50 In Desserts/ Recipes

Chocolate Banana Bread

Chocolate Banana Bread | A Couple CooksChocolate Banana Bread | A Couple Cooks

In honor of the upcoming holiday that celebrates sugar, here it is: a recipe with flour, sugar, and butter. Unlike our normal habit, we didn’t try to make it gluten-free or naturally sweet. It’s lightly adapted from Deb at Smitten Kitchen, though admittedly we did health-ify it a bit by adding a walnut topping and removing the chocolate chips. What results is a lightly-sweet, moist, dark chocolate-y bread that should definitely be consumed as a dessert. We tried it with a bit of maple mascarpone and it was delightful. And if you’re looking for decadence, chocolate chips would be divine.

We made this recipe before I decided to spend the last week fasting from sugar. Yes, fasting from sugar. Even as a self-proclaimed healthy eating advocate, I was finding ways to slip in sweets every day: chocolate in the evening, drowning my oatmeal in maple syrup. Though much of it was natural sugar, I realized I was becoming a bit too dependent on the sweet stuff to get me through the day, rationalizing that I had a long day at the office and deserved it.

Last week, I ate only vegetables and whole grains. Here’s what surprised me: #1. The food was delicious, and I did not feel like I was depriving myself. Once I was in the “cold turkey” mindset, I didn’t keep running back to the chocolate drawer (yes, I have one — err, had one). #2. I now feel great, lighter somehow, and less dependent on my fix.

This is not a rant to convince you to go on a sugar fast. In general, Alex and I focus less on deprivation and more on moderation, which we find helps us eat the way we want without becoming legalistic and setting ourselves up for failure. But all that moderation is a slippery slope. For me, one piece of chocolate per night was becoming two,three, four pieces of chocolate, with various other random snacks thrown in. It was constant, and I couldn’t shake it.

There’s research out there about sugar being an addictive substance. I used to find it a little sensational, but I’ve realized maybe my “moderate” relationship with sugar was becoming a little too friendly. I’m not planning to set up new rules for the future, but cleanse has definitely given me a new perspective.

So it’s a bit ironic, but here’s a sweet recipe…after a week without sweets!

How about you – what are your thoughts on sugar?

Chocolate Banana Bread
 
For a more decadent bread, add 1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips to the batter before baking. However, we found the bread to be lightly sweet and rich enough without the chocolate chips.
by:
Serves: 1 loaf
What You Need
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 3 to 4 very ripe bananas (1 cup total)
  • ½ cup butter
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
What To Do
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
  2. Chop ½ cup walnuts.
  3. Mash 3 to 4 bananas in the bottom of a large bowl, enough for 1 cup. Melt ½ cup butter, then whisk it into the bananas along with ¾ cup brown sugar, 1 egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  4. Add 1 teaspoon baking soda, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, 1 cup all-purpose flour, and
  5. /2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder to the bowl and stir together with a spoon.
  6. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and top with chopped walnuts.
  7. Bake 55 to 65 minutes, until a tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and invert it onto a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. The bread keeps up to 4 days at room temperature wrapped in foil.
Notes
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

 

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50 Comments

  • Reply
    dani @theloveofvanilla
    October 29, 2014 at 2:43 am

    My thoughts on sugar… I need to make this recipe ASAP! OMG YUM!
    and the nut topping looks sooo good… hmmm I have a little time off lately so maybe this is on the cards for tomorrow :)

  • Reply
    Margot
    October 29, 2014 at 4:09 am

    O my god!! This looks amazing. I will make this, as soon as I can.

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    October 29, 2014 at 7:04 am

    I made Deb’s bread a while ago and I loooooooved it! Definitely need to try this version. The walnuts on top make it so pretty!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      October 31, 2014 at 3:35 pm

      Thanks so much, Katrina!

  • Reply
    Sharlynn Ng
    October 29, 2014 at 7:24 am

    This recipe looks and sounds amazing! I would totally love to try this out! I love love banana muffins/breads so I really will try this out soon!

