Chew This! Chocolate Banana Bread Bars

Pick up a copy of “The Courier-Times” TODAY to check out my newest “CHEW THIS!” column and recipe for my “Chocolate Banana Bread Bars”! They are deliciously simple, effortlessly easy and unbelievably scrumptious! My taste testers went wild for these – and I think you will too! Enjoy!

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, February 4th 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

A New Take on Banana Bread…
Blaise Doubman

I love banana bread and I have experimented with countless recipes over the years. There has been banana bread with nuts, without nuts, with sour cream, with extra butter, melted butter, softened butter, a combination of butter and vegetable shortening, brown butter banana bread, banana bread with raisins and even a banana bread made with a yellow cake mix. If you think that is a lot, consider the fifty other versions I have tried but did not want to mention in fear of readership boredom and lack of room. Seriously though banana bread, to me, always needed something extra. No, not cinnamon and no, not extra bananas, that only makes the finished loaf tough in the end, I have tried it! I have always thought it was missing… chocolate!

Chocolate! Yes, chocolate. I am a registered chocoholic and proud of it. Anything and everything, to me, is better with chocolate and this recipe is no exception! It took a few rounds in the kitchen with this recipe before it was perfect but the finished result was well worth the extra time and extra work. My taste testers, shout out to Tiffany at Glen Oaks, loved this so much that they encouraged me to bring it again – that next day! Ha! The bread is baked in an untraditional way, in a 9×13-inch baking pan, but does so because you cut this bread into bars! The combination of the moist flavorful banana bread with the chocolate version is pure and utter heaven for banana and chocolate lovers! I highly recommend you stir up a batch of these!

Chocolate Banana Bread Bars

These really stretch when it comes to cutting serving sizes, so cut the bars small and serve for a large gathering! If you want to freeze the leftover bars, do so by wrapping tightly in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil before placing into a freezer safe zipper bag. Once frozen, bring to room temperature over night to gently thaw before eating.

1 stick unsalted butter, soft
1 cup white granulated sugar
4 large bananas, peeled and mashed
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups white all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with a non-stick spray containing flour.

Beat together the soft unsalted butter with the white granulated sugar until light in color and fluffy in texture. Add in the prepared bananas, large egg and pure vanilla extract. Beat well.

Finally, fold in the white all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Measure out a little less than 2 cups of this mixture and drop by large spoonful’s erratically around the inside of the prepared pan.

Add the unsweetened cocoa powder to the remainder of the batter in the bowl and beat well.

Place the now chocolate banana batter in spoonful’s around the batter that has already been placed in the pan. Do not worry about being neat with this. You will see why in a minute.

Now, with the back of a spoon, carefully spread out all of the dollops so that they gently form together and come together into one large even batter service. Next, take a knife and gently swirl the batter together making a marble effect on the top.

Place in preheated oven for exactly 25 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool slightly before cutting, serving and enjoying.

Ask and Answer: I heard from so many of you with my previous column of my chocolate mayonnaise cake and I love and appreciate your feedback! To answer a few of your questions, yes you can use water instead of the coffee, yes you can make the cake in 2 9-inch circle cake pans, the baking time will not change and you may frost the cake with whatever frosting you desire, or simply sprinkle over some powdered sugar and serve alongside a bowl of fruit. I loved hearing your memories of growing up with a cake very similar to mine in your household.

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Leftover 411

I titled this post “Leftover 411” because I have this saying – whenever I do not know something I will say “What’s the 411!?” Example – I hear someone talking about the new peanut butter, cream cheese toaster pastries – and I will say “Really? What’s the 411!?” Ha! I know – I am a nerd. Anyways…this post is all about some leftover ideas.

Let us say you have a couple of overly ripe bananas, or maybe a couple of potatoes leftover, or maybe some leftover spaghetti and sauce from the night before. What do you do with them!? Throw them away!? No!

Use these “leftover” recipes – and expand and go with what you’ve got. Experiment and HAVE FUN in the kitchen! You will never know what you will come up with…

Leftovers Blaise the Baker Blog Post

Quick Spaghetti Bread

1 – 2 cups leftover spaghetti and sauce
1 package frozen pizza dough, thawed
1 egg white, beaten
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees F and spray a regular size loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Knead the leftover spaghetti and sauce into the pizza dough. Trust me – this will work – just keep kneading and folding – eventually it will all come together.

Place the bread into the prepared loaf pan – make a loaf shape if it does not form one by itself. 

Brush the top of the loaf with the beaten egg white and sprinkle evenly on top the Parmesan cheese.

Place in preheated oven for 30 minutes exactly. Remove and allow to cool slightly before removing and slicing. This is AMAZING with melted butter on each slice.

Leftovers can be kept in an air-tight container for up to 2 days.

Enjoy!

Quick Banana Bread

3-4 bananas, peeled
1 box of yellow cake mix
2 eggs
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
(the cinnamon and nutmeg are optional – also optional would be 1/2 cup walnuts, 1/2 cup pecans or even 1/2 cup chocolate chips)

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F and spray a regular size loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas. (I use a potato masher to do this…)

Add the eggs, ground cinnamon and nutmeg. Beat until fully incorporated.

Add whatever else you desire – (see note above)

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, even out the top and place in preheated oven for 40 minutes exactly.

Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly before removing from the pan.

Slice and serve slathered with butter.

Enjoy!

Roasted Loaded Sliced Potatoes

2 – 3 potatoes, unpeeled, cleaned and scrubbed
Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper
Desired toppings

Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Spray the aluminum foil with non-stick cooking spray.

Slice the potatoes into slices – about 1/2 inch thick – and place them on the aluminum foil.

Drizzle olive oil all over the potato slices, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Turn the potato slices over, and repeat with the other side. Olive oil, salt and pepper.

Place in preheated oven for 30 minutes (or until golden brown).

Remove and add shredded cheese (if using) and return to oven to melted cheese for another 2-3 minutes.

Remove from oven and add desired toppings. I like sour cream and chives. Feel free to add bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, jalapenos, olives, etc.

Enjoy!

What new and usual ways do YOU use leftovers!? Shoot me an email (blaisethebaker@gmail.com) and let me know!

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