Why is being physically graceful an admired trait?
I find it impossible. I drop things whenever I’m talking to someone important, I knock things over when I’m trying to be quiet, I trip more often than I’d like to admit, and I’m constantly bumping into people. And furniture. And walls.
I also have a plum-like propensity to bruise, so you’d think I’d learn. I haven’t yet.
Maybe that makes me sound like a toddler, or a drunk. Or a drunken toddler. But I assure you, I am just a woman in her 20s trying to navigate through the world, incapable of bodily dexterity and perfectly okay with that.
(As a quick aside, we all know that it’s considered an attractive trait in women – and men too, often – and I find that slightly ridiculous. It’s basically another way of saying, “look pretty and don’t ruffle any feathers”. You know what, I think some feathers could use a good ruffle. But I digress.)
I may have all the physical composure of an octopus in heels, but as long as I can hold a spoon, I can still make a mean banana bread. With chocolate, no less.
Mixing some of the batter with pure semi-sweet chocolate and swirling it in with the rest creates a great texture and a fun look. With a little punch of espresso powder (and some Kahlua if you’re feeling extra saucy), this banana bread gets elevated to a whole new level of skillet-dessert deliciousness.
If you don’t have a cast iron pan, you can use a regular 9” cake pan. The same recipe will work in a regular loaf pan as well, just with a slightly longer baking time.
This one’s for you, my clumsy friends.
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate
5 bananas (2 1/3 cup mashed)
1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Kahlua
Preheat the oven to 350F and generously grease a 9” cast iron pan. Melt the chocolate either in a double boiler or the microwave in short increments, then set aside to cool to room temperature.
If your bananas aren’t at the brown and speckled stage yet, pop em’ in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until browned and soft. Let cool a little before mashing them so you don’t burn yourself – to mash them, I sliced each banana lengthwise and let the peel just slide right off.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and espresso powder. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the brown sugar into the melted butter, followed by the eggs, vanilla extract, and buttermilk. Add the mashed bananas, then use a spatula to gently fold in the dry ingredients. Take about 1/2 cup of the batter and add it to the melted and cooled chocolate. Stir in the Kahlua and mix until homogenous.
Pour half the batter into the prepared pan, then alternate between plopping spoonfuls of the chocolate batter and the plain batter into the pan. Take a butter knife and gently make a few circular motions through the batter to make a marbled pattern (I got a bit carried away, you only really need to do one spiral motion through the whole pan).
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. For best flavor, let cool completely before slicing. Or you could just go for it immediately with a smear of butter and maybe some nutella. You do you.