanks to the molasses. After that, two large eggs. The eggs provide moisture, chew, and additional structure. They help the final product to stay soft and moist-crumbed, which is exactly what we want in banana bread. Lastly comes the milk, which is just extra moisture insurance. You may use any milk you like (including buttermilk, almond, oat, soy, etc.), although I do not recommend skim or fat-free cow’s milk. 

4. Don’t stir too much. This is not the time to use your electric mixer. With the high amount of protein in the flour, an electric mixer would overdevelop the gluten and give us a banana bread brick. Yuck. Use a whisk when stirring the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately. When you combine the two, use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon and do not stir more than twenty strokes. I add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and then stir ten strokes, making sure to scrape the bowl as I go. Then I add the optional walnuts before stirring ten additional strokes. If there are tiny streaks of flour left in your batter, don’t worry. Those will disappear into the final bread. Resist the urge to stir further, or have tough banana bread!

Now, that all sounds super intense, but banana bread is (and should be) fun and easy to make. There’s a reason that generations of people have been making banana bread out of their overripe bananas, and that’s because it’s simple and delicious (especially the next day). And now, with the addition of whole wheat flour, it’s a little more wholesome. 

 
Whole Wheat Banana Bread

makes one 9×5″ loaf

2 cups white whole wheat flour*
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup neutral-flavored oil*
1 cup light brown sugar, packed*
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
2/3 cup milk*
2/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9×5″ loaf pan, and line the bottom with parchment. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, baking powder, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oil, brown sugar, and eggs, until completely combined. Whisk in vanilla before stirring in the mashed bananas and milk. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to stir the batter ten strokes, making sure to scrape the side of the bowl. At ten strokes, pause and add the walnuts, if using. Then stir an additional ten strokes.

Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan, and bake for 55-65 minutes, tenting with foil at the 40 minute mark. The banana bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with only a few moist crumbs.

Let the bread cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before running a knife around the edge and inverting to release. Peel off the parchment paper before enjoying.

Whole Wheat Banana Bread keeps well tightly-covered at room temperature for up to ten days.

Notes:

1.  Regular whole wheat flour may be substituted.
2.  I use canola oil, but vegetable oil is a good choice. You may also use melted coconut oil.
3.  Dark brown sugar may be substituted.
4.  You may use any milk you prefer, although I do not recommend skim or fat-free cow’s milk.

Whole Wheat Banana Bread