Tag Archives: peanut butter

Chocolate Swirled Peanut Butter Banana Bread

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.)

Peanut Butter Bars

Of all of the beautiful partnerships in the world, could there be anything more perfect than peanut butter and chocolate?  I think not!  As in any good relationship, both chocolate and peanut butter can stand firmly on their own merits, but when put together, true magic happens.   Whether its freshly ground dark chocolate peanut butter at Whole Foods, a grilled peanut butter and chocolate sandwich, or Moose Tracks ice cream on a hot summer day, I love me some chocolate and peanut butter in just about any form!

Of course, no conversation regarding peanut butter and chocolate is compete without paying homage to good ol’ Reese’s.  If I don’t feel like baking (yes, it happens), I seek out alternative sources to fulfill my cravings. I have never been disappointed when I rip into that tell-tale orange wrapper and sink my teeth into that creamy peanut butter filling that is tenderly enclosed in rich milk chocolate…but I have been too lazy to go to the store to buy one when nothing else will satisfy.  Since I know that a craving as strong as this one just doesn’t disappear on its own, I did what any good sugar addict Modern Day Martha would do: I figured out how to make them myself, only in bar form because its easier and that means less time in between construction and consumption.

Step #1: Measure out 1 c each of graham cracker crumbs and icing sugar – artwork optional.

Step #2: Melt 1/2 c butter and 1/2 c peanut butter, and take the blurriest picture known to blog readers on the wrong camera setting.

Step 3: Mix them together.  I feel like a yenta – I’m making connections between soul mates!

Step #4: Press the mixture into a pan that’s been lined with parchment paper, unless you enjoy making your life more complicated than necessary.

Step #5: Melt some chocolate chips (I used about a cup of semi-sweet, but you could use milk chocolate if you want to) and a few tablespoons of peanut butter in the same pan that you melted the butter and peanut butter in earlier. Once again, only wash/use a new pan if you enjoy delaying the amount of time it will be until you can eat a bar. Or five.

Step #6: Taste a bit of the chocolate for quality control purposes, and then spread it on top of the bars.

Step #7: Stick the whole pan in your fridge, and forget about it for 2 days.

HA! You didn’t believe me on that last step, did you?!?!

Or…once they’ve chilled and the chocolate has hardened, let the bars sit on the counter for about 30 minutes before attempting to cut. I know, it’s weird to tell you to put them in the fridge so the chocolate hardens and then take them out of the fridge so its soft again, but you’re just going to have to trust me.  I know I’m difficult to deal with sometimes, but trust is the foundation for any good relationship.

Step #8: Eat as many as you can handle in a 24-hr period, and then feed the rest to your friends and co-workers once you realize that you shouldn’t be left alone with something this delicious.  Hey, its either their diets being sabotaged or mine!

Step #9: Fall in love all over again.