I love a good banana bread. I am ever searching for new and different banana bread recipes; I guess you could say I'm a sucker for it. But, in my defense, there are so many different varieties!
There are healthy breads, like this banana nut bread, that are stuffed with good things for you. Not only do they get the stamp of approval for breakfast, but they are tasty too. By adding nuts and straying from butter and oil, you can have your "cake" and eat it too.
But my favorite has to be the dessert breads. I may be a bit of a chocoholic, but I don't think I'm biased in insisting that chocolate and banana is a flavor combination sent down from heaven itself. There are breads stuffed with chocolate chunks, some that are cinnamon spiced, and even more with a crunchy crumb topping. These breads resemble cake more than bread, but I can't stop wishing it was okay to eat these for breakfast...
Even the flour can significantly alter the the finished product. An all-purpose flour will yield the traditional loaf of bread you already know and love, whereas whole wheat flour will yield a loaf with a complex and hearty texture. Cake flour yields a loaf with an unbelievably velvety and smooth texture (almost like cake itself, but with less calories!). In some aspects, I guess you could say I'm a banana bread connoisseur. But really, I think its only fair I share this delicious obsession with you.
This chocolate marbled banana bread is soft, tender, and never too sweet. Each bite alternates between bursts of banana and deep bittersweet chocolate flavors, complementing each other with taste and ease. The marbled pattern gives a twist on the traditional banana bread loaf while adding an air of sophistication. This is a great banana bread recipe to add to your arsenal.
Chocolate Marbled Banana Bread
Adapted from The Art & Soul of Baking
Yields 1 loaf
3 large overripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3-5 tablespoons boiling water
9 tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, allowing the paper to hang an inch over the long ends of the pan. Lightly grease.
In a small bowl, combine the mashed bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla. Set aside.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon into a medium bowl. Whisk together. Set aside.
In another small bowl, stir together the cocoa powder and 3 tablespoons boiling water until it reaches a smooth paste. If the mixture is too thick, add a tablespoon of water and stir again. Repeat the process until the desired texture is reached. Set aside.
Place the butter and sugar into a large mixing bowl and beat on medium high until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Turn the mixer on low and add a third of the flour, half of the banana mixture, another third of the flour, the rest of the banana mixture, and the last of the flour, mixing well between each addition. Transfer half of the batter to another mixing bowl and mix in the cocoa paste.
Drop alternating spoonfuls of the light and dark batters into the pan and marbleize with a spoon by turning over the batter in 3 places down the length of the pan.
Bake the banana bread for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the top of the loaf bounces back. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 4-5 days or in the freezer for up to 8 weeks.