This blackout banana bread is so deeply rich and chocolatey, you’ll seriously feel like you’re eating chocolate cake!
This post is sponsored by The Hershey Company, but all opinions are my own.
For this ultra-dark chocolate banana bread, I had the opportunity to partner with HERSHEY’S Kitchens again to highlight one of my favorite baking “secret weapons” I've been using for years when making chocolate desserts.
It’s the same baking secret weapon employed in my Dark Chocolate Eclipse Cake, and it has the power to elevate your homemade chocolate brownies, cakes, and baked goods from ordinary to out-of-this-world amazing.
Have you ever tried to make a chocolate dessert from scratch, hoping it would taste reminiscent of your favorite restaurant or bakery treat, only to be disappointed and confused when your results had a flat and somewhat bitter taste instead? The most likely culprit for this is that many restaurants or commercial chocolate baked goods, such as boxed brownies, cake mixes, and packaged chocolate puddings, will be made with Dutch cocoa as opposed to the more acidic natural cocoa you can more readily find on display at the grocery store. Dutch cocoa, which is still unsweetened just like natural cocoa, has been alkalized to neutralize the cocoa’s acidity, taking away the bitterness of natural cocoa powder. It gives baked goods a darker color and a bolder, richer flavor.
I’ve been a fan of the HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa, which uses a blend of natural and dutch cocoas, since one fateful night in college, when I was trying to make a chocolate pudding from scratch and couldn’t figure out why it didn't taste as good as the chocolate pudding that came in a box. So of course I turned to the internet, which is where I learned about the difference between regular natural and Dutch cocoa powders.
This extra dark and chocolatey banana bread was made especially for a friend who stayed with me a few weekends ago, because I figured it would be an easy breakfast to make ahead of time and have ready to serve in the morning. While I do also have a regular Chocolate Banana Bread recipe on the blog, I loved this darker version even more. Using the HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK cocoa in the banana bread took it to a whole new level of brownie-like, deliciousness!
Adapted from my Healthy Banana Bread Recipe
*Note: The oil version will be richer and will have a better texture; the oil-free version will be lower-calorie… So it depends on what you’re going for and to whom you are serving the bread.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the first six ingredients. In a separate mixing bowl, combine all remaining ingredients. Stir well. Pour dry into wet, and stir until just evenly combined. Spread batter evenly into the loaf pan. If desired, sprinkle chocolate chips over the top, and press down. Bake 45 minutes, then turn off the oven but don’t open the door! Let sit 10 additional minutes in the closed oven before removing. If your bread is still undercooked at this time, simply turn the oven back on and continue baking—checking every 5 minutes--until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Let the bread cool, and I recommend very loosely covering (or refrigerating) overnight before slicing, because the taste and texture are ten times better the next day!