  • Reply
    Lucie
    October 29, 2014 at 8:48 am

    This looks super yummy. I will definitely have to try this. Wow looks divine! I just posted a new blog post of Buckwheat pancakes, please give them a go! Whole grain and gluten free, aka stacks to heaven. I serve them layered with Greek yoghurt and berries. http://juicyluciefoods.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Reply
    Abby @ The Frosted Vegan
    October 29, 2014 at 9:04 am

    I completely agree, about sugar! I had been avoiding processed sugar for some time and dove into a bag of small candy bars my finace bought for our (nonexistent) trick or treaters. Wooo man, that sugar gives a rush when you haven’t had it for a while! But, that being said, sometimes you just need a loaf of banana bread, right? : )

    • Reply
      Sonja
      October 31, 2014 at 3:38 pm

      Agreed about the sugar rush – and it tastes so much stronger too after a while without it, doesn’t it? Yes, banana bread hopefully isn’t the strongest of offenders in the sugar camp :)

  • Reply
    Liz @ Floating Kitchen
    October 29, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Gorgeous looking bread! Drooling over here! I definitely notice if I lay off the sugar for a while, then I want it less. Once I start popping little chocolates in my mouth, it’s hard to stop. In fact, I think I would probably inhale this entire loaf of bread!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      October 31, 2014 at 3:39 pm

      I completely agree! I’m enjoying being off of that slippery slope – for now, at least!

  • Reply
    Kathryn
    October 29, 2014 at 10:20 am

    I think I need to do one of those sugar fasts too – I’ve noticed a similar creeping pattern in my eating habits too and it’s always good to hit the reset button every now and then.

    • Reply
      Sonja
      October 31, 2014 at 3:40 pm

      I love the idea of a reset button – that’s exactly it! It’s kind of scary (I didn’t think I could do it), but ultimately worth it! Let us know if you give if a try…

  • Reply
    Emily | Gather & Dine
    October 29, 2014 at 10:47 am

    I am with you on eating in moderation. Sometimes it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking as long as it’s sweetly naturally, then a lot is okay. I always have to remind myself that even natural sugars need to be eaten in moderation!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      October 31, 2014 at 3:42 pm

      Yes! I used to use the excuse that it was just honey or maple syrup, but Alex reminded me that it’s still sugar!

  • Reply
    Ale
    October 29, 2014 at 11:47 am

    Looks amazing!

  • Reply
    Katie @ Whole Nourishment
    October 29, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Oh gosh, you just hit the nail on the head. I agree, it’s not about deprivation but sugar is a hard nut to crack, so much so that I’m giving a workshop on sugar cravings soon. ;-) Recently did a gentle Autumn cleanse and had similar results as you Sonja. Once we realize we’re dependent on the sweet taste, then find a way to stop the vicious cycle like through a cleanse, we actually do end up craving less but feeling as satisfied. Sugar is in fact a drug, our brain responds to it in a similar way as it would cocaine. :/ Love this chocolate spin on banana bread, I don’t think anyone should go without a good banana bread recipe!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      October 31, 2014 at 3:45 pm

      How fun about your workshop! We’d love to hear how it goes and how people resonate. I’d heard about sugar being like cocaine – which I think is easy to rationalize away if you’ve never been “off” sugar! I’m much more aware of its effects now.

  • Reply
    Susan
    October 29, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    I think sugar is definitely addictive. I realize this is totally anecdotal, but on days when someone brings a treat in to work and I have a piece, I am practically salivating waiting for my next break and hoping there’s still some left for me to have more (please tell me I’m not the only one who does this). I’ve never tried a sugar fast because I am a strong proponent of all things in moderation, but I do like the idea of taking a week-long break just to remind oneself that you are not subservient to sugar and can get along great without it, thank you very much.

    • Reply
      Sonja
      October 31, 2014 at 3:48 pm

      No, you are not alone in salivating for treat seconds at work! I used to wonder if I was alone in that struggle too :) Let us know if you decide to take a sugar break!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Show Me the Yummy
    October 29, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    This looks so decadent! Even without the chocolate chips. Thoughts on sugar? My husband and I just watched the documentary with Katie Couric called Fed Up and it’s scary how much sugar there is everything! Although, I admit, I DO have a huge sweet tooth, but I try to live a mostly healthy life style!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      October 31, 2014 at 3:49 pm

      Interesting – we’ll have to check this documentary out! Thanks for mentioning.

