Sometimes the best-laid plans go awry. You set out to make a classic banana bread, methodically measuring your flour and sugar. You thoughtfully soften your butter ahead of time (oh wait, it's summertime in New York and nearly 110% humidity outside, so you actually just take it out of the fridge and minutes later it's soft but listen, you give yourself credit anyway). You triumphantly dig out the last of the frozen bananas from the freezer, thinking it's high time they got used for something, and you've been extra-creative with your smoothies lately so the frozen bananas have been relegated to a corner underneath the peas and chocolate chips.
(Side note: I was in a real groove of making a banana + almond milk + almond butter + cardamom smoothie for awhile, but now I'm into this whole mint + cacao nib + spinach + date situation. Just so you're fully apprised of where we all stand, smoothie-wise, at the moment.)
But then, THEN, THEN! You reach casually into the fridge for the eggs. Drumroll, please...
Reader, there are no eggs. Okay, cool. The batter is half-mixed in your stand mixer. The bananas have defrosted. Your oven is on (and when you turn the oven on in the summer in New York, you're committed. You're baking. There's no turning back!).
You rummage quickly around the cabinets for some flaxseed meal, as surely there must be some lurking back there right? After all, this is the kitchen of a woman who has potato flour, teff flour, millet flour, and at least 5 types of salt. But no flaxseed, so you can't pull the vegan egg magic trick.
A little internet research yields some suspect-looking eggless banana bread recipes. There are some okay-sounding vegan ones out there, but you've already creamed together your butter and sugar!
You forge ahead and decide to just use your wits and create the recipe in a way that seems the most balanced, incorporating enough essentials (baking soda for leavening, etc.) and hope for the best.
In this case, the best is even better than ever before. Seriously, this might be the top banana bread to come out of my oven. (Another contender is my old favorite from Molly Wizenberg, which uses no butter or oil, but sports a crackly cinnamon sugar crust.)
This banana bread is almost indecently fudgy. This is partly due to all the bananas in the batter, and also partly due to the fact that in my panic about the botched egg planning, I threw in A LOT OF CHOCOLATE at the end as a sort of safety measure. Because worst case, I'd have a melty chocolate loaf on my hands, and that can't be bad.
Banana bread has no business being so darn good. But there you have it: a loaf that's rather wholesome (antioxidants! fruit!) and yet would give any triple layer chocolate cake in the world a run for its money.
CHOCOLATE BANANA BREAD
Makes 1 loaf
5 ounces unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 medium ripe bananas, mashed well
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil (or coconut oil)
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (I used half milk and half bittersweet)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan.
In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the bananas and vanilla extract and mix well.
Add the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Mix to just combine, then add the vegetable oil and mix til the batter comes together.
Fold in the chocolate chips and pour the batter into your prepared pan. Bake for 50 minutes (start checking around 45) or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Don't overbake! It's better when it's fudgy.
Let cool completely before slicing. This cake freezes very well, should you find yourself with leftovers.