Certain words, when incorporated into food descriptions, make any dish immediately sound appetizing. Stuffed. Toasted. Encrusted. Another favorite is marbled. "Chocolate-marbled banana bread" sounds a gazillion times more drool-worthy than just "chocolate banana bread." Of course, adding chocolate enhances the bread, too!
This is a great weekend recipe, and by that I mean it's a great one to bake when you've got a little extra time on your hands and don't mind dirtying a few dishes (or every single bowl in the kitchen, if you bake the way I do.) It's chewy, sweet (although not overly so), and comforting, and the marbled look gives it that little extra something special. Oh, and it's vegan! (Thanks, PPK!)
You will need:
- 1 cup mashed very-ripe bananas (1-2 bananas, depending on size)
- 3/4 cup sugar (coconut sugar works well, if you're into that sort of thing)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp canola oil
- 1/3 cup almond or soy milk
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- a handful of vegan chocolate chips (optional)
- 6 Tbsp boiling water, divided
- Preheat the oven to 350° F and prep a loaf pan with non-stick spray or a little oil. Set aside.
- Using a fork, mash the bananas in a large bowl until they're pretty smooth. (I'd echo Isa's advice and say it's worthwhile to measure out a cup afterwards to make sure you have the right amount.) Add the sugar, vanilla, oil, and milk to the same bowl; mix with a wooden spoon until everything is incorporated.
- Next, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to the same bowl, and mix gently only until everything is just incorporated. (I think I over-mixed here, as my loaf didn't look as fluffy as Isa's version! It still tastes amazing though, so don't worry too much.)
- Measure out one cup of this batter and move it to a different bowl. Keep this to the side for now. (This will become the chocolate part.)
- Use a mug and a fork to stir 3 Tbsp of the boiling water into the cocoa powder until it's dissolved. Pour the cocoa mixture into the one cup of banana batter, tossing in a handful of chocolate chips if desired. (Um, yes.) Mix the chocolatiness (yes, it's a word) into the one cup of batter until it's smooth and beautifully brown.
- Add the remaining 3 Tbsp of boiling water to the original (plain) banana batter; mix until it's relatively smooth.
- Scoop alternating 1/2 cups of the plain banana batter and the chocolate-banana batter into the greased loaf ban. Don't worry about it looking pretty just yet! After all the batter is in the pan, swirl a butter knife in a random pattern through the pan, creating a marbled effect.
- Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool before slicing and serving.
And that's it! It's not a difficult recipe, but it does involve quite a few steps. As I said, my loaf came out more dense than Isa's, judging by her picture, and I think that's down to slightly over-mixing and maybe using a bigger pan than she used. But nonetheless, it turned out delicious, and Bryan and I have each had at least two pieces per day so far! (P.S. How amazing would this be with peanut butter chips mixed into the chocolate batter?)
I made this a second time and added 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder, which made a more classic, top-rounded loaf. I also discovered this recipe makes enough batter for three mini loaves -- perfect for thank-you gifts or just-because-I-freaking-felt-like-it presents. The second time around, I used Trader Joe's gluten-free baking mix instead of all-purpose flour, since I'm planning to give one of these to a friend who's nice enough to take our butts back and forth to the airport later in the week. (Can't wait to be back in PA for a couple days! Boehringer's is tops on my list of food priorities!)