  • Reply
    Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth
    October 29, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Banana and chocolate — my two favorite food groups! Can’t wait to dive in!

  • Reply
    sara forte
    October 29, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    looks so good! I was just looking for a new breakfast bread to try and this looks just right. Sugar is a tough one. I can always do my best with less, but never none, it is a little addictive unfortunately!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      October 31, 2014 at 3:50 pm

      Thank you so much, Sara! Let us know if you try it out :)

  • Reply
    dana
    October 29, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    Hubba hubba. This bread looks DELICIOUS and kind of perfect. Lovely photos, guys!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      October 31, 2014 at 3:50 pm

      Thank you so much, Dana!

  • Reply
    Mirta
    October 29, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    Usually I cook traditional banana bread , this version I love chocolate , I will try cocinarlo.Saludos from Uruguay

  • Reply
    Amy
    October 30, 2014 at 12:15 am

    You know, I went Paleo for a time. Best thing I ever did because I was able to isolate gluten as a huge issue. Regarding sugar though, I’ve made a few determinations. The addiction factor I think rests largely on the type of sugar/carb. Everything in moderation the saying goes, but I think those things that are more processed are where the real addictions lie. Maybe this is just true for me individually. I have found keeping it natural is much easier to control.

    • Reply
      Sonja
      October 31, 2014 at 3:53 pm

      Interesting! I think I would agree too – though even natural was hard for me to control! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Nina
    October 30, 2014 at 6:32 am

    I was going to say that I don’t have problems with sugar because I don’t eat candy, rarely add sugar to my desserts (when I have some), and I avoid buying chocolate or biscuits so that I have no temptation.

    But then I thought about my recent sugar cravings when I come home after work, or after dinner. And then I realised that in these moments I snack on the leftovers of Easter chocolates that are in my bedroom (bc my family offered me a ton and I still have some left!) It’s not always like this though, sometimes I have no cravings at all (that’s also why there’s still Easter chocolates around, sometimes I spend entire weeks without even thinking about them) but at the moment, I’m in a major chocolate craving time.

    Oh and lastly, I have been having hot chocolate at work a few times around 10 am because I am hungry and falling asleep and I feel that my brain needs sugar (I have a hard time taking a breakfast when I wake up recently because I don’t feel hungry, but a few hours later I feel I need energy!). Plus, I have been baking more often recently, so that I could have a piece of cake for breakfast (I like to think that I baked quite healthy cakes without too much butter, with fruits and no frosting or chocolate or cream, but I haven’t been thinking about the sugar in them), but sometimes I find myself having a piece of it for dessert too, or as a snack. Well, actually I’ve been having a piece of grape cornbread everydaysince Sunday… Also, there’s some great tea houses in my town that I visit almost weekly recently…

    So I guess that I should try that sugar break too! I don’t feel like I am addicted to sugar and NEED to have some, but when there’s temptation around it seems that I can’t resist it recently. Gonna work on that, thank you for helping me realise it! However, it is important not to demonize sugar as it is needed by our brain to work properly! You probably read it but there was an interesting article about sugar on Oh My Veggies (http://ohmyveggies.com/healthy-or-hype-7-sugar-myths-debunked/). As you always say, moderation is the key!

    • Reply
      Nina
      October 30, 2014 at 6:35 am

      But OHMYGOSH your cake looks awesome so it’s not helping me to go on a sugar break! I want to bake it for next week’s breakfasts! (and desserts and snacks, obviously…)

    • Reply
      Sonja
      October 31, 2014 at 3:59 pm

      This is a great article – thanks for mentioning it! Let us know if you try a little break and how it goes!

  • Reply
    Laura
    October 30, 2014 at 9:01 am

    We have a chocolate drawer too. It blows me away how many foods get added sweetness in this house–the breakfast porridge, the smoothies, salad dressings! Basically everything. I always say it’s in the name of flavor balance, but I know I can do without most times. Sugar is hard to quit and I definitely commend you for going a week without it. But this banana bread! So good with chocolate! :)

    • Reply
      Sonja
      October 31, 2014 at 4:00 pm

      Haha, glad to know I’m not the only one who’s had a secret stash!

