Today I get to introduce you to my friend Jessica. Over the past 4 years we have run into each other all over town with our kids in various story-times and have since become friends. Now our boys go to school together, and we have fun sharing play dates and laughing about how crazy it is to be a mom.
Cocoa Banana Bread:
Ingredients for Two Loaves
4 ripe bananas
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 cup safflower oil (or any kind of vegetable oil you like)
1 ½ cups sugar
1 tbsp. molasses
2 cups whole-wheat flour
2 cups white flour
½ cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
Preheat oven to 325 degrees if you are using heavy, dark metal loaf pans – (350 degrees if you are using the lighter weight aluminum pans.)
In a large bowl combine all of the dry ingredients (from the whole-wheat flour to the baking powder). Lightly combine with a fork or fingers. Set aside.
In another large bowl mix together the bananas, eggs & vanilla until combined (bananas can be chunky or you can mix until smooth). Then add the oil, sugar and molasses.
Now slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients all the while mixing on a low speed until all is combined. Do not overbeat.
If you like nuts, chocolate chips or dried fruit in your bread add them now, adding about two cups.
Now, pour the mixture into two greased pans. You can use the baking spray but I just use the regular cooking spray.
For the heavy, dark metal pans you will probably need about 36 minutes at 325. I do low and slow in my oven. Set your timer for 12 minutes. Turn pans, then set for another 12 minutes. From here you will need to set time to 6 minutes then check for doneness. If the top of your bread can jiggle to your touch then you will probably need another 6 minutes.
Always run a knife through to make sure it’s done. If it comes out clean you are good to go.
For the lighter pans – try 30 minutes at 350 and set your timer to 10 minute increments.
I use as many organic ingredients as I can since we try to eat as clean as possible. I really like Bob’s Red Mill flours for baking. Also, since I give this to my boys for breakfast and snack time, I try to make every bite count, hence the lower amount of sugar.
A little bit about the recipe.
I believe every recipe has an interesting “origin”, whether it is as simple as seeing an appealing dish in a magazine, or one handed down within a family for generations. My recipe has an origin – a great one – and that is my mother.
My mother is an AMAZING cook, she really is. I grew up loving trout almandine, stuffed pork chops, plantains, baked clams, etc., etc., etc. However, I did not grow up loving her baking. Not that she wasn’t good at it she just didn’t do it as often. Well, except for my constant request for banana cream pie.
My mom’s forte was understanding a recipe and making it her own. As I grew up and cooked with her many, many times I acquired her comfort of making a dish her own and utilizing lots of different ingredients.
Fast forward to when my husband and I were expecting our second child and we asked my mom to come and help us out. At 43 I still needed my mom. She came a month before my due date and was supposed to stay for three months after the baby was born. A year later she left. During that year she cooked up a storm for us and she loved it. I once again had the chance to cook with her and this time she did a lot of baking. One thing she did was bake dozens of Christmas cookies for a cookie exchange that I was invited to. All of the cookies were amazingly good. She followed the recipes to a T. But what she did with the excess ingredients is what really got me – she made up a bunch of quick bread recipes that were just perfect. It just never occurred to me to make up my own baking recipes. Let alone ones thought out to specifically use what I had in the pantry. She is resourceful and does not like waste, so really it should not have been a big surprise to me. But I always thought baking was an exact science; she taught me you just need to know ratios and have good sense.
So, this is how I came to my Cocoa Banana Bread. I have lots of unsweetened cocoa in my pantry and I had some bananas that I needed to use. Ah ha, a quick bread! The shared recipe is only my second revision.
I hope you like it. My hubby and I have been enjoying it the last few mornings with a good, strong cup of coffee. Oh, and the boys like it too – with milk of course.
Thanks, Lauren, for letting me share this recipe and for also being the willing recipient of a few of my other baked goods.
A little about me:
I am a stay-at-home mom to two little guys that I love beyond, beyond. My hubby and I have a deep respect for one another and truly enjoy our lives together. We have had lots of wonderful ups and some devastating downs but are grateful to be going through this crazy journey of it “all” together. Two dogs help us enjoy life as well. Oh, and my mom has since moved to Las Vegas and is happily playing bingo every Tuesday morning and cooking for her new neighbors.