Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Mocha Banana Bread: Recipe


I read recipes like a scientist would, imagining the results in my head. Like a scientist I also tweak the ingredients and techniques to come up with different results. I rarely follow recipes word for word anymore. Perhaps I'm a mad scientist since I start with solid recipes then I veer off in my own direction. I guess this also means my kitchen is really my lab.

Reader comments (that I find with recipes on the internet) allow me to be historian in addition to scientist, to see where things went well, where they didn't and make changes accordingly. The only problem is, I don't always know those making the comments well enough to trust their comments. Is it possible they didn't follow the directions? Do they have radically different tastes than my own? Who are these people passing judgment on someone else's recipes?

In looking to develop my own version of banana bread, I started with some cookbooks then moved on to the internet. I found that banana breads are fairly easy to make and recipes abound. Some are high in fat others practically fat-free. Some are dense, others cakey. Some are super sweet others less so.

"Try adding a shot of espresso to your banana bread or cake batter the next time. It really improves the flavor (if the combo sounds odd, remember that bananas and coffee beans are both tropical fruits!)"

That was the reader comment from fellow blogger and pastry chef, David Lebovitz that inspired this cake. Well, banana bread actually. If tropical flavors work well together why not throw in a few more? Namely vanilla and cocoa. The result is a mocha flavored banana bread. Perfect with a cup of cocoa or coffee. I hope you like it as much as I do!

Note: My other favorite comment was one that said not to mind the crack running down the bread, that's a sign the bread has baked properly.

Mocha Banana Bread
makes one loaf

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened (half a stick)
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed very ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons coffee or 3 Tablespoons water plus 1/4 teaspoon instant coffee
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, pecans, cocoa nibs or combination
Cooking spray

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk or sift if the cocoa is lumpy.

In a large bowl combine sugar and butter; beating with a mixer at medium speed until well creamed, at least two minutes. Add eggs and beat well. Add banana, vanilla, and coffee; beat on low speed until blended. Add flour mixture; combine just until moist. Stir in walnuts; spoon batter into a greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan.

Bake for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack before attempting to slice or bread will crumble.

Enjoy!

For more traditional banana bread recipes, check out
Simply Recipes Banana Bread
Bunnyfoot's Vegan Banana Bread

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