My grandmother, in her years of low-cholesterol dieting, used to make bran muffins with chopped plums and mini chocolate chips that were so good I could (and would) eat at least three in a sitting.  I’m pretty sure I consumed my RLA (Recommended Lifetime Allowance) of fiber between the ages of 8 and 14.  So if the combination of whole wheat flour and chocolate seems a little odd to you, believe me, it’s not.

My recipe is not the fiber bomb that Grandma’s was, but I think she would approve.  Not overly sweet and just wholesome enough, this banana bread is dynamite with a cup of strong, black coffee.

Banana bread with dark chocolate

Yield:  Makes one 9×5″ loaf, three 6×3″ loaves, or 12 muffins

1 1/3 c. unbleached, all-purpose flour

2/3 c. whole wheat flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. fine sea salt

1 1/2 c. mashed, very ripe banana (3-4, depending on size)

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. safflower or canola oil

1/2 c. chopped dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Lightly oil baking pan.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  In a separate bowl, whisk together banana, sugar, and oil.  Using a rubber spatula, fold banana mixture into dry ingredients until just combined.  Fold in chocolate.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in center of oven, about 55 minutes for a large loaf, 35 minutes for small loaves, or 20 minutes for muffins, or until tops are nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.  Let cool briefly in pan, then remove to a wire rack.  Cool completely before slicing (if willpower permits).

Slice and freeze what you won’t eat in a couple of days.  I heat frozen slices right in the toaster — slightly crunchy and a little melty, it’s even better than fresh.

Variations: Omit the chocolate (but only if you MUST), or instead use up to 3/4 c. chocolate chips (Enjoy Life chips are the food allergy-friendly gold standard), chopped nuts, dried fruit, or any combination of the above.

Substitute 1 1/2 c. pureed winter squash (or use a 15 oz. can of pumpkin) for the banana and replace the cinnamon with 1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice.  Or try 1 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce and use chopped pecans instead of chocolate.

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