Everyone loves banana bread. Right? Even people who don't otherwise want anything to do with bananas.

So it's important to have a simple and easy recipe to turn to. Once you have a basic banana bread recipe, you can experiment with other ingredients as add-ons.

Speaking of basics, let’s talk about them for a second.

If you like to bake, then a kitchen scale is worth purchasing, because baking is all about precision. If you don’t have a scale, a good set of measuring cups is the next best thing.

Another way to ensure accuracy is an oven thermometer. Oven temperatures can often vary, so you can’t always trust the oven mark. A thermometer ensures that your oven is always exactly the right temperature before you put in anything to bake.

Banana bread makes a great snack to accompany your daily caffeine dose, and today I'm sharing two ways to incorporate chocolate into this everyday favourite to make teatime feel a bit more special: one recipe involves stirring in chocolate chips and walnuts, while the second is a chocolate banana marble loaf, with generous dollops of Nutella swirled through the batter.


Basic Banana Bread


Ingredients

100g unsalted butter

60g (⅓ cup) brown sugar

60g (⅓ cup) caster sugar

½ tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

150g (1¼ cups) plain flour

1½ tsp baking powder

175g to 200g (⅔ to ¾ cup) mashed banana (3 to 4 bananas)

Note: Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature before you start for best results.

Method

1) Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).

2) Grease and line a 8x4 inch loaf tin and set aside.

3) In a large mixing bowl, add butter, sugars and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer at high speed or 2 to 3 minutes, until it’s light and creamy.

4) Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after adding each one.

5) Sift in the flour and baking powder, and add the mashed banana. Mix well, either by hand, or with the mixer on low speed.

6) Bake at 350°F for about 40 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Leave in the tin to cool for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.


1) Banana Chocolate Chip Walnut Loaf

Be generous with the chocolate chips. Photo: author
Be generous with the chocolate chips. Photo: author

Additional ingredients

50g (¼ cup) chocolate chips

60g (½ cup) walnuts, finely chopped

Method

1) Stir the chocolate chips and walnuts into the banana bread batter.

2) Spoon into the prepared tin and bake at 350°F for about 40 to 50 minutes.

2) Choco-Nutella Banana Loaf

Swirl together the cake batter and Nutella, using a figure-eight motion, to create a marbled effect. Photo: author
Swirl together the cake batter and Nutella, using a figure-eight motion, to create a marbled effect. Photo: author

Additional ingredients

30g (¼ cup) cocoa powder, sifted

2 tablespoons milk

3 to 4 teaspoons Nutella

Method

1) Add half the banana bread batter to another mixing bowl.

2) Add the cocoa powder and milk to one half, and mix well.

3) In the prepared loaf tin, add alternate tablespoons of the chocolate and banana batter.

4) When the cake batter is finished, drop 3 to 4 teaspoons randomly on top of the cake batter.

5) Using a butter knife, gently swirl together the cake batter and Nutella, using a figure-eight motion, to create a marbled effect.

6) Bake at 350°F for about 40 to 50 minutes.

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