Near my alma mater, Azusa Pacific University, there is a frozen yogurt shop called 21 Choices. Their frozen yogurt was the creamy kind, almost like soft serve. Although they have 21 different flavors of yogurt, they offer five each day that with toppings pre-mixed into the yogurt, yielding seemingly endless choices in their arsenal. You know it's a good day when one of the choices is their banana-graham-cracker, which tastes very similar to banana bread. I almost always add dark chocolate to it, which they chop from a bar. It gives you these great pieces of varying size throughout your yogurt.
So of course when I set out to make banana bread, I have to have those dark chocolate pieces in there. Mine is a little denser and more cake-like, which I prefer so that you can take it with you as an on-the-go breakfast or snack. It won't be crumbling in your hands as you try to eat it. Banana bread is very easy to make, so this will be quick and fun.
You want your bananas as ripe as possible, the browner, the better. I have heard of a few tricks for expediting the ripening process if you're in a pinch. Mine in the photo were just ripe enough to not have to use a separate means, but they could have probably gone a few days longer as well. The ripeness isn't a definitive date or texture, but it really helps with the sweetness in the bread and the consistency of banana mash.
The mashed bananas may not be the prettiest photo, but that is the consistency you're going for. You can have more or less banana chunks depending on preference, but it should be a "goopy" consistency, not a thick paste. Again, having ripe bananas helps with this. The chocolate on the right was chopped from a bar. This is important to my banana bread because I like the hint of chocolate throughout as well as the big chocolate nuggets. By chopping your chocolate from a bar, you get the little chocolate dust as well as the chips.
Dark Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
makes one loaf
- 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3 very ripe bananas
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 dark chocolate bar
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter or spray your loaf pan with nonstick spray.
Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl or KitchenAid until fluffy. Add the eggs and whisk until combined and smooth. Add milk and vanilla and stir to combine.
Peel the bananas and mash them with a fork to your desired consistency. I prefer a pretty good mash with a few bigger banana chunks still intact. Whisk into the batter.
Add the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and salt) to the batter and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon. Do not over mix! Stir until just combined.
Chop your chocolate bar into pieces that look good to you. I like a variety of small and large pieces, along with the "dust" that flakes off the knife while chopping. Fold into the batter with your spoon or spatula. Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan.
Bake for one hour. The top should be dark brown, with yellow showing through any cracks. Insert a tooth pick (or in my case a skewer because I ran out of tooth picks). It should come out clean(is). This cake is moist so if some crumbs come out with your tooth pick, don't worry. As long as their not still dough or liquid, it should be done.
Cool for 10-15 minutes. Getting the loaf out is easier the more cooled it is. I recommend putting a plate on top of the loaf, flipping it upside down, and carefully rolling it right side up after taking off the pan.
Recipe adapted slightly from The Kitchn