Dense Chocolate-Banana Bread :: Using Up Over Ripe Bananas

nutsWe’ve all been there. Bananas turn too brown to actually enjoy, so we hang on to them thinking ‘I’ll make banana bread.’ But that day doesn’t come, so maybe you toss the bananas in the compost or maybe, if you’re not repulsed by the glossy black sheen they have now, you’ll freeze them for smoothies.

About 3 weeks ago, I moved BLACK bananas to the fridge. I knew the cool temp would slow down the decay and I figured I’d make banana bread in the next day or so. But I didn’t. I don’t really eat wheat in my day to day life (and steer clear of sugar for the most part), so making banana bread was low on my list. (HIGH on my list, however, is not wasting food! Conundrum!)

Days went by, and the bananas started fermenting. You know bananas are fermenting when they start smelling boozy. Then I was leaving on a trip and thought – I have GOT to use these damn things. So I made a quick bread (the lazy bakers ultimate go-to recipe) and wrapped it up for my man to take to work. Of course, I did take 2 slices for the plane ride. Best. Idea. Ever.

A few notes about this recipe.

  • I did not precisely measure. I just scooped flour out of the bag without first aerating, tossed in a handful of this or that, didn’t measure with tablespoons, just used kitchen spoons etc which is all to say you need not be absolutely precise.
  • If you don’t have vanilla sugar, a) you should make some and b) just use plain sugar
  • you can use any streusel topping you like – I never measure and simply through equal parts of flour:sugar:brownsugar:butter into a bowl and start mashing. I added a bit of cinnamon, but you can add nutmeg, cloves, cayenne, cardamom, crushed chamomile – whatever you like.


Chocolate Banana Bread with Streusel Top

113 grams (1 stick) room temperature butter
½ cup vanilla sugar
1 egg
2 large very ripe bananas, mashed
½ cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 handful chocolate chips

1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup pecans, chopped fine
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch salt

Preheat over to 350 F/180 C.

Lightly grease a 9×5 loaf pan. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until well combined and light. The sugar—butter combo should be light, white, and fluffy. Add the egg and until well incorporated, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl.Add bananas, yogurt and vanilla and mix until well combined.

In bowl, stir together baking soda, cocoa powder and flour, then add to the mixing bowl and beat until just combined. Do not over-process. Add a handful of chocolate chips and fold in with a spoon. Pour batter into loaf pan.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, sugars, pecans, cinnamon, salt and butter. Using your fingertips, massage the mixture together until it forms a coarse crumb and larger clumps. Sprinkle over top of batter and lightly press into batter.

Bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 50 minutes to an hour. (Check after 30 minutes to be sure streusel topping is not burning – cover lightly with a piece of aluminum foil if need be.)

Photo from Urban Pantry, by the fabulous Della Chen