Cocoa Banana Loaf

I came home from five days in Idaho to these bananas, which my husband bought the day I left specifically so they would look like this upon my return.  This was a subtle hint that he wanted me to make banana bread.

I wanted to include chocolate, because in my opinion, it makes just about everything better.  I found this recipe in “Baking by Flavor” by Lisa Yockelson, and it definitely does not disappoint.  The combination of cocoa in the batter and chocolate chips distributed throughout make a rich and moist bread with great banana flavor as an undertone to the chocolate.
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 pound (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups mashed ripe bananas (I used 4 bananas to make this amount)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 F and spray a 9 x 5″ loaf pan with cooking spray
Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper. 
Cream the butter on medium speed for 2 minutes, then gradually add the sugar and beat for two minutes more.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Scrape down the bowl and add the vanilla.  
Blend in the mashed bananas.
With the mixer on low, add the sifted flour mixture in two parts, mixing just until all the flour is absorbed.  
Stir in the chocolate chips.
Spread the batter into the prepared baking dish.
Bake for about 1 hour, tenting with foil if the top gets dark (I had to put a foil tent on for the last 20 minutes).
Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for five minutes, then remove the bread from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
When cool, slice and enjoy.
(Note – I was so impatient I didn’t wait until the bread was cool, so my slices were a little messy but that was fine with me!)

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