How many times have you bought unripe bananas, only to have them freckled and fermenting before the end of the week? Ugh. I think the ”lemons to lemonade” saying should actually be, “when life hands you over-ripe bananas, make banana bread.”
This recipe is based on a traditional banana bread recipe my mama gave me years ago. The other night, with yet another bunch of over-ripe bananas on my hands, I thought I’d try something a little different: chocolate banana bread. You can also freeze bananas (remove the peel first), then thaw for later use. But if you have the time, it’s just as well to go ahead and make banana bread. This recipe makes one traditional (large) loaf, or 6 mini loafs. (Thanks LB for the mini loaf pan!)
I used several substitutions/alternate ingredients in my version. I’ll list them below in green.
-1/2 cup butter, margarine, butter flavoured Crisco, or coconut oil, softened Alt: 1/4 cup butter flavoured Crisco and 1/4 cup coconut oil
-1 1/3 cup sugar Alt: 1/3 cup sugar and 1 full teaspoon bulk Stevia powder – (NOT Truvia!)
-1/4 cup sour cream* (you could probably substitute apple sauce if you’re averse to dairy)
-2 TBS milk or rum
-1 tsp vanilla extract Alt: 1/4 tsp vanilla and 1/4 tsp almond extract
-1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
-1/4 cup cocoa
-1 1/2 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/4 tsp salt
-1-1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (anywhere from 2-4 bananas)
-1 1/2 cups (or so), chopped pecans (optional)
*I don’t exactly understand the science, but according to The Joy of Cooking, the lactic acid “makes for a tenderer crumb in baking”.
Pre-heat oven to 350°.
Cream butter and sugar (or equivalent substitutes) until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, sour cream, extract, milk/rum and mix.
Alternate mixing in bananas and flour until well mixed. (But try not to over mix.)
Stir in nuts.
Grease large or mini loaf pan, pour in batter, and bake for 1 hour 10 minutes for large loaf, or 20 minutes for mini loaf. Bread is done when inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and allow to cool completely. Or, slice immediately after removing from pan. (My husband especially likes to toast pieces in the toaster (or toaster oven-if you have one.) ( He also thinks it’s really good with peanut butter. But he’s a man, so he thinks everything is good with peanut butter, haha!)