I bake banana bread on a regular basis for a number of reasons; one, because it’s so easy, two, because it’s tasty, and three, because there’s nothing better than a mug of thick hot chocolate to go with it. I have made other recipes for banana bread (or loaf, you can call it what you want) in the past. You will find at least another two in this blog. And most probably I have told you that those were two of my favourites. Well, I have to include this one in that list.
You will find a really good one in Paul Hollywood’s How to Bake (Bloomsbury, 2012). You will find a chocolate and walnut version of this right here, which is almost identical to the version found in the book. Please note that the book version omits the chocolate. It’s a pity I didn’t bother to look for the online version before: it would have made for a much prettier photo. But not to worry…fortunately I *always* have a small stash of chocolate in the pantry, for which I now have use!
The recipe in the book calls for the following:
- 3-4 large bananas, ripe and mashed
- 250g caster sugar
- 125g soft unsalted butter
- 2 eggs
- 250g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 120g walnut pieces
Just follow the link I have given you above for the method. What I did was a little bit different, because I wanted to use up some chopped hazelnuts which as usual were bought for another recipe. (No surprise there!) I had 3 very ripe bananas, 80g walnut pieces, topped the rest with the hazelnuts, and added 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, not sure why. Perhaps because I usually do…Enjoy!
Some months ago I was going through my pantry and noticed that I had a whole packet of unopened hazelnuts. That’s very me unfortunately. It’s no news that sometimes I tend to buy food stuffs without really planning ahead. I’m improving though…Honest! Solution: Twitter and the lovely James Tanner. James kindly sent me a link to his recipe for Chocolate Nut Brownies. I changed it slightly because I had to work with what I had in the pantry at the time but the result was fantastic all the same. I’m no expert when it comes to alcohol so I just put my hand in the drinks cabinet and grabbed the first thing that was in there. That turned out to be a bottle of Islay, which was a good choice. Also I used 300g of hazelnuts instead of the selection which James uses because that’s all I had. Anything you use will be great anyhow: one of the beauties of these rich chocolate babies. You will love them. James, thanks again for this recipe. It was a hit.
- 560g dark chocolate, cut into small chunks
- 330g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 2 shots Islay whiskey (or water)
- 1 tablespoon of coffee granules/or a shot of espresso
- 5 large eggs
- 330g golden caster sugar
- 175g plain flour, sifted
- 300g toasted hazelnuts
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/Gas mark 4, and line a 2 inch deep, 12 inch square baking tin with parchment paper.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a small bowl over a pan of simmering water, and make sure that the water doesn’t touch the base of the bowl. Stir occasionally.
In another heavy-based pan, gently heat the whiskey (or water) together with the coffee granules until these dissolve.
With an electric whisk, beat the eggs and the sugar in a medium bowl, also over a pan of simmering water, until the double in volume. This is called a Sabayon or Zabaglione. It should turn light and pale. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Slowly fold in the melted chocolate mixture into the Sabayon. Be gentle so you retain all that lovely airy texture. Now mix in the hazelnuts.
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes. Leave to cool slightly and cut into squares.
Note: If you don’t have an electric hand whisk you can still make these brownies but it will take *a lot* of whisking. But it’s not impossible. Take it from me – I tried and tested it!