Today's and tomorrow's posts (and even one for next week) are the products of me cleaning out the contents of my fridge before we head to Austin this weekend. Inevitably, when we near the end of our co-op produce bag, I'm left with fruit that's right on the edge, the result of my not exactly loving fruit. The last two weeks, I've watched the slow decline of two bunches of bananas and some plums, so I started scouring my baking books for a way to make their short-lived lives worthwhile.
Some months ago Amazon was having a crazy sale, and I picked up a copy of Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours for a really great price, but I hadn't yet tried anything from it. So I flipped to the index to see what recipes she had for bananas, and landed on one called Coconana Bread that, to a chocolate-lover like me, looked like heaven. And, let me tell you...it is. But more on that later. :)
When I first read through the ingredients, I was dubious that the banana flavor would even come through given the amount of cocoa powder and then chips of bittersweet chocolate that went into it. But I shall never doubt Dorie again (and had quite the nerve to do it in the first place); when I took my first bite after it came out of the oven, the banana flavor was perfectly balanced with everything else, and the bread (although it's definitely rich enough to be a cake) was just divine. One night we had it with whipped cream, and the next with more ice cream from Serendipity (butter pecan...yum-o).
The only hiccup I had was my loaf pan apparently wasn't quite big enough, and one side of the bread baked over the side a bit (but held on like a champ), so mine baked much longer so that it set in the middle. So do make sure you check your pan size!
Also, a warning to those of you who, like me, don't drink coffee or much caffeine: You might feel a bit jittery as you come down from that cocoa high. Or, that may just be a special reaction for me and the hole I most likely burned in my stomach lining from far too many all-nighters and really strong coffee in college. :)
Since this recipe comes from a current book, I don't feel quite right reprinting the recipe here. But don't worry, I'm not a tease. I did find it on another site, where the writer got permission from Dorie to reprint it, so I'm going to send you over there for the recipe.
*P.S. I've had a couple people ask where the red bread tin comes from, and I got it (and two others in smaller sizes) from West Elm, one of my fav home decor stores! The day they make it to St. Louis, I will be one happy girl!