I had two years during a global pandemic to cook more at home than I ever thought possible. Hubs perfected sourdough bread, which is crazy since he can’t cook anything other than toast and oatmeal. Even though I am fairly confident in the kitchen, I was starting to gravitate towards my book Quicker Than Quick and other simple, but flavorful recipes.
I didn’t think I needed another banana bread recipe since I was very happy with my OG Date-Sweetened Banana Bread that I first taught in October 2009! But desperate, anxious times call for chocolate. When I decided to swirl chocolate banana bread with regular banana bread, it made me happy and gave me hope for the world!
If you couldn’t tell, this marbled banana bread is:
- MOIST from a full 2 cups of ripe bananas and olive oil, my new favorite fat to bake with.
- Ultra-chocolatey with melted chocolate chips and cocoa powder.
- Dairy-free – no butter, yogurt, or sour cream
- EASY – swirling is easier than it looks!
- Not too sweet, which is how I prefer my desserts.
Marbled Banana Bread Ingredients
- Bananas: They should be spotty so that they are sweet. You need 2 cups of mashed bananas which is about 3-4 bananas.
- Olive oil: I love oil in cakes and quick breads. Olive oil keeps the crumb moister for longer and the fruitiness of the oil is compatible with chocolate, spices and fruits.
- Flour: I use half whole grain flour and half white flour. I love the nutty flavor of whole grain flours and I especially love using spelt and oat flours in combination with other grain flavors. Oat flour contributes to the moist factor and spelt is less bitter than wheat.
- Eggs: they help bind everything together but I had success swapping in applesauce for a vegan version.
- Vanilla extract: pure extract with no added flavors or corn syrup solids adds a richness and natural sweetness.
- Cocoa powder: look for unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably an organic brand.
- Chocolate chips: I try to use chocolate chips or bars that have a higher percentage of cacao, which means there’s less sugar. Usually I buy dark or bittersweet.
How to Make Marbled Banana Bread
- Preheat the oven and prep your loaf pan by greasing it and lining it with parchment paper.
- Melt the chocolate chips and stir in cocoa powder. Set aside.
- Combine remaining wet ingredients (banana, oil, eggs, vanilla) AND sugar in a bowl.
- Combine dry ingredients (flours, leavening agents and salt) in a bowl.
- Add banana mixture to dry mixture and stir until just combined.
- Key step: remove 1 cup of the batter and stir it into the reserved chocolate mixture.
- Alternate both batters in the loaf pan.
Tips for Making Marbled Banana Bread
- Use room temperature ingredients: this will help everything combine well and give the bread a tender crumb.
- Use well-speckled bananas for the sweetest flavor.
- Don’t make substitutions that aren’t listed if you don’t know if they’ll work.
- When swirling the batters together, less is more. It is possible to OVER-SWIRL, which would result in no swirl!
Substitutions for Marbled Banana Bread
- Eggs: use 100 ml of unsweetened applesauce
- Flours: for gluten-free, use half GF oat flour and half your favorite GF flour blend, such as King Arthur Multipurpose GF Flour + 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum.
- Sugar: for a less refined sweetener, choose maple sugar.
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- 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (about a heaping 1⁄2 cup)
- 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder or cacao powder
- 1⁄2 cup unrefined olive oil or melted coconut oil + additional for greasing the pan
- 2 cups mashed, well-speckled bananas, about 3½ large or 4 medium
- 1⁄2 cup maple sugar or brown sugar
- 2 large eggs or 100 grams of unsweetened applesauce (just shy of a 1⁄2 cup)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole wheat einkorn flour, whole wheat pastry flour, whole spelt flour, oat flour OR whole grain flour of choice*
- 1 cup all-purpose einkorn, all-purpose wheat, OR white spelt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1⁄2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
- 3⁄4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- Add-in ideas: 1⁄2 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts) or chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with a little oil and line with unbleached parchment paper.
- Place the 3 ounces of semisweet chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and stir in the cocoa powder. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, stir together the oil, mashed banana, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt + nuts, if using. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir until just combined.
- Remove 1 cup of the banana bread mixture and add it to the chocolate mixture and stir to combine.
- Alternate each batter in the prepared loaf pan. Take a skewer or the tip of a thin knife and swirl the batters together. Less is more here! Don’t swirl too much or you won’t end up with a marbled bread. Bake in the center of the oven for 60-75 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. If the bread is browning too quickly, tent the top with foil.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes and then remove from pan and cool on a cooling rack.
After two days at room temperature, wrap in plastic wrap for a few more days or wrap in foil, place in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before serving.