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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Banana Chocolate Chunk Walnut Loaf

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I have a few different banana breads that are my favorite. And while this might seem silly, I think it's actually quite practical. After all, I make this banana bread when I have some buttermilk that I need to use up. I make this banana bread when I'm missing home, as this is a slight variation on my mom's famous recipe. Now I have the Dahlia Bakery banana bread, which is about about as perfect as it gets.
Made with canola oil and sour cream, it bakes up with an ideal texture. As much as I love a gooey, slightly undercooked banana bread, I was impressed by how perfectly moist this was, especially when I opened the oven to find it so dark brown. I followed the recipe exactly-not opening the oven the entire time it was baking-and it came out exactly as described. That beautiful crack you see running across the top of the bread in the picture above? Dahlia Bakery called it! I usually make banana bread with pecans, so the walnuts were a fun change. This stayed fresh for days--I baked it on Saturday and on Thursday it still tasted like it'd been made only a few hours earlier.
Do you have a favorite banana bread? Mix it up and give this one a try--it's perfection!

One Year Ago: Brown Buttermilk Bread
Two Years Ago: Thai Chicken Peanut Panini
Three Years Ago: Salsa Chicken and Black Bean Soup

Banana Chocolate Chunk Walnut Loaf
from the Dahlia Bakery Cookbook

-cooking spray
-1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks
-1/3 cup walnuts, toasted, cooled, and roughly chopped
-1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
-1 1/4 tsp baking soda
-1/4 tsp kosher salt
-about 1 pound (2-3) very ripe bananas
-1/4 cup canola oil
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 large egg
-1/4 cup sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and flour the pan. Place in fridge to set the coating.
2. Add the walnuts and chocolate chunks to a small bowl and toss with 2 tbsp of the flour. Set aside.
3. Sift the remaining 1 cup plus 2 tbsp of flour and the baking soda in a bowl. Stir in the salt and set aside.
4. Beat bananas with an electric mixer until smooth. Measure out 1 cup of banana puree and add additional banana or discard some of it so that you have exactly one cup. Add the puree back to the bowl and mix in sour cream, egg, sugar, and oil, beating until everything is combined.
5. Mix in the dry ingredients, just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chunks and walnuts.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 60-65 minutes (do not open during baking), until an inserted toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs (banana bread will be very brown on the outside). Allow pan to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before running a knife around the edges of the pan and placing bread on a wire rack to cool completely.