Chocolate banana bread for any occasion

Jillian Wertheim/Senior Staff

Jillian Wertheim/File

Jillian Wertheim/Senior Staff

Jillian Wertheim/Senior Staff

Jillian Wertheim/Senior Staff

Jillian Wertheim/Senior Staff

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Few things in this world are better than some warm banana bread, fresh out of the oven. It’s essentially cake that can be eaten in the morning with no questions asked or eyebrows raised, and who doesn’t love that?

This recipe yields a loaf of banana bread that is moist and delicious and has well-balanced flavors (read: it’s not overwhelmingly banana-y). Purists can leave out the chocolate and nuts, but these optional extras do really transform the bread from a rather traditional dish to something quite gourmet. Make it for special occasions, brunch invitations or anytime breakfast needs a little upgrade.

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large/3 small bananas (ripe)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 ½ tablespoons plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
½ cup chocolate chips and/or chopped nuts (optional, but highly recommended)

Begin by buttering a 8-by-6-by-2-inch loaf pan and preheating the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a small bowl, mash the bananas together — a fork works just fine for this.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars together until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat well after each addition. Pour in the mashed bananas and the vanilla extract, and mix until fully combined.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt until they are thoroughly blended. In roughly half-cup increments, add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, stirring well after each addition. Fold in the Greek yogurt and then any nuts, chocolate chips or other extras you so desire. Mix until blended then pour into prepared pans and bake on the middle oven rack for 55-65 minutes. (Extra batter can be used to make miniature loaves or muffins; adjust baking time accordingly.)

Use a toothpick to check if the bread has fully cooked — the toothpick will come out clean when the bread is done — then set aside to cool for 10 to 20 minutes. Slice and serve warm with butter, cream cheese or your favorite topping.

Contact Jillian Wertheim at [email protected].