Snowy January Saturdays — that’s when the baking tends to happen around here.
Just when I think the last thing I need is another banana bread recipe in my life (because we already have this one, and this grain-free one, oh and this brown butter one, too), along comes an idea for a new iteration that just demands to be tested. And I guess for us tried and true banana bread aficionados there can never be too many options, right?
On this particular blustery morning, bumping into a few bananas tucked away in the freezer (while searching for something wholly unrelated, of course) provided just enough motivation to get the oven going and the loaf pan greased. My latest vision was for a loaf that would be not overly sweet, enriched with tahini for nutty richness, yogurt and almond flour for extra protein, and studded with chunks of dark chocolate for good measure. And less than an hour later that’s exactly what emerged from the oven (yay!).
This banana loaf is pleasantly dense-crumbed and less cake-y than others I’ve made recently (like that brown butter one linked above, which I’m pretty crazy about and makes more of a dessert-appropriate cake). I actually like this new version best toasted on the day after it’s baked (and just a note that if you’re going that route, set a piece of aluminum foil under your slice lest you end up with burnt chocolate dripping all over the bottom of your toaster oven!).
Said toasted slice is wonderful for breakfast, slathered with tahini or nut butter and sprinkled with gomasio, and is particularly satisfying as an afternoon snack alongside a cup of tea or hot chocolate, preferably after an invigorating walk in the snow during which you are dragged along by a 14-pound personal trainer who will not take no for an answer.
The recipe is flexible, so tweaks are always welcome: leave out the chocolate if you like, add toasted walnuts, pecans, pumpkin and/or chia seeds, coconut flakes, even a couple of handfuls of crispy granola. It’s all yours.
Chocolate chunk tahini banana bread
Gluten-free adaptable/Dairy-free adaptable; Makes one 9×5-inch loaf
3 very overripe bananas (I used frozen and thawed), mashed
1/2 cup organic granulated sugar (or coconut palm sugar)
2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain yogurt (dairy or plant-based)
1/2 cup unsalted tahini
1 cup all-purpose flour (regular or gluten-free; I like Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 GF Flour)
1/2 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or fine Celtic sea salt
3.5 ounce bar of dark chocolate, roughly chopped (I used Lindt Dark Chocolate with a touch of sea salt); set aside a small handful to scatter over the top of the loaf before baking
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan and line with parchment.
In a large mixing bowl whisk together the bananas, sugar, eggs, vanilla, yogurt, and tahini until smooth.
In a separate bowl whisk together the AP flour, almond flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture and stir until combined (do not overmix). Fold in dark chocolate (save a handful to scatter over the top of the loaf).
Scrape batter into prepared pan and scatter the remaining chocolate over the top. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove cake and cool completely before slicing.