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Espresso Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread (Whole Wheat)

A perked up version of everyone's favourite homemade snack. Generous chunks of dark chocolate and a hit of instant espresso powder create a robustly-flavoured banana bread. Made a little more wholesome with 100% whole wheat flour and gently sweetened to achieve a perfect balance of bitter-sweet.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 5 mins
Cooling time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 50 mins
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: banana, chocolate, espresso, loaf, quick bread, snack, snack cake
Servings: 10 slices
Calories: 355kcal
Author: Gayle

Equipment

  • Standard Loaf Pan (9x5")
  • Parchment paper
  • Small Saucepan
  • Large Bowl
  • Hand or Stand Mixer (optional)

Ingredients

  • 4 med overripe bananas (should measure about 1½ cups mashed)
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp instant espresso powder (I use Nescafe GOLD)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed (depending on your preferred level of sweetness)
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • cup thick, full-fat Greek yogurt
  • cups whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup thick rolled oats (reserve 1 tbsp to garnish - optinal)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • ¾ cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate (reserve a few large chunks to garnish - optional)

Optional Garnishes

  • 1 large firm but ripe banana, split in half lengthwise (see Notes below)
  • reserved thick rolled oats
  • reserved dark chocolate chunks

Instructions

  • Ensure your oven rack is in the centre setting, and preheat to 350ºF. Grease the inside ends of the loaf pan, then line it with a strip of parchment paper, wide enough to cover the majority of the length of the pan, and up both long sides, with about an inch or two overhanging to act as handles.
  • Gently heat the butter in a small saucepan until melted. Remove from the heat and whisk in the espresso powder and vanilla until combined. Set aside to cool slightly.
  • Place the overripe bananas in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment engaged. Turn the mixer to low and once the bananas are thoroughly mashed, add the melted butter-coffee-vanilla mixture, brown sugar, maple syrup, eggs, and yogurt. Mix on medium speed until well blended – about 1 minute.
  • Stop the mixer and add the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt. Mix on low just until about 90% blended, with some patches of dry flour still showing. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the chocolate with a spatula – scraping the sides of the bowl to ensure the dry ingredients are incorporated. Do not over mix.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and, if desired, top with a split banana, a sprinkle of oats, and some of the chocolate pieces. Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the loaf comes out clean or with just a few small crumbs.
    Let cool for 30 minutes, then lift the banana loaf out of the pan using the parchment paper handles. Set on a cooling rack to cool before slicing. Enjoy!

Notes

Even though these instructions are written with a stand (or hand) mixer in mind, this loaf can absolutely be mixed by hand. My main goal was simply to use one bowl for the batter and with the least amount of steps. Use a whisk or fork to mash the bananas and stir the wet ingredients together, then switch to a large spatula to gently stir in the dry ingredients.
If you prefer not to use the espresso powder and/or use sweeter chocolate, just note that the overall balance of bitter and sweet will lean toward the latter.
Feel free to replace the rolled oats with toasted and chopped nuts.
This loaf takes a solid 65 minutes to bake through in my oven. Since mine cooks slightly unevenly, I rotate the pan 180º at the 45-minute mark. If you need to do the same, be gentle and careful not to knock the pan so the developing rise isn't disturbed.
The decorative banana placed on top of the loaf does not hold up well on leftovers. In fact, after trying it once to shoot this recipe, I can't recommend doing it at all unless this loaf will be fully consumed the same day it's baked.
Leftovers are best loosely wrapped and enjoyed within a couple of days. If you like, you can wrap the slices individually and freeze.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 355kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 59mg | Sodium: 228mg | Potassium: 255mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 30g