Banana Bread with Toasted Walnuts & Chocolate

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I have a slew of go-to recipes for various dishes and this is one of my all time favorites! I have found even someone who doesn't bake often, or ever - has most likely made banana bread. Ok, maybe that's a stretch. But still, everyone seems to make it!  It's easy, quick and there are a million different variations of it. How the heck does one choose which recipe to use?!

I have come to love this one for a few reasons. First off, it is Bon Appetit Magazine's BEST series - which means it's their best version of a specific recipe. Bon Appetit, I have compartamentalized as having very reliable and equally delicious recipes. If you want to bake well, you must be specific with which recipes you use. The internet is deeply saturated with recipes. Some are wonderful, yes. But some just look social media pretty and will not actually taste very good. I don't know about you, but I want my food to taste just as good as it looks! Actually, even better than it looks!! Otherwise what's the point??

Secondly, this recipe has mascarpone cheese in it! This is definitely an ingredient that makes this recipe unique. It adds another layer of fat aside from butter, to keep the bread moist. And that's exactly what it does. No problem if you don't have mascarpone cheese, sour cream or greek yogurt works fine as a substitute.

Third, I love that this recipe uses brown sugar instead of white sugar. The molasses that makes brown sugar, brown - adds a depth and caramel flavor to the bread. Who wouldn't want that? 

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Now, i've made this recipe a ton, and along with that comes some recipe adjustments! Visually speaking, adding a banana and adding sugar in the raw on top . The banana is a nice way to style up the loaf and the sugar creates a nice crunchy texture offering balance to the moist bread. I encourage you to stray from the recipe when you're baking. Make it your own! 

With that said, know that you can't just go changing everything! You have to learn and understand making the proper adjustments if you care to venture off and experiment. I can save that for another post down the road. 

 

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Now if you're anything like me you'll find it feels like a lifetime once the banana bread comes out of the oven until the point of slicing! But be patient and let it cool. If you're really like me, you'll add a nice slab of cultured butter and a pinch of flaky sea salt once you can finally dig in!

Here's the recipe! ENJOY!

 

Banana Bread with Toasted Walnuts and Chocolate

Recipe adapted from

 

1 1/2 C all-purpose flour

1 1/4 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 C dark brown sugar (light is fine)

1/3 C mascarpone cheese, softened (sour cream or yogurt is fine)

1/4 C unsalted butter, softened

2 eggs, room temperature

2 tsp vanilla extract

5 large ripe bananas, divided

1/2 C bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1/2 C chopped walnuts, toasted, chopped

1/4 C turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)

Preheat the oven to 350. Using a 9x5 " loaf pan, grease with butter and line with parchment leaving a slight overhang. Set aside.

In a small bowl add flour, baking soda and salt. Mix to combine and set aside. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer using a paddle attachment, add the brown sugar, mascarpone and butter. At medium-high speed, mix for 3 to 4 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add 1 egg at a time, mixing until combined. Add vanilla. Mix to combine.

With the mixer on low, slowly add flour mixture. Mix just until combined. Be careful not to over mix here. 

In a medium bowl, mash 4 bananas, reserving the 5th banana for garnish. 

Add mashed bananas, chocolate, and walnuts. Mix just until combined. Pour into prepared loaf pan. Using the 5th banana, cut in half vertically. Place both banana halves on top of banana batter. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. 

Bake for about 55 to 65 minutes or until golden brown and tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool for at least an hour before removing from pan. 

**freezes well, thaw before enjoying**

**BAKING TIP**

Never set your timer for the time stated in a recipe. Unless you have made the recipe before, and know how your oven well, make sure to always give a little "wiggle" room for cook time error. Often people mess up a recipe by overcooking. So please, set the timer before any stated time. Give it a peak and make sure your recipe is on track for recommended baking time. Just be sure not to open that oven too ofter or you will let all the hot air out of the oven. Happy Baking! 

 

hello + Peanut butter espresso chocolate chunk cookies

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Hi there! Thanks for visiting my new website! I wanted to create a spot not only to display my professional work, but a place where I can share my love of food. For those of you who have followed me from my blogging days with LEFT SIDE OF THE TABLE, thank you. It's been a fun journey. I'm excited to have the freedom to create once again in a new little space online.

It's no surprise that I adore baking. I frequently get asked for my favorite recipes and always love passing them along. After all, not all baked goods are created equal. I'm quite picky with which recipes I use. Dessert should be something special. I only want to make desserts that people can't put down. The kind that keeps you coming back from more. Otherwise what's the point?! 

Today, i'm going to share a special cookie featured on my portfolio page. Peanut butter espresso chocolate chunk cookies. I have a slew of go-to chocolate chip cookie recipes. This one is definitely not your average chocolate chip cookie folks. But, it's a goodie.

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This cookie has special components to it that make it oh so great. First off, there's peanut butter. I can never seem to get enough of it...and i know i'm not the only one here. It goes without saying - peanut butter was made for chocolate. Or is it the other way around?? Next, espresso. Espresso in baked goods, especially chocolate, helps enhance the chocolate flavor. You aren't necessarily going for an espresso flavor here, but rather that extra boost to make chocolate more delectable. Third, this cookie has chocolate chunks, not chips. I have become fond of chunks instead of chips. I love how the chunks of chocolate, offer a variety of different size pieces. It not only creates a prettier final cookie, but you seem to get more shards of chocolate spread throughout each bite. How could one not love that?! Plus, a chocolate chip normally has a waxy coating on the outside of it to help keep it's shape...unnecessary. Lastly the base of this cookie recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, Midwestern Table. Because, ya know... I'm a Midwestern girl.

I like to make a batch and keep them in the freezer and bake them off as I wish! 

Here's the recipe! ENJOY! 

 

Peanut Butter Espresso Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Adapted from Midwestern Table - Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

2 1/3 C all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

3/4 C unsalted butter, softened

1 C granulated sugar

1 C dark brown sugar

1/2 C peanut butter

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp espresso powder

12 oz bittersweet chocolate, rough chopped

flaky sea salt 

In a medium bowl, add flour, baking soda and salt. Whisk until combined. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle beat the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. About 3 minutes. Add the peanut butter and mix to combine. Add eggs one at a time until combined. Next add vanilla and espresso and mix until combined. Add flour mixture and mix just until combined. Add chocolate chunks. Scoop dough making making ping pong sized balls. Place in fridge for at least 12 hours. 

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375F. 

On a parchment lined baking sheet, place cookie dough balls spaced at least 2 inches apart. Bake for approximately 8-9 minutes or just until lightly browned. Don't overcook. Immediately sprinkle lightly with flaky sea salt on the top of each cookie. Cool for 10 minutes on tray, and remove to cooling rack. 

 

**Cookie dough can be stored in fridge for up to 1 week and in freezer for up to 2 months.**