Introduction: Banana Chocolate Bread

About: I love to spend time in the kitchen to relax and feed those I love with great eats and treats.

In this never ending Ohio winter the smell of banana bread baking in the house warmed me right up. Eating it in some cozy pajamas was even more comforting. Though I let the bananas get very ripe, I like to roast them to bring out more of their natural sweetness, this means I can use less sugar in the batter. The bananas also become very soft, along with tangy yogurt the bread stays very moist. Adding chocolate brings some decadence and toasted walnuts add great texture. 

Banana bread is simple to make, you can make it before dinner and enjoy it for dessert, or let the kids help on a lazy Saturday afternoon. It makes a tasty breakfast treat or a fulfilling snack. My favorite way to enjoy it is warmed in the microwave a few seconds and slathered with whipped cream cheese. Whether it be -10 or 80 F where you live, I hope this banana bread will make your house smell cozy and delicious very soon, enjoy! 

Recipe from Cook's Illustrated March 1998.

Step 1: Gather Ingredients

You'll need: 

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
10 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 1/4 cups toasted walnuts, chopped coarse (about 1 cup)
2 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, a heaping 1/2 cup, grated (I used Ghiradelli milk chocolate chips) 
3 very ripe bananas, soft, darkly speckled
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Step 2: Prepare Batter

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake bananas on rimmed baking sheet until skins are completely black, about 20 minutes, flipping bananas once during baking. (Do not turn off oven.) Cool bananas completely, peel, and mash with potato masher until smooth. Measure 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas and discard any excess.

Grease bottom only of regular loaf pan, or grease and flour bottom and sides of nonstick 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan; set aside.

Combine first five ingredients and chocolate together in large bowl; set aside.

Mix mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter, and vanilla with wooden spoon in medium bowl. Lightly fold banana mixture into dry ingredients with rubber spatula until just combined and batter looks thick and chunky. 

Step 3: Bake, Cool, and Enjoy

Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan; bake until loaf is golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 55 minutes.

Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Banana bread, covered tightly with plastic wrap, can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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