Todd once mentioned that he makes banana bread with cocoa nibs. The idea stuck with me, and I’ve been eager to try. I grew up on my grandma’s Southern banana bread- a dense cake, with lots of sugar and buttermilk. I love her recipe, but I thought that our nibs would pair better with bolder flavors and a lighter texture. So, I worked from recipes from Martha Stewart and Smitten Kitchen, adding in our nibs.
The bread was wonderful. The cocoa nibs softened in the oven, but maintained a bite. They accentuated the flavors of the spiced batter without adding an overpowering chocolate taste. The bread was a little like my grandma’s; it was still sweet, with the tang of buttermilk. But, the layers of flavor in this recipe went far beyond a more typical version. I’d make this again any day- it’s a delicious variation on one of my favorites.
1/2 cup butter at room temperature, plus more for pan
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour, plus more for pan
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
1/2 cup cocoa nibs
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan, set aside.
2. Cream butter and light brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, and beat to incorporate.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture, and mix until just combined. Add bananas, buttermilk, vanilla, bourbon, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves; mix to combine. Stir in nibs, and pour into prepared pan.
4. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let rest in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool.