Saturday, January 18, 2014

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Banana Bread

There are so many things I shouldn't do but I do them anyway.

Like not re-applying sunscreen after a swim. Wearing sunscreen sucks! It feels gross, especially over salty skin from a swim in the sea, but do it! Always do it or you will pay in the form of red... painful blotchy red. This is one of those things I "learn the hard way" over and over and over again.

Or, biting into that piece of sushi. Sushi is a one-bite food. Do not try to bite it in half or you will look like a fool and apparently offend the sushi chef.

I totally watched "The Bachelor" last season. Such a guilty pleasure... it's so dumb. It's the same every year. "Tiara's here for the wrong reasons. I hate her. She's so fake. Bla bla blah". Why did I watch it? Shameful.

I cut my own hair. Sometimes it looks a bit lopsided, but it'll do. I don't like hair dressers - they're aggressive.

Combining peanut butter, chocolate and banana is something I should do, and I do do, and there's nothing wrong with it other than it's delicious and addicting and wants to be toasted.

Let's get past my sunburn and uneven hair and bake some Peanut Butter & Chocolate Banana Bread!

Banana breads are a type of quick bread. Muffins, scones and biscuits also fall into this category. A quick bread is a made from a yeast-free dough or batter where the dry ingredients and wet ingredients are blended separately and then combined gently. They get their lift from chemical raising agents, such as baking powder and baking soda.

Want to know a secret?

There's actually a secret ingredient in every good banana bread. It's baking soda.

Have a browse through all your favourite banana bread recipes and I bet the best ones will include baking soda, either on its own or combined with baking powder.

Why is that? 

Bananas are slightly acidic and provide enough acidity in the batter to react with baking soda and make it rise. If there's too much baking soda, however, the residual stuff will lend a bitter, soapy taste to the baked bread. If this residual is excessive, the after taste can be unappealing, but if it is very slight it actually lends a nutty golden flavour.

In this recipe I use yoghurt which provides plenty of acidity, so baking soda is all I need. Other recipes that do not use any other acidic ingredient (such as sour cream, buttermilk or lemon juice), might use a combination of baking soda and baking powder to get the right amount of rise. Baking soda also promotes browning reactions which helps to create this rich brown crust.

This one is for Elvis I suppose. I think the most lasting impression he had on the world next to his vocal talent was his adoration for banana and peanut butter.

This lovely loaf features peanut butter in the brown sugary banana batter and melty studs of dark chocolate throughout. It's probably the happiest banana bread in the world - just as I would be if  you shoved peanut butter and chocolate through me.


Peanut Butter & Chocolate Banana Bread
Makes one 9x5-inch loaf

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large bananas)
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1/3 cup plain low fat yoghurt
3 tbsp (42 g) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup (110 g) packed light brown sugar
¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
1 ½ cups (215 g) all-purpose flour
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
120 g/4.5 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together mashed bananas and peanut butter until combined. Whisk in yoghurt, melted butter and eggs, one at a time, making sure that each ingredient is well incorporated before adding the next. Add both sugars and mix until smooth.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt to blend.  Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the banana mixture and stir it in gently until just combined. Stir through chopped dark chocolate.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake until evenly browned and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55-60 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve toasted with extra peanut butter for kicks.

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