When you were a kid, did your parents ever tell you that TV would rot your brain? I can’t remember if mine did or not – does that mean my brain has already rotted? Either way, I watched more TV than I should have as a child, and (most days) my brain works alright.
A few years ago, I made the decision to go without a TV. Criticized by many and understood by few, it was the right thing for me at the time. Truthfully, I haven’t really missed it, with the exception of a few odd times. Besides, I always told myself that if I really wanted to watch TV, I could just go to the gym.
Let’s just say I haven’t watched much TV since my days of “Who’s The Boss?” and my gym membership has remained mostly unused since 2007.
The other day, I made a grave mistake: I plugged my TV into the wall, and – lo and behold – I have cable. Who knew?!?!
Naturally, I did what any good Martha-wannabe would do and I turned it to the Food Network. “Recipe for Riches” was on – have you heard of it? I hadn’t, but it is a reality show of sorts. Contestants were competing for the best cake in Canada, and the winner will have their product reproduced under the Presidents Choice Brand. They also win $25,00o in prize money, if you’re into that kind of thing.
One of the final 2 contestants made this cake called Banana Chocolate WOW cake, or something to that effect. It was a banana cake with a chocolate filling, and a white chocolate cream cheese icing. One of the judges commented that her cake was good because it wasn’t as dense as banana breads usually are (clearly, banana cake shouldn’t be as dense), and I’ll admit that while at the end of the episode neither she or the cake WOW’d me (or the judges; she lost so you can save yourself the hour it would take to watch the episode), it made me decide to share my version of banana bread with you sooner rather than later.
What are your thoughts on banana bread? Mine are that it is usually too dense, too greasy, too light, or not enough banana flavour. I know, I’m so fickle! Don’t you agree though? Many quick breads suffer from the same ailment, but many have not yet achieved the perfect flavour/texture balance.
Until now that is. Enter my new love – chocolate swirled peanut butter banana bread. Because really, isn’t everything better with peanut butter and chocolate?
Oil (canola or grapeseed), buttermilk, bananas, brown sugar, peanut butter (I like natural), vanilla, AP flour, WW flour, eggs, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, chocolate chips.
In a large bowl, mash 3 large bananas.
Add 3/4 c brown sugar, 1/3 c oil, 1/3 c buttermilk, 1/3 c peanut butter, 2 eggs, and 1.5 t vanilla, and beat until everything is well acquainted.
In a separate bowl, stir 1 c AP flour, 1 c ww flour, 3/4 t baking powder, 3/4 t baking soda, and 1/2 t salt together.
Stir the dry ingredients in by hand until everything is just barely incorporated.
No one will eat your banana bread if you don’t.
Wondering when the chocolate joins the party? Grab yourself about 1 c of batter in a separate bowl, and sift in 2 -3 T of cocoa powder.
That, my friends, is why we sift. Use a spoon to smoosh the cocoa pebbles (is that a cereal? I was deprived as a child so I’m not sure) through the sieve, then use the spoon to do a little QC on the batter.
But wait! There’s more:
In this instance, “more” refers to about 1/3 c of chocolate chunks. Did I measure? Ya right.
Stir the batter together, and set it aside.
Grease and flour 2 loaf pans (I doubled the recipe when I took pictures – this bread is in high demand – so please don’t stretch this 4 ways unless you have a hidden talent for multiplying banana bread), and pour about 2/3 of the regular batter in.
Dallop most of the chocolate batter on top…
Top it off with the rest of the regular batter, and whatever you left in the chocolate bowl. Unless of course you thought the rest of the chocolate batter was for sampling, in which case you go right ahead.
Gently swirl the two batters together. Make sure you use a clean skewer for each pan so the swirls are equally distinct.
Bake at 350-degrees for about 40-50 minutes. These babies took exactly 42 minutes in mine. Aren’t you proud Mom? I used a timer!
In the pan, they smell delicious.
But once I sliced into them?
To me, this is the quintessential banana bread – not too light, not too dense, hints of peanut butter, and a rich chocolate swirl.
Claimed by some to be the best banana bread they’ve ever had, all I can say is WOW.
(Note: Recipe adapted from the wonderful Julie.)