MOLTEN-CHOCO BANANA BREAD

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“CHOCO RIVER… WIDER THAN A MILE”

Today is the third day of the week-long CNY holiday in China, a festive time when binge-eating isn’t only allowed, but mandatory.  Implementing any calorie restriction and self-control during this high festivity, implies unlikable things about one person – uptight, fun-less, possibly anorexic and most of all, non-cool.  So to celebrate such excess in order to demonstrate that I’m a spirited team-player who’s got some very down-to-earth thighs to prove it, I was going to show my A-game compliance.  Only until I realized that it’s a little tricky to come up with things to eat…

When I’m under some sorta house arrest.

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You see, the thing is, I can’t leave the apartment.  I can’t leave the apartment for the same reason why you shouldn’t leave a pot of bubbling caramel unattended.  My dog-son is now a pot of bubbling caramel, and it’s been three weeks since I stepped outside this watch-zone for things that didn’t come from a veterinarian pharmacy.  Those sticky ribs were the last sword I drew from my previously well-stocked Kingdom that was losing armory at an alarming speed, which almost prompted me to start a new series called Guess What’s This Under An Inch of Frost, or What My Ailing Dog Wouldn’t Eat But You Might, or how about A Blind Date with Expiration Dates.

Aaaahh, but then of course.  The top reason why any city-dwellers love where they dwell.  The absolutely knight-shinning quality of… the 24hr corner grocery store.  Yeah sure, I have one of those, too, and just like any others, my corner grocery is good for only two things.  Alcohol.  And over-ripen bananas.

Never disappoint.

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So I got six bottles of whiskey to drawn myself bananas, so three of those could carry the extra streusels left from these muffin French toasts (you heard right) in the form of banana bread.  And it did the job well, it did, never gonna make a post.  But there left the three extra over-ripen bananas on the counter on their way to be crowned The Lord of the Fruit Flies in my falling Kingdom, and out of the corner of my eyes, laid quietly was the beauty of a bar of chocolate tucked behind the coffee machine, almost forgotten by time itself.

Out of the corner of my eyes… out of the corner of my desperate gaze for something to cook with… I thought, the Lord has spotted his milkmaid-mistress.

I know I know, bananas and chocolate… pfff… hardly any ground-shattering pairings there, I mean they’ve already had so much unlawful sex together it’s scandalous.  But I don’t want just chopped chocolates in my banana bread.  I want… a banana bread that comes with its own chocolate sauce!  Sauce, sauce… the world molten came to mind.  And really though, why not?  They need to spice things up a bit.  They need to make illegitimate royal babies!  And… violà.

There’s a river… running through my banana bread, a choco river… wider than a mile.  I knew I’d cross you in style someday…  Listen, there’s a ridiculous amount, almost too much molten chocolate-lava moving slowly inside this supposedly rustic cake, only, if only, there’s such a thing as “too much chocolate” in your world or HA! I’m just talking crazy.  And even though it’s absolutely unnatural not to eat this cake warm out of the oven, the chocolate-lava never really solidifies even when it’s cooled, making it kind of a thick/super rich chocolate ganache-filling right in the center of this unseemly banana bread.  Is that offending anybody here?

Well then you’re not getting a slice.

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****

The amount of molten chocolate in this recipe was quite… ferocious.  I would dial it back to about 2/3 of the amount in this recipe.  But then again, I’m not that big of a chocolate person so you be the judge.  And also, the molten chocolate recipe was adapted in a way that it’s thicker than a typical molten chocolate cake (think thick fudge).  Because this is a “rustic loaf cake” after all and I wouldn’t want half of the cake “running away” at the first slice.

I used a combination of wholewheat flour and cake flour because I ran out of all-purpose, a little accidental conscience…  But you may use other whole-grain combination that you prefer.  And also I prefer a combination of unsalted butter and vegetable oil to reach a balance of flavour and moisture.  But if you want to use all butter, not gonna hurt my feelings…

I suspect that these would be fabulous in individual muffin-size as well if you don’t mind the dividing.  The baking-temperature should probably be increased to 375ºF/190ºC, and the baking-time shortened down to 25~30 min.  Just a thought.

Ingredients:

  • Molten chocolate center:  adapted from Nigella Lawson‘s molten chocolate cake
    • 5.3 oz (150 grams) of dark chocolate, chopped
    • 1 1/2 tbsp (22 grams) of unsalted butter
    • 3 tbsp (24 grams) of all-purpose flour
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/3 cup (47 grams) of powdered sugar
  • Banana bread:  

    • 5 tbsp (73 grams) of unsalted butter
    • 3 tbsp (40 grams) of vegetable oil
    • 3 large, super ripen bananas
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/2 cup (100 grams) of light brown sugar
    • 1 tbsp (21 grams) of molasses
    • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
    • 1 cup (120 grams) of wholewheat flour
    • 1/2 cup (62 grams) of cake flour, or all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp of baking soda
    • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp of grated nutmeg
    • 1/4 tsp of salt

To make the molten chocolate center:  Add the chopped bittersweet chocolate and unsalted butter into a microwave-proof bowl.  Microwave on high on a 30 seconds-interval and stir in between, about 1 min in total, until the chocolate has just melted but not scolded, then whisk in the flour until very smooth.  In another bowl, whisk the large egg and powdered sugar until foamy, then add to the chocolate mixture and fold it in until evenly incorporated.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 20 min (easier to work with when firmed up) while preparing the banana bread.

