Thursday, February 13, 2014

Brilliant Banana Bread with Chocolate & Coconut

I am sure many can agree that this winter has been a beast. Snow, freezing rain, bitter temperatures.... more snow.... The Polar Vortex may have been a blessing to every school kid cheering for yet another snow day, but it has been miserable for the rest of us.

A bright spot amongst all of this cold: coming in from shoveling to a warm house perfumed by freshly baked banana bread with chocolate and coconut. Curling up by the fire under a cozy blanket with a still warm slice is a winter creature comfort I really enjoy. Really ripe bananas are combined with the warm flavors of chocolate, cinnamon, and vanilla. This bread is made more perfect with the addition of slightly sweetened flaked coconut in place of the traditional nuts. Don't get confused - this is most decidedly still a banana bread with chocolate, not a chocolate cake using banana.

This recipe for banana bread could easily pass as a rustic dessert, filling teatime snack, or a sweet breakfast. I made a loaf in the morning and by the early evening, there was only a smidgen left to snack on after dinner...It was that good!

Banana Bread with Chocolate & Coconut
yields 1 regular sized loaf

3 very ripe (pretty much black) large bananas, mashed
3 eggs
1/2 cup full fat greek yogurt or sour cream (I prefer the tartness of yogurt)
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons melted butter
3/4 cup white sugar
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Preheat your oven to 350F. Line a large bread pan with parchment paper. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cocoa together in a medium bowl. Make sure there aren't any clumps.
In a separate large sized bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla together until well combined. Beat in the melted butter gently. Add the bananas and yogurt (or sour cream) to the egg mixture and mix.
Combine the dry mix to the wet mix as well as the chocolate chips and coconut flakes. Gently fold until just combined. It's ok if there are small pockets of flour, but don't over mix or the bread will come out tough and dense!

Pour the batter into the lined bread pans. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until an inserted toothpick comes out of the bread cleanly without any batter stuck to it.

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