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© David James Di Pardo 2012

So after a very long hiatus from writing and baking since the move to the new house, i thought i would jump back in with something rich and sweet, my sinfully chocolatey banana bread. After a series of emotional highs and lows, and discovering while unpacking the pantry that I had 36 unopened bags of chocolate chips (plus an assortment of baking bars), well it was time. Time for something dark, moist and chocolatey (yes, I’m still talking about the banana bread).
 
How sinful is it? well that depends on how many chocolate chips you throw in. I was in need of a pretty big pick me when i concocted this recipe and the whole bag of chocolate chips may have found its way into the recipe (after-all, its not like i was going to run out of chocolate)… There is a healthy dose of banana in here as well, plus the wheat germ and flax seed give the bread a subtle nuttiness, but more importantly now i can have it for breakfast without all the guilt ;)
 
 

Sinfully Chocolatey Banana Bread

Makes 2 loaves (approximately 8 servings per loaf)
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds, ground
  • 1 tablespoon wheat germ, toasted
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup almond milk, or other non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 medium)
  • 6 tablespoons hot espresso, freshly brewed *see note
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease or line 2 standard sized loaf pans with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl combine mashed bananas, canola oil, brown sugar, almond milk, salt, and vanilla and stir to combine.

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, flax seed, and wheat germ. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and gently stir just to combine, there should still be some visible streaks of the flour mixture. Gently fold in the hot espresso and chocolate chips until even distributed and the batter is smooth.

Divide the batter evenly among the two prepared loaf pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until a toothpick/cake tester inserted into the center comes our clean. Baking times my vary slight depending on the type of pan used so be sure to plan accordingly (see note).

Allow the loaves to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before un-molding and transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Tightly wrapped loaves will keep at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.

Note:
A note about the espresso, if you’re worried that it will make your banana bread taste like coffee, rest assured it won’t The quantity of espresso is far too small to lend any distinct flavor. What it does do however is help balance out the flavor of the chocolate, the same way a dash of salt will round out the flavors in baking, the same is true for coffee in regards to chocolate. Coffee compliments chocolate beautifully while accentuating the flavor without really lending any flavor of its own. If you’re still not convinced, the coffee can be replaced by an equal measure of hot water.
A note about baking pans. The pan use choose will definitly impact the cooking time of your loaves. Metal which has the thinest walls and conducts heat the fastest will have a shorter baking time as opposed to glass. Stone on the other hand, my personal favorite, will have the greatest baking time of all three. Stone does however offer the advantage that it is harder to burn your baked goods. Also worth noting is that stoneware pans also promote even browning and also baked goods to retain more of their moisture. Regardless of the pan you choose, always start with the shortest baking and then check periodically with a toothpick or cake tester.
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