To make the banana bread:  Preheat the oven on 350ºF/175ºC.

Add the unsalted butter and vegetable in a large microwave-proof bowl.  Microwave on high for 30 seconds and whisk the warmed up mixture until the butter has completely melted (if the butter is still too cold to melt, microwave for another 10 seconds).  Break the bananas in pieces and mash them into the melted butter with the tip of the whisk until very little lumps are left.  Whisk in the large egg, light brown sugar, molasses and vanilla extract until smooth and thick.  (To spare using an extra bowl) Whisk wholewheat flour, cake flour (or all-purpose), baking soda, ground cinnamon, grated nutmeg and salt inside the loaf-pan that you’re baking with.  Then add the dry ingredients into the banana/butter mixture, and slowly fold the batter together with a fork until just evenly combined, but not over-worked.

Pour the batter into the loaf-pan (if yours isn’t non-stick, lightly butter and flour the pan first), then take the molten chocolate-batter out of the fridge and add it right into the center of the banana bread-batter in dollops.  Gently press the chocolate-batter into the banana bread-batter, but not too much.  Bake in the oven for 45~50 min, until a wooden skewer comes out clean from the center of the banana bread, but still runny and gooey from the center of the molten chocolate.

Let it cool for 15 min in the pan before removing.  I may have made the mistake of cutting it too soon (can you blame me?) and the I had a chocolate-river situation… sort of.

If not serving immediately, warm up each slice in the microwave for 15~20 seconds.  Dont’ worry, the chocolate center will not set, but it’s just better to eat when it’s hot…

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34 Comments

  • Reply February 4, 2014

    Belinda@themoonblushbaker

    All I can say tot hat molten center is say with me and run into my mouth! Thank goodness it is burning here because bananas are dropping like its hot. At least I have good use for them now.
    I am jealous I have to wait for this….

  • Reply February 4, 2014

    cynthia

    I just… I just want to stare at this all day long. I don’t want to work. Just stare. Drooool. Also, I’m so impressed that you can find Grandma’s Molasses in Beijing?? I don’t know why, but I find that cool. (Also, Lord of the Fruit Flies, Mandy, you slay me. Hilarious.)

    Wishing you the best with baby-pup :(

  • Reply February 4, 2014

    Katrina @ WVS

    Whoa. That molten layer is seriously snazzy. Loving this bread!

  • Reply February 4, 2014

    Shikha @ Shikha la mode

    All I can say is, what New Years resolutions?!

    Also, I love your photographs – stunning. Are these all in your kitchen?

    • Reply February 4, 2014

      Mandy L.

      Shikha, yeah!!! But I have “boards” set up in my originally-all-white kitchen :)

  • Reply February 4, 2014

    Erika

    I’m pretty much in love with this banana bread. Anything with a “river” of chocolate running through it deserves complete devotion.

  • Reply February 4, 2014

    Averie @ Averie Cooks

    This is such gorgeous bread! That huge river of chocolate running through it is just …fabulous. pinned

  • Oh my god!! That chocolate river–totally dying.

  • This looks delicious, and far more futuristically advanced than my usual pour-a-cup-of-chocolate-chips-into-the-banana-bread-batter strategy.

    I’ve wanted to try Nigella Lawson’s molten chocolate cake recipe for a long time now, and I’m not even *that* much of a chocolate person. In fact molten chocolatizing things other than chocolate cake, like quick breads, might be my key to finally trying it. Thank you for the craving-inducing photos and the inspiration!

    (I hope your pup heals soon so you can restock your kitchen with other things besides alcohol and bananas!)

  • Reply February 4, 2014

    Dani H

    O. M. G. ~ You evil, eeeeevil woman! Let me grovel at your feet (as I lick chocolate off of my lips.) This has got to be one of THE BEST ideas since time began! If they had known you would come up with a recipe like this, I bet the dinosaurs wouldn’t have died off. And, of course, this is the one and only time I have all of the ingredients on hand. Just past a month into a new year and all those resolutions about eating healthy and losing weight and… and… whatever the heck they were. Who cares now? Not me. This baby is calling my name along with some choice obscenities. To repeat, who cares? I’m heading off to preheat my oven right now!

    Sending positive energy to your dog-son, dear.

