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Monday, June 18, 2012

Chocolate Striped Banana Bread

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Banana bread is in heavy rotation in our house – so much so that I can easily mix up a batch without even referring to a recipe. As a result I sometimes get bored and toss extra ingredients in – berries, ginger and the like – but then I recalled making a chocolate swirl banana bread years ago, and thought I’d give it another try. It’s easy to do – simply remove half the batter and stir 1/4 cup of cocoa into it – the two batters can then be swirled together or layered in quarters, creating a striped banana loaf kids love.

This is a great way to use up overripe bananas – simply toss them in the freezer whole, then thaw and squeeze directly out of their skins into the mixing bowl when you want to make banana bread.
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If you like, swap half the flour for whole wheat, or add a drizzle of flax oil for a boost of omega 3 fatty acids.
Chocolate Striped Banana Bread
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 very ripe bananas, mashed (you’ll need about 1 1/2 cups)
2 large eggs
1/3 cup plain yogurt, low fat sour cream or buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. cocoa
1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray an 8-x 4-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until well-combined – the mixture should have the consistency of wet sand. Add the banana, eggs, yogurt, and vanilla and beat until well-blended. Don’t worry about getting all the lumps of banana out.
Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and gently stir with a spatula until just combined. Transfer about half of the batter to another bowl and stir in the cocoa and chocolate chips.

Pour half of the plain batter into the prepared pan, then half of the chocolate batter, the rest of the plain and the rest of the chocolate, spreading gently after each. Bake in the middle of the oven for 1 hour, until the top is cracked and springy to the touch. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

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