A lovely moist, rich banana bread that puts a chocolate twist on the classic recipe.
The typical life cycle of a banana is incredible. It grows in a bunch in a tree, and is carefully harvested long before ripening, so it can be shipped to grocery stores. Bananas continue to ripen on their own, so even if you buy them green, they turn yellow and then brown, growing sweeter and softer with every passing day.
You buy a bunch of bananas, you eat a few of them, but there’s always those few left behind. “I’ll use them for banana bread,” you say to yourself, but do you? As often as not, I toss them in the freezer for use later, and there they sit, for months.
Hey, did you know that bananas breathe? Like, more than the passive activity of most plants, bananas actively respire. It’s intensely dangerous to ship large quantities of bananas in an enclosed space, because they will replace the atmosphere with their own carbon dioxide, and in sufficient quantities it can kill you. Neat!
So, about that banana bread. Now, I don’t like bananas all that much. My partner buys them occasionally, for snacking or for cereal, but we always end up with one or two left over, which end up in the freezer. My typical go-to use for them is banana muffins, but I wanted to change it up last time I made some. So I did! I made some banana bread, and made it a chocolate-focused bread. Like all my recipes, it’s made from scratch, rich, decadent, and delicious.
With a good banana bread, the key is moisture. There are a couple of little tricks in this recipe to keep the bread nice and moist, even several days after you bake it. Brown sugar is #1. Brown sugar instead of white sugar keeps anything you use it in a lot moister than it otherwise would be. Plus, brown sugar is delicious. I like using it in place of white sugar whenever I can.
Second, oil. I usually try to use butter whenever I can in recipes, but using some canola oil also helps retain moisture. Oil is the secret to why those boxed brownie mixes and cakes always turn out so moist, and it works just as well when you use it in your own recipe.
You can adjust the recipe to your tastes, as well. Here are a couple of ideas:
- Use a third banana. I only use two because that’s typically how many we have, but a third will give it a richer banana taste. I’m gonna be honest here; mine is more chocolate than banana.
- Mix up the chips. I use the small chips for internal chocolate and the large chips for the top, but you can do whatever you like. You can even replace them with cinnamon or peanut butter chips, or something more fun like M&Ms. Add chopped nuts too, if you like. I tend to prefer my banana bread without them, but a lot of people like nuts.
- Get the best cocoa powder you can find. I special-ordered some tasty Dutch Process cocoa powder, and it blows the Hershey stuff out of the water. It really does make a difference, I promise.
I don’t really have a ton to say for this post. It’s banana bread! It’s chocolate! What more can you ask for? This is not a vegan or keto recipe, though you might be able to tweak it to accomplish those goals. It’s a pretty standard banana bread recipe, with cocoa powder and chocolate chips on top.
The two most important things to keep in mind with this bread are cooking time and cooling time.
When you bake it, you have quite a range of time to watch for it to be done. Over-baking dries it out, makes it tougher, and makes it less enjoyable overall. With all of the chocolate chips in it, it can be tricky to use the toothpick method to test for batter, so be careful with it.
As for cooling time, as great as it is to enjoy a dessert like this hot, it needs time to cool to remove it from your loaf pan. That’s how I get it out nice and clean like in that picture above. If it’s too hot when you try to remove it, it will crumble. Allow at least 15 minutes to cool before trying to remove it.
Chocolate Banana Bread
- Mixing Bowl
- Loaf Pan
- Rubber Spatula
- Cooling Rack
- 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- ½ Cup Cocoa Powder Dutch Process if possible
- 1 Tsp Baking Soda
- ¼ Tsp Sea Salt
- 2 Bananas Protip: Fresh bananas can be softened by freezing them first
- ¼ Cup Unsalted Butter Melted; extra for greasing the loaf pan
- ¼ Cup Canola Oil
- ¾ Cup Packed Brown Sugar
- 1 Egg Brought up to room temperature
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 Cup Chocolate Chips
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Grease your loaf pan with butter.
- Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and sea salt and set aside.
- Mash ripe bananas until mostly smooth. A fork works, but I like a potato masher to do the hard work faster.
- Add the belted butter and oil into the banana and stir until combined.
- Add the brown sugar, vanilla, and egg to the wet mixture and mix until combined.
- Add the dry ingredients and stir. Get the big lumps out but don't over-mix, or you'll over-work the gluten in the flour.
- Add ¾ of the chocolate chips to the batter and stir to mix.
- Pour the batter into your loaf pan. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top.
- Bake. It takes me in my oven about 55 minutes. Depending on your conditions, it can take anywhere from 50 to 65. Use the toothpick or knife blade method to test, and check several spots. Bread is done when the implement comes out clean-ish.
- Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Let cool for 15 minutes, then remove the loaf from the loaf pan to finish cooling. Slice and serve!