Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cocoa Banana Bread

I keep telling myself I’m not going to post anymore banana bread recipes. At least not for awhile. At least not until you’ve forgotten how many I’ve already posted in the past year. And I’ve kept good on my promise for a little while. It’s been three months since I’ve posted a banana bread/muffin recipe. I even tried a new recipe during that time, decided that it wasn’t good enough to merit breaking my vow of silence, and didn’t tell you about it. I’ve been so good. Will you forgive me now for not being able to resist any longer? It’s for a good reason, I promise.

I knew this banana bread would be a winner from the get-go. The ingredients are fabulous – and simple. Butter and buttermilk to guarantee moist, rich bread. Lots of cocoa powder for gorgeous, dark color and deep, chocolaty flavor. Bananas, of course, and chocolate chips too – you know, just in case this bread wasn’t rich enough already. From tasting the batter alone, I knew it would be divine.

The baking time for recipe is a little longer than most banana breads I’ve made, which makes sense given the heft and density of the loaf. To keep the top of the loaf from getting too dark before the middle cooks through, you just have to place a little foil tent over the bread about halfway through baking. I was skeptical if this would work, since my oven runs hot, but it worked perfectly. My loaf came out beautifully, just begging to be sliced into – but I resisted and let it cool completely so it would be easier to slice. And when I did… chocolate banana bread bliss, totally worthy of breaking my vow of silence.

One Year Ago: Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffle Cupcakes – the first post of our first annual Sweets Week. This year I’m pushing Sweets Week back a week, to the week before Valentine’s Day, and will be posting a new dessert recipe every day that week. Visit our Facebook page to put in your requests!

Cocoa Banana Bread
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Place and rack in the center of your oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan with butter or cooking spray. Place the prepared loaf pan on an insulated baking sheet or two regular baking sheets stack on top of each other. (Putting the loaf pan on the baking sheet(s) helps prevent the bottom of the loaf from getting too dark while baking.)

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a hand mixer and a large bowl), beat the butter at medium speed until softened, about 1 minute. Add the sugars and beat for 2 more minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat for 1 minute after each addition.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the bananas.

With the mixer still on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions, mixing until just combined.

Add the buttermilk, stirring until just combined.

Stir in the chocolate chips.

Scoop the batter into the prepared loaf pan.

Bake the bread for 30 minutes. Cover the bread with a loose foil tent, and continue baking for another 40 to 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. (The total bake time will be about 70 to 75 minutes.) Place the pan on a rack and cool for at least 20 minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the loaf and transfer it to the rack to finish cooling.

Note: The bread will keep for 2 days wrapped in plastic and room temperature. You can also freeze the bread for up to 2 months.


  1. Oh my! I can't wait to try this recipe -- the weather forecast calls for cold temps and a "winter mix" on Friday and this looks perfect for a stay-at-home winter day. It's pantry friendly, too, which I appreciate.

  2. LC - I think this would be perfect for a snow day baking project! Serve it up with a glass of milk - preferably snuggled up on the couch under a warm blanket!

  3. Hi I just found your blog. I really enjoy your recipes and photos. I tried your tortellini soup recipe tonight. Wonderful. Looking forward to trying many more.

  4. Kyle - Nice to "meet" you! I'm so glad you said hello - and that you liked the tortellini soup!

  5. Katie, this looks fantastic! I'm soooo making this one.

  6. Monica - Thank you! It is delish!

  7. I think this recipe is fabulous! I made it last night and it made an excellent breakfast companion along with my daily bowl of oatmeal. I've added this to my regular rotation of baked goods -- it's divine!

  8. I made this over the weekend, and I decided to use smaller pans (around 7.5 x 3.5 or so) because I live in Colorado and sometimes my 9 x 5 pan doesn't bake in the middle. Somehow, I ended up with enough batter to make 3 small loaves! I took one to work today, and everyone pounced on it. Thanks for the great recipe!

  9. Amanda - You're welcome! I'm glad it worked out well for you using the smaller pans.



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