Double Chocolate Banana Bread

There's a certain comfort to making banana bread. Perhaps it's the pleasant aroma of banana that wafts throughout the house from the kitchen, where the bread is baking happily in the oven. Perhaps it's the pleasure of transforming a formerly undesirable overripe banana into a baked good like bread that is beloved by all...Or perhaps it's simply the thought of making a delicious treat to feast on in any occasion -- breakfast, snack, picnic, or dessert.

Maybe you've noticed that my presence on the blog has been a little less than abundant for the past couple of months, while Caroline has been making elegant Linzer Heart Cookies, the cutest Nutella Hand Pies, and resplendent cakes like the Mocha Chiffon Cake (that macaron topping is ridiculous). Don't worry, I should be baking regularly from now on.

To be honest, it hasn't been all that pretty these last two months. An unusual amount of extracurricular and academic pressures, paired with several changes of future plans, has made it difficult for me to find time or energy in between to bake.

Figure skating practices consistently 3 to 4 days a week, plus competitions every weekend for a month, all on top of daily classes/labs that extend as late into the night as 9 p.m...Long story short, I dropped my biology class, meaning that I am no longer a biology major, and I am doing summer school to make up for it instead of studying abroad in Chile this summer. All in the name of premed. Whee...! I might be crazy. (Or stubborn?)

Anyway, the winter quarter has come to a close, and spring break provided a refreshing change of scenery (I just went back home to spend time with family.) and a brief but lovely respite from all the go-go-go atmosphere of college. During that time, I made this Double Chocolate Banana Bread. To me, this bread has the comfort of a home and family. It's a reassurance that everything will be okay.

Deep, dark...almost soulful. And still soothing, aromatic (not like the benzene ring), and immensely satisfying. The chocolate flavor from the Dutch-processed cocoa powder is intense and fulfilling, yet it doesn't overwhelm the banana flavor. The two flavors are in delicate balance with each other. It's a timeless treat that I recommend to anyone who enjoys a good bread recipe.



Double Chocolate Banana Bread

From Smitten Kitchen | Yield: 1 loaf, 8 servings | Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

3 medium-to-large very ripe bananas
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 cup chocolate chips/chunks

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9 × 5-inch loaf pan by using non-stick spray or butter.

Mash bananas in a large bowl. Whisk in melted butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla. Add baking soda, salt, flour and cocoa powder (sifted, if needed). Stir by hand to combine. Then add in chocolate chips/chunks.

Pour into prepared pan and bake 50 - 60 minutes, or until a tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out batter-free. (Melted chocolate chip smear is okay.) Cool before running a knife around the edge and inverting it out onto a cooling rack. Serve & enjoy!

Storage: 4 days, wrapped in foil, at room temperature.