Chocolate Banana Bread

Banana bread is usually something to eat for breakfast (or, let’s be honest, something to cut a tiny slice from every time you walk through the kitchen). But this one is so decadent, you could really top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and call it dessert. Chocolate chips and cocoa powder give it deep chocolate flavor, and sour cream makes it rich, tender and ultra-moist.

Chocolate Banana Bread
makes 1 9x5-inch loaf

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled off with knife
1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed), such as Hershey's
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas, from 2-3 brown bananas
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (best quality, such as Guittard or Ghirardelli)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray or butter.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk until there are no more lumps in the cocoa powder and mixture is well combined. Set aside.

In a large bowl or electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, incorporating well after each addition. Add dry ingredients and beat gently until just combined. Add bananas, sour cream and vanilla and mix on low speed to combine. Fold in chocolate chips. Do not overmix.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let rest in pan for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack to cool completely.

Note: There are two types of unsweetened cocoa powder: natural and Dutch-processed. Dutch-processed will not work in this recipe. Natural unsweetened cocoa powder is very easy to find and gives this bread a deep chocolate flavor.

Jennifer Segal is the founder and publisher of Once Upon a Chef, a cooking blog featuring easy and elegant recipes. Before launching her blog, Jennifer earned her culinary stripes working front and back of the house at some of DC's top fine dining restaurants, including L'Auberge Chez Francois, Sam & Harry's and The Caucus Room.

She has also done private catering and restaurant public relations. Jennifer is a graduate of the professional Culinary Arts Program at L'Academie de Cuisine.