Chocolate Banana Bread

This bread is not healthy. I repeat, this bread is not healthy. It’s interesting how every time you have a fruit or a vegetable in the title of a recipe, it sounds like a healthier option. (Did you know that carrot cake at the Cheesecake Factory is one of their highest calorie count desserts? I’m telling you.. vegetables/fruits in a dessert is a lie!) Instead it’s an indulgent, rich chocolate bread which is full of chocolate chips and banana flavor. I think the role of the banana here is not so much to provide banana flavor (which it does) but to give it a rich, moist crumb that is not heavy.

I’ve seen a lot of banana breads on Instagram that have the floating bananas on top and always wondered how it is done. And the interesting thing is, no one writes how it is done! Even recipes with the floating bananas don’t mention the bananas on top of the loaf, they just mention putting the batter into the pan and bake. WHY?

Turns out, the bananas do not sink into the bread like I worried. But to keep it from turning color, a light brushing of fresh lemon juice will help it keep its pleasing yellow shade. Sprinkle the top with Sugar In The Raw (aka demerara sugar) and it will glisten with crunchy sugar crystals after it is baked.  It really is one of my favorite banana bread recipes and I think I’ll have a hard time turning back to my older one. On second thought, I might on the days I want to be a little “healthier”… that one uses half whole wheat flour. 🙂

Chocolate Banana Bread

Ingredients:

1 c. all-purpose flour
½ c. Dutch processed cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt
3 large brown bananas (1 ½ c. mashed)
¼ c. (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
¼ c. vegetable oil
½ c. packed light brown sugar
1 extra large egg (or large if you don’t have extra large)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¾ c. chocolate chips
1 banana, ripe but not browned
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
demerara sugar (sugar in the raw) for sprinkling on top of loaf

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350˚F, grease and line your loaf pan with parchment paper. (I used this gorgeous pan and it is on sale!!)
  2. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and kosher salt in a medium bowl and set it aside.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed, add the mashed bananas, melted butter, and oil and mix until combined.
  4. Add in the brown sugar, egg and vanilla and mix until smooth.
  5. Turn the mixer to the lowest setting and add in the flour mixture.
  6. While there are traces of flour in the batter, add the chocolate chips and mix just until combined.
  7. Pour batter into your prepared loaf pan.
  8. Slice your banana lengthwise and brush with fresh lemon juice
  9. Place it side by side on top of the batter.
  10. Sprinkle the demerara sugar all over the top and place into the oven.
  11. Bake banana bread for about 50-60 minutes, checking at 50 minutes to make sure you don’t overbake your loaf.
  12. Stick a toothpick in the center of the loaf to check, making sure to check in a few places as skewering a chocolate chip would make you think the batter is undercooked.
  13. Remove pan from the oven and place on a cooling rack for about 15 minutes before removing the bread from the pan.
  14. Let cool and serve.

Recipe adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod.

{Simple Sundays} Giant Popovers

Giant PopoversIt’s been a while since I’ve done a Simple Sundays post. I’ve been too busy trying to be creative and unique that I’ve put the effortless recipes on the back burner. But I’m back with this super simple popover recipe.
giant popoversgiant popoversIf you’ve never had a popover, I would say that it kind of reminds me of a dutch baby but in a muffin form. Light and crisp on the outside and moist and eggy on the inside, it’s the perfect breakfast food served with jam and butter. Actually, you can pretty much use them for dinner rolls too.
how to make a popoverIf you loved my blueberry cruffins, but feel like it’s too much work to do, I highly recommend this recipe instead. It’s lighter and you can use any kind of filling that you like. Plus, that vertical lift is insane! I mean just look at them. They’re literally popping out of the pans. You don’t even need a blender, mixer or a food processor. All you need is a whisk and a bowl. Oh! And a popover pan of course. 🙂
giant popovers
Giant Popovers
makes 6 very large popovers

Ingredients:

1 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
¾ c. whole milk, room temperature
4 large eggs, room temperature
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Instructions:

  1. Use a pastry brush to brush your popover pan with melted butter.
  2. Turn on the oven to 425˚F, and place your popover pan in the oven while the oven preheats. (As shown in picture #1)
  3. In a large bowl (preferably one with a spout), whisk salt and flour together. (As shown in picture #2)
  4. In a large liquid measuring cup, whisk together milk and eggs. (As shown in picture #3)
  5. Slowly add the egg mixture into the flour mixture while continuously whisking to make a smooth, liquidy batter. (As shown in picture #4)
  6. Whisk in the rest of the melted butter to the batter. (As shown in picture #5)
  7. Remove the pan from the oven and pour the batter into each cavity about halfway full. (As shown in picture #6)
  8. Bake the popovers for about 20-25 minutes until they are golden brown and very tall. DO NOT OPEN the oven door during this time.
  9. Remove the popovers from the pan and puncture each popover to let the steam out. (As shown in picture #7)
  10. Serve warm.

Recipe barely adapted from Food 52.

 

 

{Simple Sundays} Corn Muffins

Corn Muffins 1One of the best things about baking is that there are so many ways to make the same things: cookies can be crunchy or chewy, muffins can be dense or light, and brownies can be cakey or fudgy. The thing is everyone is usually in one camp or the other. For me, cookies must be chewy and brownies must be fudgy, but when it comes to muffins, I love both kinds as long as they’re not tough.
Corn Muffins 3A few days ago, I was really craving corn muffins. (Not corn bread, which I think is a different breed.) The last time I had corn muffins was on my trip to Atlanta. We stopped by a Cracker Barrel as a rest stop and had a satisfying meal… satisfying except for the corn muffins. (I call it corn muffin because it was not square but baked in a muffin pan.) Ick! What is that stuff? As I bit into the corn muffin, disappointment filled my mouth in the form of salty, bland and coarse morsels. I need my corn muffins to be sweet and corny. I set out to make my own recipe. When freshly baked, it has a crisp exterior and a light and sweet interior. I wish I had some corn kernels to add to it, but I did not at the moment. I would encourage it if you have some on hand.
Corn Muffins 2Corn Muffins

Ingredients:

1 ½ c. flour
1 ⅓ c. cornmeal (stone ground if possible)
1 c. sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. kosher salt
¾ c. milk
4 oz. unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 egg

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 ˚F and line a muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix milk, butter, oil and egg.
  4. Mix milk mixture into the flour mixture and fold batter until just combined.
  5. Scoop batter evenly into the paper lined muffin pan and bake about 13-18 minutes or until tester comes out clean.

Cool and enjoy.