Any child of the 70’s will likely remember the TV ad for Reese’s peanut butter cups, in which characters crashed into each other to accidentally merge their respective favorite treats.
I could always relate to that kid eating his peanut butter straight from the jar, and I still do that today, though my preference for peanut butter has shifted toward the natural variety that contains only peanuts and salt. It’s true that chocolate and peanut butter are a natural pairing, but so are and peanut butter and banana— the King of Rock and Roll certainly knew this; word has it his favorite sandwich combined the two (and it is unexpectedly delicious).
So when I had to come up with a plan to use up the brown-speckled bananas that were taunting me from the counter, I figured there’d be no harm in putting all three flavors together, and wouldn’t you know, I came up with a winner!
This flavor combo was appreciated by my husband more than the last banana bread I made, with dark chocolate and ginger (Les is not a fan of the ginger), and we both found this one delicious for breakfast, dessert and afternoon snack. Les said it was especially tasty straight from the fridge, with a light smear of butter.
The only consideration I needed to make when adapting my usual banana bread recipe was how to adjust for the peanut butter. The sticky, dense texture of my natural-style peanut butter might make the batter heavy, I thought, so I inched forward just a bit on the Greek yogurt to compensate and add some moisture to the mix. A Jif or Skippy style would probably be easier, and would also make the bread sweeter. To ensure that my peanut butter blended evenly, I creamed it together with the sugar at the start of the recipe, then proceeded with beating in the eggs, mashed banana and yogurt. Finally, I blended in melted butter and then gently folded in the dry ingredients and the dark chocolate chunks.
I always hold back about a tablespoon of the sugar from the recipe to sprinkle over the top just before baking. I love the delicate, sparkly crunch it gives the finished loaf.
It’s two great tastes that taste great together— wait, it’s three! Every bite flaunts the peanut butter and banana flavors, and those pockets of chocolatey goodness make my taste buds very happy. Thank you, thank you very much.
Peanut Butter Banana Bread with Chocolate Chunks
If peanut butter and banana are good together, and peanut butter and chocolate, then why not combine all three? This banana bread is a winner!
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or white whole wheat)
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2/3 cup organic cane sugar, plus 1 Tablespoon for sprinkling before baking
- 1/3 cup natural peanut butter (see ingredient notes)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups mashed very ripe banana
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks (or large chips)
- Preheat oven to 350 F, with oven rack in center position. Prepare a loaf pan by buttering or oil-spraying the bottom and sides.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
- Add sugar and peanut butter to a mixing bowl. Beat until evenly combined with no visible clumps of peanut butter. Beat in eggs.
- Smash the banana and blend it into the sugar-egg mixture. Take care not to obliterate the bananas; it’s nice to have a few visible chunks of it in the finished bread. Gently fold the melted butter into this mixture.
- Add the flour mixture, half at a time, and fold gently to incorporate the flour. Fold in the chocolate chunks, taking care not to overwork the batter.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Jiggle the pan slightly to even out the batter. Sprinkle the extra tablespoon of sugar all over the top.
- Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (you may have to poke in a few spots, because there’s so much chocolate in the recipe).
- Cool banana bread in the pan for about 15 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and let it cool completely before enjoying.
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