During the pandemic, we’ve been honing our yeast bread skills at the café –– from sandwich loaves to braided challah. It’s all been fascinating, but last weekend I was craving a fast, simple quick bread that could double as breakfast and dessert.
With some large, very ripe bananas at hand, I decided to go with banana bread and kick up the flavor and texture with dark cocoa and chopped pecans. The recipe turned out so well, I had to share it.
This bread is ultra chocolaty, moist and decadent. It’s also “healthyish,” as Bon Appetit magazine might say, with its attention to healthy ingredients.
Chocolate Pecan Banana Bread
¾ cup white whole wheat flour
½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¾ – 1 cup mashed, very ripe banana (about 2 medium-size bananas)
½ cup sugar
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup reduced-fat coconut milk
½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup raw pecans, coarsely chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil or butter a 5 x 9-inch loaf pan. Add lemon juice to coconut milk and set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Set aside.
3. In a small mixing bowl, combine the mashed banana, eggs, olive oil, sugar, coconut milk, and the vanilla and almond extracts. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.
4. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and stir just until all the ingredients are blended. Add a bit more milk, if needed, to moisten flour mixture completely.
5. Fold the chopped pecans into the batter, and spoon batter into the prepared pan.
6. Bake until a pastry tester inserted in center of the bread comes out clean: 45 to 50 minutes. Note: This bread takes longer to bake than other quick breads I make – it took about 47 minutes in my oven. After 25 minutes, the tester came out gooey, and I tented the bread with foil to keep the top from browning too much as it continued baking.
7. Run a knife gently around the sides to loosen bread from pan, transfer it to a wire rack, and let it cool for an hour before slicing.
Serve and savor!
We loved this bread with whipped cream cheese and orange marmalade for breakfast, and with fresh strawberries and tangerines for dessert. Let me know if you give it a try.
© Copyright M. Vincent 2021. Recipe and photos copyright M. Vincent 2021.