You know, I buy bananas just about every week for our household. And just about every week, we don’t really end up eating them. We’re just not plain-banana-eaters I guess. I’m personally not a fan of the texture. I usually take one or two bites and that’s enough. And then there’s the flavor issue – there’s not much. I didn’t really used to be such a banana-downer until after my travels to Central America years back. I got used to eating “real” bananas – hand-picked ripe off of the tree that same morning. When you come back to store-bought bananas after that, they taste a bit like, well, cardboard.
Sorry banana-lovers. I don’t mean to offend anyone. I’ll just say it again: Plain bananas are just not my thing. But on quite the contrary, I love me some homemade banana bread! In fact, maybe that’s why I just keep buying bananas anyway. I know that when we don’t eat them before they start getting overripe, I will just whip up a batch of this bread which will disappear within the day. Maybe that’s why I like it so much – the flavor of overripe bananas helps it out……hmm, think I’m on to something?
I have searched long and hard for tips and tricks for a good banana bread recipe, and I’m happy to say, this is an absolute winner in my book. The secret is really in the sour cream to keep it really moist. But the chocolate chips and cocoa nibs don’t hurt either. Man, I’m drooling right now just thinking about it….
I’ve also tried this recipe in many forms – 1 loaf, 4 mini-loaves, 18-20 muffins, all with great success. If you have an oven thermometer, check its temperature when the oven has finished preheating, especially when cooking the big loaf. Unfortunately, most ovens don’t actually heat to the temperature that they say do – I’ve heard it can vary up to as much as 25 degrees in either direction. That’s a lot! Mine tends to go about 10 degrees hotter and with the big loaf that can result in an over-baked exterior while waiting for the center to set. A slight down heating adjustment for me makes all the difference!
Cocoa Nib Sour Cream Banana Bread
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter 1 cube, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup overripe bananas usually between 2-3 bananas, mashed
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup roasted cocoa nibs optional, I like Barlovento Nibs from Amano
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips optional, milk or dark
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Coat one large loaf pan with cooking spray, or grease liberally.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together margarine, sugar, eggs, and vanilla with a hand mixer.
In another bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredient mixture in two parts to wet mixture, and blend until just incorporated. (I still use the hand mixer for this on low speed). Add the bananas and mix until well combined.
Fold in the sour cream until just incorporated.
Fold in cocoa nibs and/or chocolate chips if desired.
Pour batter into prepared pan.
Cook for 65-70 minutes, or until browned and a toothpick comes out clean in the center.
Cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes before removing from pan.
Recipe Notes1. I never actually measure the chocolate chips or cocoa nibs. I just of just put them in until it "looks right" so feel free to adjust those measurements. Some days you may want more, some days less, some days one or the other, some days none at all (although I'm not sure why you'd eliminate the best part!)
2. The chocolate chips I use (usually Guittard brand) tend to sink a little bit during baking. For me, the trade off of the moist bread is worth it. But you may want to try finding smaller chips or even mini-chips if you want to keep them more evenly distributed throughout the bread.
Change it Up:
1. Substitute your favorite chopped nuts for the cocoa nibs
2. For mini-loaves, cook for 40-45 minutes. (Makes 4)
3. For muffins, cook for 20-23 minutes. (Makes 18-20)
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