Double Chocolate Banana Bread

“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.” ― Dean Karnazes


Lately, I am dealing with some personal stuff which partly explains my absence here. So, instead of being consumed with more stress, I went for a run early on a Saturday morning to take some load off my mind. It was a beautiful morning indeed; the air was crisp to breathe while the light breeze against my face pushed me to run further. In spite of everything going on, I was grateful for my legs that allowed me to run fast and free. It was gratifying to be surrounded by the nature and mutually share the trail with other creatures who I believe have a common goal - to be better, happier and healthier than yesterday.  

On most days, I struggle to enjoy my present..there are emails to be  answered, projects to be completed, or things that need to be mended. My father constantly reminds me to keep my mind free at least few minutes in the morning and I tried to do so while running. I spent most of my energy consciously reminding myself to not think of anything else while the remaining energy was spent thinking about food - what the heck am I going to eat after my unofficial 10K? I don't know about you but I am a carb lover with a huge chocolate tooth. These waffles, double chocolate muffins, and whole wheat chocolate chip pancakes are some prime examples. 

Since I had been itching to use Samoan cocoa my friend Travis sent me a couple months ago straight from the Samoan Islands, I knew it had be some sort of baked goods. The blocks of Samoan cocoa he sent me is real deal, premium cocoa made with 100% cocoa beans with no additives, sugar, or dairy. By itself, it is little bitter with a strong chocolate flavor, therefore sugar is definitely needed, may be slightly more than what it calls for when incorporating in a recipe. 
After some head scratching, I settled in with banana bread, not just any banana bread but Deb's double chocolate banana bread. This double chocolate banana bread is a one bowl recipe that utilizes  basic pantry ingredients. However, I did make few adjustments such as using 100% whole wheat flour, little bit more sugar, and Samoan cocoa instead of unsweetened cocoa powder. Also, instead of baking it in a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan, I used three mini-loaf baking pans. 
In the past, I have made chocolate chip banana bread and vegan chocolate avocado banana bread in a loaf pan but this was my first time with paper mini-loaf pans. And actually I really liked it. If you lack self control with chocolate and carb-related things, using a mini-loaf pan is a wonderful idea. This way, you will have one loaf to indulge, the second one to share, and the third one for the freezer because you never know when there will be double chocolate banana bread crisis in your life. 
Like with any baked goods such as muffins and cake, allow the bread to cool (otherwise, it will fall apart, just trust me on this one) for a little bit which is probably the hardest part of this recipe. This double chocolate banana bread is simply delicious; I loved the bittersweet chocolate note and a hint of banana in each bite. If you are a fan of chocolate and banana together, I double highly recommend this recipe. 
Double Chocolate Banana Bread (Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen) makes 1 loaf ( 9 by 5 inches) or 3 mini-loaves Ingredients 3 medium ripe bananas 1/2 cup butter, melted 1 cup light brown sugar 1 large egg 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon table salt 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 cup 100% whole wheat flour 1 cup Samoan cocoa, very finely chopped 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chipsDirections - Pre-heat your oven to 350°F.
- Lightly grease the mini loaf liners with a little bit of butter or baking spray. - In a large bowl, mash bananas using a wooden spoon, then add in melted butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla extract.
- Add flour, Samoan cocoa, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon to the wet ingredients. 
- Stir in chocolate chips and combine everything.
- Pour the batter into three mini-loaves then bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. *Baking time is different if using a loaf pan versus mini-loaf pan.
- Allow it to cool for 8-10 minutes then loosen the sides using a knife. Remove from the pan into a cooling rack. Slice it and eat immediately and all day long. 
I read that banana bread will keep up to 4 days at room temperature when wrapped tightly, it never happens around me though. It can also be kept in the refrigerator for about 10 days. For crisis situations, you can also freeze them. Cover the bread with a plastic wrap then use an aluminum foil over it. Finally, place it in a ziplock container. Thaw the bread completely before using it. 

Happy Monday friends!

How do you guys deal with stress? I could really use some tips.

Has anyone tried Samoan cocoa before? I am curious as to what else I can do with it.