  • Reply February 5, 2014

    Erika

    You are my heeeeero. Okay I’m really glad to see that you’re celebrating CNY with molten chocolate banana bread because if I’m getting into the spirit of things, I’m contributing batch after batch of red velvet cake (sucess = questionable). Red = CNY-ish right? This looks SO luscious!

    And best wishes for your pup so you can go get non-banana/alcohol sustenance soon!!

  • Reply February 5, 2014

    Rliz

    Just when I thought you couldn’t take B. bread to another level, & believe me when I say “I have taken it to the woods & back” you have single-handedly reawakened the sweet tooth giant in me. As a newbie, it just seemed right that I tackle Banana bread as my first manly attempt to baking, and not pop the top of a box of cup cake mix. Dont get me wrong, cup cakes have a complexity all to their own as I try not to have every smoke detector sound off in my failure to create a savory, hearty, beefcake version to own up to. What you have created, takes me back to Augustus Gloop falling into Wonka’s Chocolate river. Oh how that Banana bread seems to always stay in fashion.

  • Reply February 5, 2014

    jennifer prod

    this might be the most delicious-looking thing that i’ve ever seen posted on a blog — i’m giving you the award for best dish celebrating excess. let’s all cheers to good times and dig in :)

  • Reply February 6, 2014

    cheri

    This is so beautiful, love this!

  • Reply February 6, 2014

    Sarah @ The Woks of Life

    Oh my goodness. As a fellow Beijing resident and food blogger often under house arrest myself for various gross-Beijing-air-related reasons, this looks like my next dessert!!

  • Reply February 9, 2014

    Ashlee

    Can I use all purpose flour instead of whole wheat flour?

  • Reply February 9, 2014

    Emily @ Life on Food

    Oh man! This looks amazing. Love, love, love the chocolate.

  • Reply February 9, 2014

    em

    looks delicious! i love a banana and chocolate combo. (ps- think you misspelled drown in the sixth sentence- sorry to be the spelling police! :) )

  • Reply February 10, 2014

    Barbara

    I’ve been making Chocolate Banana Bread for years but this recipe is a bit different.

  • Reply February 10, 2014

    ATasteOfMadness

    Just when I thought I have made every banana bread in the book, I see this. This looks SO good!

  • Reply February 13, 2014

    Joalta

    Do you think this would work with white chocolate ? It looks amazing!!

    • Reply February 13, 2014

      mandy@ladyandpups.com

      Joalta, I’ve never worked with white chocolate so I can’t say, but I don’t suspect why not. Let me know how it goes!

  • Reply February 13, 2014

    Mabel @ Miss. Hangrypants

    I hope muffin sized ones work for me!!! I am about to drool me a river.

  • Reply February 22, 2014

    Risa

    I always get suckered into buying the bargain bags of over-ripe bananas at the grocery store. I have made sooo many banana desserts that didn’t think I’d see another one I’d want to make. Thanks for the inspiration, this will be my next indulgence!

  • Reply March 2, 2014

    Caroline S

    I love this idea so much I tried it. I baked it at 375 for 27 minutes and it did not bake all the way through. When I flipped the pan the entire center crumbled. I’m going to add it to vanilla ice cream to salvage what I have.

    • Caroline, oops… gotta do it at a lower temperature for 45 to 50 min! AND PLUS letting it cool in the pan for 15 min before removing… I know it’s hard to do when it’s staring at your face but you gotta…

  • So we made this yesterday, and we’re still reeling from the deliciousness. I melted together some dark chocolate, chocolate chips, and some weird items from a box of Christmas Belgian chocolates that’s been sitting around for what’s beginning to seem like an unacceptably long time, PLUS a tablespoon of dark chocolate cocoa powder to replace some of the flour. It was, in a word, epic. Thanks for the awesome idea!!

  • Reply July 31, 2014

    triles

    Hi, I’m new to your blog. I was wondering if my mould (30 cm length, 12 cm width, 7 cm depth) would be suitable for this recipe? Thanks!

    • Reply August 1, 2014

      mandy@ladyandpups

      TRILES: Your pan is about 30% longer than mine, so either you’ll have to adjust the recipe by 30% more, or you’ll end up with a much shallower/shorter loaf. And I suspect it will bake quicker, too because of the depth. I will work but it might need a bit of luck.

      • Reply August 1, 2014

        triles

        Thanks for your reply.

  • Reply August 1, 2014

    triles

    I finally did this in individual muffin version (approx. 6 cm). Fan oven 190°C for about 25 minutes. The molten chocolate center doesn’t come out gooey but the “muffins” look just great. The banana bread is slightly sticky but delicious! Thanks again.

    • Reply August 1, 2014

      mandy@ladyandpups

      Perhaps you can shorten the baking time but at a higher temperature, so that the “muffin” parts cooks through with the chocolate part still gooey. Just a thought.

  • Reply August 20, 2014

    Allison

    I made this a few nights ago. OMG… So so delicious. Makes for a great diet-breaker.

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