Monday, February 18, 2013

Cocoa Banana Bread

 This morning was beautiful! The sky was bright, the sun was big and yellow, and it was just breezy enough to keep things awake. Which was good because it was 7:30 and I had until 9:15 to make breakfast for us girls, eat it, make this divine bread, clean up the living room, fold the clean diapers and pack up dinner and the vacuum for a friend that just had a baby. I left the dinner, brought the vacuum back...
I'm sure you've probably made banana bread before. It's kind of sticky, very sweet and pretty much every other banana loaf you've had. Which is fine! If that's what you want. But if you want something else, let me propose you try Dorie Greenspans Cocoa-Nana bread. Recipe to follow. Let me ramble first.
If you're like me you never have ripe bananas when you need them, and the bananas are always brown when you have no time. So freeze them. I use the bags on the left in the above picture to freeze two bananas together and then I'm ready. It makes about 1 cup of mushy banana. Also, save your butter wrappers. Room temp butter leaves plenty on the paper to grease your pan...

 This particular recipe uses a delightful ratio of cocoa to flour. 1 cup of cocoa to 2 cups of flour! You must try. You just have to. So take your butter out of the fridge and come back in a couple hours to bake this bread.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semisweet cocoa powder (I used unsweeetened and it was deliciously bold)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 stick of room temp butter, and wrapper
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large bananas, mashed, ripe
3/4 cup butter milk, or yogurt, plain

additions: 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped walnuts, toasted hazelnuts, pecans, more chopped chocolate(!)

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9x5 loaf pan and place on two baking sheets stacked to keep the bottom from cooking too fast.
Mix the dry stuff.
Beat your butter at medium speed until light. Add sugars and beat a couple more minutes. Add eggs and between after each one. (It may look lumpy or curdled, it's ok, it will come together).
Turn mixer to low and mix in the bananas. Add dry stuff in three additions, mixing until it's barely incorperated. Add buttermilk or plain yogurt and mix. Stir in additions, and scrape into pan.

Bake for 30 minutes. Loosely tent with aluminum foil to keep from getting too dark and bake another 40 or 45 minutes, until a sharp knife comes clean. Transfer to a rack and cool at least 20 minutes before running your knife along the edges and carefully inverting to remove and cool right side up.

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