Years ago, when I lived up in San Francisco, I worked at a public relations firm. Most of our clients were food clients, and one of those clients was Ghirardelli Chocolate. One of the many perks of the job was not only creating great recipes and promos for our clients, but we also got some great gifts from them too. You all know how much I love and value my cookbooks, so one of my favorite gifts from that time was a little Ghirardelli cookbook. I have used it many times, and have made many great recipes from this book. One of those recipes is this delicious chocolate banana bread.
I started off with the basic Ghirardelli recipe, and then expended upon it from there. I know. You are all stunned that I would actually change a recipe and recreate it to make it my own. 🙂 I substituted pecans for walnuts. That was one change. I LOVE pecans. Walnuts, not so much. I added some banana extract to the mix as well, to enhance the banana flavor of the bread too. I also made a chocolate ganache to top the banana bread and added more chopped pecans. The chocolate ganache and nut topping really added more pizzazz and personality to the basic banana bread, making it really come to life. It was good before, but great after.
Chocolate Banana Bread
Yes, I really did use Ghirardelli chocolate, and NOT the King Arthur’s seen here in the picture. I forgot I had Ghirardelli chocolate at first, but then found out that I did. 🙂
Preheat the oven to 350* F or 180* C.
Spray cooking oil in a loaf pan and then dust lightly with flour.
1/2 cup or 1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp banana extract
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups or about 2 large bananas, mashed
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, divided
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Mix the butter and sugar together until it becomes creamy, then add the eggs, one at a time, beating in between. Add the mashed bananas and banana extract and mix again.
Combine all the dry ingredients together and mix well. Then add all at once to the butter and egg mixture. Mix just until everything is just blended together. Do not overmix, or your bread will be tough.
Once everything is combined, gently fold in about 2/3 of the chopped nuts. Then pour into the prepared loaf pan and bake for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle.
Allow the bread to cool completely before adding the ganache.
Chocolate Banana Ganache
Equal parts chocolate and heavy whipping cream in a saucepan. Melt the chocolate complete while stirring constantly at a medium-low temperature. Add 1 tsp of banana extract and mix in thoroughly. I use chocolate chips a lot when making a ganache. It saves me the time of chopping the chocolate into small pieces. Plus, it tastes great too.
When the ganache is ready, pour it over the bread and top with the remaining chopped nuts. This is delicious on its own, or served with ice cream and a bit more of the chocolate ganache as well.
We all need chocolate in out lives. Chocolate is a food group all on its own. 🙂
Stay cool, stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.