Thursday, March 17, 2016

triple chocolate banana bread





Yesterday  a friend gifted me two large bunches of ripe bananas - perfect for baking. She had bought a full box of bananas, what she thought was 9 bunches but discovered was in fact twice that many when she got home and realized that there were two layers in the box. Her plan was to dehydrate the bananas and it was a good plan. The flaw in the plan was the amount of time it takes to dehydrate bananas and the volume of fruit that she had to process. I was happy to take some of the bananas off her hands. And in my turn I was surprised at how much baking I could get out of two large bunches - two batches of banana bread (coconut banana bread and triple chocolate), one banana cake, and a full 48 mini banana chocolate chip supermuffins. The house smells heavenly, the kitchen was a glorious mess for the better part of the day, and I have banana goodness to share with one and all.

The other banana recipes are in the archives here and I think they are still hard to beat but this triple chocolate banana bread is definitely a contender. Next time you have some nicely freckled bananas wondering when and what you are planning for them, give this recipe a thought. It may not be quite as healthy as a smoothie but oh my, ever so much tastier.*

I used a mix of light and whole grain spelt flours for two reasons - I love the taste of spelt and I am trying to use heritage or ancient grain varieties when I bake as opposed to the more readily available modern strains of wheat. You could of course use regular white flour or a mix of white and whole grain wheat flours. If gluten is a problem for you, a gluten-free flour mix works very well. There are several good options easily available, I prefer to mix my own (referenced in the super muffin recipe).

You will likely figure this next bit out on your own but in case you have amazing self-control and can wait until this bread is absolutely cool, you need to know that it is really very, very good when warm. 

triple chocolate banana bread

3/4 cup light spelt flour 
1/2 cup whole grain spelt flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup cacao nibs
1/4 cup sprouted ground chia seed
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
2 medium ripe bananas
3/4 cup coconut palm sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled

Prepare two small (6.75x3") loaf pans or one larger (9x5") pan by oiling the ends of the pans and lining the pans with parchment paper strips, allowing the paper to overhang the sides.

Whisk the dry ingredients (flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, cacao nibs, and chocolate chips) together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl mash the bananas. Whisk in the eggs and add the vanilla, sugar, and cooled melted butter. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry and stir just until all the dry ingredients are incorporated. 

Push the batter into prepared pan (or pans) and bake at 350 for 45- 50 minutes for two small loaves or 60 minutes for one larger loaf - or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in pans for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack. 

*no disrespect intended to smoothies - we drink them daily but seriously, no matter how good they may be they are not this good ;)