Marbled Banana Bread is simply chocolate banana bread batter mixed with plain vanilla banana bread batter. This is a vegan recipe in that there are no eggs or dairy in it. Vegan recipes use banana in vegan baking for a lot of recipes because of its stability and binding capabilities, but it really tastes like banana. And this is a recipe where you want that. This recipe was created by Isa Chandra Moskowitz in her excellent cookbook "Isa Does It" and she shared it on her blog here. I am a huge Isa fan and she has many recipe testers but sometimes I personalize her recipes. In this one, I have added toasted walnuts. For a single loaf recipe, the general rule of thumb is to add between 1/4 - 1/3 cup of nuts. Toasting them increases their flavor.
Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients and Turn the Oven On
The first step is to assemble your ingredients and tools. You will need the following tools:
- 4" x 8" loaf pan
- a large mixing bowl
- a small mixing bowl
- a 1/2 cup scoop
- a strainer
- a whisk
- 1 cup glass measuring cup
- measuring spoon set
- measuring cup set
- 3 very ripe bananas
- 3/4 cup granulated organic sugar
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/3 cup non-dairy milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Navitas brand because they source their cocoa ethically)
- 6 tablespoons boiling water
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Note: You will need plenty of space around the loaf pan. So, make sure your baking rack is set in the middle of the oven.
Step 2: Mash the Over-Ripe Bananas
Over-ripe bananas are much sweeter and taste much more like bananas than ones that have just turned yellow. That is what we want for this recipe! You could boost the recipe more with banana extract if you don't have over-ripe bananas. But then you would have to add more sugar.
Mash the bananas with a potato masher in the large mixing bowl until they are fairly evenly done. You can perform this step with a stand mixer or a food processor if you have one.
Step 3: Mix Wet Ingredients
In the large bowl that you mashed the banana in, include the sifted sugar (see the strainer), oil, non-dairy milk and vanilla and whisk until smooth.
Step 4: Mix Dry Ingredients Into the Wet Ingredients in Large Bowl
To the wet ingredients in the large bowl, add the sifted flour, baking soda and salt (passing them through the strainer), and mix just until they are incorporated. Do not overmix the batter or it will be too tough. You do not want to develop gluten.
Step 5: Prepare the Chocolate Batter
Scoop out 1 cup of the batter and transfer it to the small mixing bowl. Prepare the chocolate from the cocoa and boiling water by mixing the cocoa powder and 3 tablespoons boiling water in another smaller bowl. Mix until dissolved, adding more boiling water, if necessary. Mix this melted cocoa into the reserved batter (1-cup) in the smaller bowl until thoroughly smooth and incorporated.
Step 6: Add Nuts and Boiled Water to Vanilla Batter
Some people feel that banana bread isn't great unless it has nuts, like walnuts or pecans, in it. At this point, you can toast the 1/3 cup of walnuts in a pre-heated cast iron pan and keep an eye on it. I'm not even kidding here. These nuts can burn in 3 seconds if you aren't looking. You should just be able to smell more of the nuts as they toast and then turn the heat off. The nuts I had were pre-chopped but not even. So, I chopped them evenly after toasting. This ensures that you have some nuts in every bite.
Mix these nuts into the larger batter bowl (vanilla).
At this point, add the remaining 3 tablespoons boiled water to the vanilla batter.
Step 7: Marbling Process
Spray the inside of the loaf pan with oil or coat with vegan butter. Begin scooping with the 1/2 cup scoop, alternately, chocolate and vanilla, into the loaf pan.
Step 8: Marble the Batter
Using a butter knife, mix the layered batter in the pan, making wide swirls as shown here and you can still see separation between the colors. Do not overmix.
Step 9: Bake the Bread
Place the loaf pan with the marbled batter in it into the heated oven. Bake for 55 minutes and check for doneness with a butter knife. The batter should not stick to the knife in clumps but should come out fairly clean.
Step 10: Cool the Bread
After your bread is finished baking, let it cool on a wire rack for as long as necessary. The bread will pull away a little bit from the insides of the pan and it will be easier to slip a butter knife down the edges to flip it out onto the wire rack to cool further. When the bread is cooled down completely (about 30 minutes), you can slice it and eat it or wrap it up in foil. I don't recommend placing fresh bread in plastic or in the refrigerator. In increases the "staling process". You can freeze it after slicing it to slow the staling process. This bread makes excellent French toast. Or you can also at the end add a cinnamon-sugar glaze to the top and make it taste a bit more like chocolate babka.