In keeping with the theme and overall speed of this recipe, I’m keeping this post on the shorter side.
I love banana bread. I love seeing those dark flecks from the banana running throughout it. I love the aroma that fills the house when you bake it. I love the soft, tender, dare I say, moist yield of the cake—oops, sorry… bread—and I love when someone for whatever reason gives or serves me banana bread that they’ve made. It’s been a long time since I’ve made banana bread—banana pancakes are a different story—so I recently decided to change that.
Actually, that’s a lie. I decided to change that about a week ago. Before my partner left for a work trip out of town he started freezing the bananas I bought him. Smoothies, ya know? Normally he waits until the peel starts to turn a bit brown but because he was going out of town—and rightly knew I would ignore them on the counter—he froze them a bit early. He went to go grab the last two off the counter when I screamed “NO!” and lunged across the kitchen. Okay… I just screamed, “NO!”. I didn’t move from my seat. You know me too well. Anyway, I had plans for them there ‘nanas.
About a week later he had no more than walked through the doorway when he clocked the bananas on the counter still. I was met with a “what the hell?!” All part of my master plan. For truly good banana bread your bananas have to be DARK. Like, black… Like to the point where you can’t pick them up without them almost falling apart in your hand. If you were to just look at the bananas hard enough they’ll just fall apart and melt. This is a culinary long con—you’ve gotta be in it for the long haul.
But now I’m rambling. The important part is that there’s chocolate. I love chocolate. I love chocolate a lot (I also love sucking on a Werther’s original until it melts and then shoving a fistful of chocolate chips in my mouth… but that’s a different story). The important thing to note here about the chocolate is that you use Dutch processed cocoa powder—NOT natural cocoa powder. Not all cocoa powders are created the same; not only does Dutch processed taste more chocolatey—and isn’t that the point?—but the type of cocoa really affects the final bake depending on the other ingredients used. Natural cocoa powder is acidic so it’s usually paired with baking soda in baked things, the heat of the baking process creating a levening agent that gives the cake (or whatever) its rise; alternately, Dutch-processed cocoa powder is treated with an akaline solution, neutralizing its acidity. Naturally (har har!) this means that it needs baking powder to help it rise. If you go swapping the two freely in any old recipe you could end up throwing off the chemical balance of whatever it is that you’re baking. Oh, and full disclosure… I used a mix (fairly equal) of Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I prefer the Saco brand) and King Arthur’s black cocoa (oh, $#!@ that stuff is good!).
I make this in the food processor and it’s incredibly quick—and that’s incredibly quick for me, the person that makes a 15 minute meal take 45—but there’s nothing stopping you from using a fork or potato masher from mushing up the banana and a wooden spoon or rubber spatula from mixing all the rest together. I prefer to lift the processor out of its cabinet. I like living on the edge.
Okay so… black bananas, black cocoa… that about sums it up. So let some bananas rot and come hang out with me and the rest of the chocoholics. We’re the cool kids.
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