are we still making banana bread? asking for a friend
Home Movies Tuesday!
Hello and welcome to Home Movies Tuesday! If you’ve found your way over by some miracle but are not yet subscribed, here, let me help you with that:
Hello! Welcome to Home Movies. I’m away this week starting our shoot for CNN+ but that will not stop HOME MOVIES! Here’s one of my favorite recipes from Dining In, who turns *~FIVE~* this October! Thank you for the memories, Chocolate Banana Bread 🥲🍫🍌🍞.
Here’s Jane to tell you more about this recipe, and why you should still make it even though we are “definitely over” the banana bread phase of the pandemic, which simply will not end.
Honestly, I resent the idea of banana bread. Every time I open my freezer I see the very ripe and very sad bananas I put in there on a particularly optimistic day long, long ago, probably cheerfully thinking to myself, “I’ll make banana bread soon! Perfect!” Well, I didn’t, and it’s still weighing on me. Banana bread has been guilt tripping me for years!
If I’m making a banana-based dessert, it’s almost always going to be banana cream pudding, but you know what, this banana bread is good enough to make me feel excited by the idea of using up ripe bananas, instead of inexplicably overwhelmed. It’s rich, not too sweet, chocolatey, and most importantly IMO, actually has little jammy bits of banana laced throughout it, instead of just being a dense, vaguely banana-flavored loaf. It’s an ideal snacking cake for when you need a little slice of something sweet. The crunchy top and caramelized banana slices are my favorite part, good enough to make you forget you’re annoyed that you need a mixer to make this recipe. I’ll never let a bunch of ripe bananas waste away in my freezer again (holding myself accountable).
This banana bread is a wonderful place to start if you’re intimidated by baking like our friend and Home Movies director Dan. The ridiculous amount of bananas make it really forgiving, promise, plus this recipe will help novice-bakers learn a few fundamentals, like creaming butter and sugar properly and how to avoid overmixing. It’s a pretty simple recipe, so there aren’t a ton of swaps we would suggest, but here are some tips for banana bread success:
You want your bananas to be really ripe. We’re talking soft, brown, practically mushy.
Don’t crush them to a paste! Keep them on the chunkier side for those perfect jammy banana pockets.
You can easily use a handheld mixer if you don’t have a stand mixer. You’ll never quite get the same results if you mix by hand, but you will absolutely get an arm workout, and it will still turn out well.
When you’re mixing in the dries, always stop the mixer a little before everything is totally incorporated and finish mixing with a spatula by hand to prevent overmixing.
If you don’t have demerara sugar, you can use regular granulated–demerara just gives it that extra crunch, which is worthy of an extra trip to the store, IMO.
If you don’t have mascarpone, you could use full fat yogurt, sour cream, or labne.
Let it cool completely before eating! And FWIW, this keeps incredibly well. Stick half in your freezer for later, share some with a friend or neighbor, or keep it wrapped up on your counter all week and shave off a little slice every time you need a pick-me-up.
chocolate banana bread
makes one loaf
This version of banana bread is more cake than bread, and I wouldn’t be able to get away with saying “There’s banana in it, so it’s basically breakfast!” because no, this is not breakfast. This is a chocolatey, buttery, almost decadent thing and probably not appropriate for anyone to eat first thing in the morning. While mascarpone will give you the richest, moistest cake with the best flavor, sour cream or yogurt will get the job done; just make sure they are full-fat.
1/2 cup Demerara sugar (regular sugar will work, too)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
5 extremely ripe bananas, 4 coarsely mashed and 1 sliced lengthwise
1/2 cup (4 oz) mascarpone, full-fat sour cream, full-fat yogurt, or labne
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with a nonstick spray. Sugar the inside of the pan with 1/4 cup of the Demerara sugar (or regular sugar if you don’t have Demerara), tapping out any excess.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together; set aside.
3. Using an electric mixer and a separate medium bowl or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar, light brown sugar and vanilla on high speed until the mixture is super light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg. Beat until well combined and the mixture returns to that previously light, fluffy state, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients and beat just to blend. Using a spatula, fold in the mashed bananas, followed by the mascarpone, mixing just to blend.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top. Place the banana halves, cut-side up, on top of the batter. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Demerara sugar and bake until the sides start to pull away and the cake is baked through in the center (it’s a very dense, moist cake, but it should still spring back slightly when pressed in the center), about 90 to 100 minutes.
5. Let cool completely before slicing.