What I thought was a structural flaw in the Bakers Illustrated tour and a shameful omission turned out not to be a problem at all. I just had to keep reading. There are three appealing variations on Banana Bread, one with Chocolate, one with coconut and macadamia nuts, and one with orange-spice. Why not just lose the banana what with all this other good stuff?
This is one of the great privileges of cooking, and I forget this often with my analness, that in recipes you can simply ignore things you don’t like (sometimes); it’s not like bananas get hurt feelings for being left out!
Banana Chocolate Bread (no banana)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
10 tablespoons white sugar
½ cup (heaping) bittersweet chocolate
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 very ripe, soft, darkly speckled large bananas, mashed well (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for the pan
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350°F (175°C) degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan. Dust the pan with flour, tapping out the excess.
2. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
3. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt, together in a large bowl.
4. Mix the yogurt, eggs, butter, and vanilla with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl. Lightly fold the banana mixture into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combined and the batter looks thick and chunky. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
5. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Meh, I’d give it 3 stars. The dough was impossibly sticky, but it wasn’t until I had already mixed all of the ingredients that I considered how the lack of banana would leave me with a deficit of moisture. I added maybe ¼ cup of milk. Surprisingly, though it went into the pan like desiccated peanut butter it came out of the oven like a normal loaf of bread, and of what I know of banana bread, the loaf at least looked the part! The taste is unremarkable, even with the chocolate. When I told KP what I was up to, he said So you’re making chocolate cake? Definitely tastes more bready than cake, and it isn’t hardly sweet. Good with espresso, but not good good. Turns out, I don’t even like banana bread without the bananas. So now I have two excuses.
While I was mixing and KP was grating bittersweet chocolate with a mini-grater he got for Christmas, we were watching You and Me and Everyone We Know, this weird Indy film set in Portland that Roger Ebert said was one of the ten best films ever made…I have to say, the non-banana banana bread was better than that weird movie. I would give it a meh and will limit my tasters to n=2.