Call it the dining hall blues, but every time I return to school after a trip home, I wish for a kitchen in which I can whip up my own meals. I’m grateful, of course, for the convenience and variety of my meal plan selections, but after a long day of classes and activities, my heart sometimes longs for a serving of homemade mac-and-cheese or a chocolate chip cookie fresh from the oven. I suppose my cravings speak to the power of comfort food and its ability to transport and soothe simultaneously.
For a prime example of such dishes, one can do no better than a loaf of banana bread — except, perhaps, by adding a bit of chocolate! When I saw this rich rendition of the household favorite, I knew instantly that I’d need to make it for myself. The recipe delivered: the bread is decadent, fudgy, and flavorful. It’s, in short, comfort food at its finest, a recipe that could easily make a sweet surprise for a friend. With all this said, it’s no wonder that today, as my sister recently informed me, is National Banana Bread Day. A dessert this beloved deserves a holiday to itself.
As always, some kitchen notes to keep in mind. First, you can keep this in the fridge (my family simply heats up slices in the microwave), but I find it best enjoyed the day it’s made. Second, you’re free to skip the sliced banana on top if you fear too sunken of a bread, but I love the look – and taste! – of it. And finally, I haven’t tried this with chocolate chips, but I imagine it would be an utter delight. If you’re feeling adventurous and try it out, I’d love to hear how it goes.
Fudgy Banana Bread Adapted from Alison Roman’s Dining In (via A Cup of Jo)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar, separated
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (alternatively, use 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour)
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup butter
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 egg
- 5 ripe bananas, four mashed and one sliced in half lengthwise
- 1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray or grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan, then sprinkle the pan with 1/4 cup granulated sugar so it is coated. Tap out excess sugar.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla for 3-5 minutes. Mixture will be light.
- Add the egg, and beat two minutes more.
- Slowly stir in the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Mix in the mashed bananas and sour cream by hand.
- Pour batter into prepared pan. Place the banana halves, cut side up, on top. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar on top.
- Bake for 90-100 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (save for a few moist crumbs).
- Let cool before slicing, and enjoy!
Have a lovely Friday!