23 April 2014

Dark Chocolate Marbled Banana Bread

Whew. The past month was both incredible and insane. I read 120-something articles in 30 days, wrote 4 papers in 3 days, and then in 2 hours I finished it all off by passing my comprehensive exams. All those numbers mean I'm FINALLY "all but dissertation"! However, that much frantic work also meant that I had 3 sad and neglected bananas in my fruit basket. 

So a day after my defense, I decided to do what I know how to do best- spend some quality time in the kitchen! Every time I find an occasion to make banana bread, though, I swear I also am missing a different ingredient than the time before. In the past this has resulted in using "chia eggs" to make up for being one egg shy or incorporating Greek yogurt in place of oil (or butter). This time I was short egg AND butter, but I at least had milk on hand. Remembering my friend had just had great success with a vegan banana nut muffin recipe I scoured the internet and found a vegan banana bread recipe. It didn't call for anything too crazy and at the same time had something a little different to offer- a marbled banana bread! Now, I don't have extensive experience with marbling, but the this recipe produces a gorgeous, healthy bread. It's flavorful and at the same time surprisingly low in sugar and fat!

If you're looking for a banana bread to wow people with in the future, I recommend you try adapting the following recipe for your own purposes! At the same time, I must apologize- I totally ended up eyeballing a lot of the ingredients, because I realized at the last minute I had more banana than the original recipe called for and haphazardly tried to convert the original recipe in my head to yield a larger quantity.  

Dark Chocolate Marbled Banana Bread
Lightly adapted from the Post Punk Kitchen

Yields: 12 slices

  • 1.5 c bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1/2 c milk 
  • 2 1/4 - 1/2 c all purpose flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbs unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 6-8 tbs boiling water
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the sugar, vanilla, oil, and milk. 
  3. In a separate, smaller bowl, peel and mash approximately 3 larger sized bananas. Afterward, measure out 1.5 cups of mashed banana and add it to the mixing bowl. Beat the ingredients together.
  4. Fold the flour, baking soda, and salt with the contents of the mixing bowl until just barely incorporated.
  5. In a medium sized mixing bowl, add 3-5 tablespoons of boiled water to the cocoa powder. (I needed to use closer to 5 tablespoons of water in order to dissolve the cocoa, so feel free to add more as needed!) Measure 1-1.5 cups of the banana mixture and add this to the cocoa powder and water.  Fold the two together until well incorporated and the batter looks smooth. (If you want your marbling to be more sparse, only make 1 cup of chocolate-ified banana.) Add whatever remaining boiled water you have to the plain banana batter and stir.
  6. In a greased (or buttered) 8" x 4 " loaf pan, alternate scooping in the chocolate and plain banana batter. I used a 1/2 cup measuring cup to do so, going plain-chocolate-plain from left to right and then alternating by layer, but have fun with this! Once you have completed layering the two batters in the pan, take a knife and swirl circles and loops throughout the batter until you've created a design for the top of the bread that you like. 
  7. Bake the bread for approximately 45 minutes. At this point, the bread will likely need another 15-20 minutes, but already be golden brown. If so, make a tent of tin foil over the top of the pan to prevent burning and put the pan back in until done. The bread will be done when a butter knife can be inserted almost (or entirely) smoothly throughout the bread without producing crumbs.