See, I love banana bread.
And I love the combination of peanut butter and banana.
And the combination of chocolate and peanut butter.
So a recipe for chocolate-peanut butter-banana bread just sorta screamed my name and yelled "HELLO?!?! Why haven't you tried me yet???"
And the fact that this recipe came from one of the food bloggers who has never ever let me down, well, I just had to.
The recipe has several components, so requires a little bit of coordination (not something in huge supply around here these days, what with a teething baby and out-of-school five year old...), but was very fun to put together.
The first step of the recipe is to make a basic chocolate syrup. The recipe says to use a rich, dark cocoa powder, so this was a great opportunity for me to try the black cocoa powder I'd recently purchased. Seriously dark cocoa powder.
The syrup was mixed and brought to a boil, then allowed to cool while the rest of the batter is prepared. Little miss really wanted to help stir the syrup. She knew the rules (no touching the pot, let mommy hold the pot's handle, if mommy asks you to step back, do it...), so I let her stir. It's hard for me to get used to the fact that my baby girl is big enough to be so involved in so many of my kitchen adventures. And always amazing to me how amazingly she does...
Anyway, once the syrup was moved to the back burner to cool, little miss helped me pull together the peanut butter banana bread batter. While I put together the base of the batter, creaming together peanut butter and butter, adding eggs and sifting together the dry ingredients, little miss mashed a couple of bananas and helped me mix them with sour cream and vanilla.
The banana mixture was added to the butter mixture, then the flour mixture was added in. Then came the chocolate chips. Oh yes, there are chocolate chips, too. And of course, little miss had to taste test them for me. The recipe calls for two thirds of a cup of chocolate chips. Honestly, I don't measure chocolate chips. I just add them until it looks right to me. Luckily, in our house, there is no such thing as too many chocolate chips, so this method works out really well.
About one third of the batter was scooped into a separate bowl and mixed with the reserved chocolate syrup. The syrup was still warm and melted the chocolate chips, creating a smooth, thin chocolate batter. See how dark that syrup is? That's that black cocoa. Seriously dark.
Next came the fun part.
Half of the banana peanut butter batter was spread into the loaf pan, then half of the chocolate batter. Then, using a spoon, I scooped and swirled the two carefully and gently together. Then repeated the process with the second half of both the banana peanut butter batter and the chocolate better. Little miss wanted to help, but, well, honestly, I was making enough of a mess all on my own with this part, so she agreed to supervise and let me know when the marbling looked done.
This smelled delicious baking, which is good (well, for many reasons...), as this loaf actually bakes for quite a long time. It was out of the oven and cooled just in time to be our snack that afternoon. I love the look of the marbled bread, and the flavor combination was delicious. The dark cocoa almost made the bread look burned, but made for a very cool swirl. The loaf ended up with a thicker crust than I'd expected, but otherwise was really delicious. I will definitely be keeping this recipe.
Chocolate-Swirled Peanut Butter Banana Bread
(from Shauna Sever)
For the chocolate syrup:
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder (the darker the better)
1/4 cup hot water
1/3 cup agave nectar or light corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
For the batter:
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
4 teaspoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 large)
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips
Position a rack to the lower third of the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees. Spray a 9" x 5" loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and line it with a strip of parchment paper or foil about eight inches wide to create a "sleeve" of sorts that will make removing the loaf from the pan much easier later.
To make the chocolate syrup, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, hot water, agave nectar (or corn syrup) and salt in a pot. Set the pot over high heat and bring the syrup just to a simmer, stirring occasionally until the syrup is smooth. Remove the pot from the heat and set it aside for the syrup to cool.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour baking soda and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the peanut butter and butter on medium speed until creamy. Add the sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, making sure to scrape down the bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together the mashed bananas, sour cream and vanilla, then beat that mixture into the butter mixture.
Reduce the mixer to low speed and stir in the dry ingredients until just combined. When just a few streaks of flour remain, stop the mixer and add in the chocolate chips. Fold the batter with a spatula until everything is incorporated.
Transfer about a third of the batter (at most) to a medium bowl and add the cooled chocolate syrup. Stir until well blended.
Spread half of the banana batter into the bottom of the prepared pan. Top with half of the chocolate batter. Use a spoon or knife to swirl. Repeat this with the second half of both batters.
Bake the loaf for about 75 - 85 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean but not dry (a few moist crumbs is ideal). Let the loaf cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 15 minutes before removing it from the pan to the wire rack to cool completely.