  • Reply
    Jessi
    October 30, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    This looks so yummy, I have also been trying to cut back on sugar lately, so chocolate bread sounds amazing o.o! I would probably eat the whole thing.

  • Reply
    Terry Covington
    October 30, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Can I come live at your house and have you feed me? :-) Seriously, I am going to make this recipe the next time I go to my mom’s house, and we will enjoy it! Thanks.

    • Reply
      Sonja
      October 31, 2014 at 4:01 pm

      Haha, of course – come on over! :) Hope you enjoy the recipe!

  • Reply
    Kimberly/TheLittlePantation
    October 30, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    I definitely have a bit of a love hate relationship with sugar. Currently more hate than love, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a super good looking ‘bread’ like this one ;)
    Thanks so much for sharing this amazing recipe.

    • Reply
      Sonja
      October 31, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      You are so welcome!

  • Reply
    Breena
    October 31, 2014 at 7:40 am

    This looks devine! Sugar is my enemy and I’m completely addicted- I like to call it like it is. I treat it like a god and just recently tried cold turkey and failed.
    Most of my family, and extended family are addicted to sugar as well. A difficult one to escape.
    His mercies are new every morning❤️

    Bree

  • Reply
    Mattie
    November 3, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    I have been getting in a bad habit of sugar treats through out the day as well; I will have chocolate after dinner or while sitting at my desk at work. It adds up. Doing a sugar fast sounds intriguing. Did you just eat veggies and whole grains? Or did you allow dairy too?

    • Reply
      Sonja
      November 3, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      Hi Mattie, great question! I didn’t follow any standard cleanses at all – I just made up what I wanted it to be, which was a fast from refined sugar: all desserts, chocolate, etc. I did not cut out natural sugars like fruit, but I ate them pretty sparingly but only because I’m not a huge fruit person :) I did allow dairy but also kept it occasional for that week, mainly just the milk in my coffee. I had made a big lentil shepherd’s pie over the weekend and basically ate that all week long. None of it was scientific – just my own preference for how I wanted to structure it! I came out feeling really great and not having the cravings / snacking compulsion I had towards sweets previously.

  • Reply
    Martina
    November 3, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    is it possible to substitute the Dutch-process cocoa powder with regular cocoa powder?

    • Reply
      Sonja
      November 3, 2014 at 6:13 pm

      Hi Martina! I would use the Dutch-process cocoa powder if you could find it; it makes the bread have a rich color and a dark, chocolate-y taste. I’ve compared the two and there is really no substitute for Dutch-process cocoa. It would be a different bread without it, but you could try it if you liked!

  • Reply
    Lissa @ The Flourishing Baker
    November 3, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    This looks amazing! I wish that I could convince myself to go on a sugar fast. :)
    Ah, it’s not that bad. Since starting my blog, I have actually felt as if I don’t need the sugar as much. Your website helps keep everything in check with all the delicious healthy-ness that’s all around.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Laura
    November 4, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Made this last night. Huge win in our house. Thanks for a different spin. Will definitely make again.

  • Reply
    Nick
    November 11, 2014 at 9:08 am

    I took this to a dinner last night and we couldn’t stop eating it (so much for moderation)! I even caught my kids reaching onto the counter and sneaking off with handfuls of it! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Laura
    November 15, 2014 at 11:44 am

    This article says:
    Dutch processed Cocoa powder should be used with baking powder
    Natural cocoa powder is normally used with baking soda

    This recipe mixes the opposite… any reason why?

    http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/08/difference-dutch-process-natural-cocoa-powder-substitute.html

  • Reply
    Jen
    November 19, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    Just made these cookies and they are great. Not too sweet, just right.

  • Reply
    Elizabeth
    April 20, 2015 at 11:21 am

    Wow! These actually left me speechless at how amazing they are! I made mine in a muffin tin instead of a loaf pan. It really tastes just like a chocolate cupcake! (in fact I’ll be making these for my birthday in a few weeks and topping them w/chocolate peanut butter frosting) I subbed the sugar for 1/2 c maple syrup, oat flour for the all-purpose flour and swapped out half the butter for 3 tbsp. applesauce and they still came out beautifully!

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