By Martin Eade
Banana bread is too often seen as last-resort in a café or the only use for “that bunch of bananas buried in the cupboard”. But made with care, quality ingredients and a little imagination, it can be a thing of beauty. It’s even better when lightly toasted and smothered with butter.
When cooking, it’s important to use seasonal, local ingredients wherever possible. Our farmers need all the support they can get, and we should never be scared to buy the imperfect fruit and veg supermarkets label as “ugly”.
I always buy Carnarvon bananas, which tend to be smaller – nicely lunchbox sized – and sweeter.
- 1 cup plain flour
- ½ cup Dutch cocoa
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 3 large brown bananas (1½ cups mashed)
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- ¼ cup canola oil or melted coconut oil
- ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup dark chocolate, chips or roughly-chopped
- Pre-heat your oven to 180°C. Grease a 23x13cm (9×5 inch) loaf pan with cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Add the melted butter and oil and stir until combined. Stir in the brown sugar, egg, and vanilla extract. Stir until smooth.
- Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, don’t overmix. Stir in ¾ of the chocolate (see handy hint below).
- Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate over the top of the bread. Bake for 50-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out mostly clean. You might have some melted chocolate on the toothpick and that’s fine. You just don’t want a lot of gooey batter. Check at 50 minutes, just to be safe.
- Remove the pan from the oven and set on a wire cooling rack. Let the bread cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the bread and carefully remove from the pan. Let the bread cool on the wire cooling rack until slightly warm. Cut into slices and serve.
When I bake, I tend to raid my fridge for leftover chocolate first. When I made this recipe, I didn’t have any chips and ended up using some 95 per cent Lindt and a left over easter egg for this delicious result!
In this case, I put it all in the bread rather than sprinkling on top (although I wish I’d had some white chips for that). The point here is to just relax and go with it.
From page 26 Issue 20: ‘Wellbeing: Building stronger communities that flourish as a whole’ ofThe Record Magazine