Chocolate Banana Date Bread

chocolate banana date bread
Are we still baking bread? Yes? Good. I am, too. I keep finding little bright spots in this pandemic, and one is the return of bread. It never fell out of favor our house, but it sure makes my heart happy that people are turning back to its goodness. It is the ultimate comfort food. 

chocolate banana date bread
This bread is decadent. Bordering on cake. Rich. Chocolatey. Soft and sweet. In other words, SO GOOD. 

I've developed a love affair with dates...dates as in Medjool dates. Please tell me you've had a chance to try these date squares. Since dates are sweet and sticky, I thought they'd be a perfect way to add sweetness and moisture to banana bread. Adding the dates to the mix enabled me to reduce a bit of the added sugar in the bread without losing sweetness. 

I love using instant espresso powder to boost the chocolate flavor. If you don't have it, don't worry...leave it out. I do recommend picking up a bottle. It lasts for ages and can be added to any chocolate dessert to bring out the chocolate. Obviously, it's also great in coffee-flavored desserts. What I'm saying is, you won't be sorry to pick up a jar.

chocolate banana date bread
Served warm or at room temperature, this bread is a treat for breakfast or a snack. We scarfed it all up in just a couple of days. 

Chocolate Banana Date Bread

1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas
1/3 cup chopped Medjool dates
4 tablespoons salted butter, melted
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg, room temperature and lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9 x 5" loaf pan. Line with strips for parchment leaving an overhang, grease the parchment. 

Whisk the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together. In a large bowl, beat the banana, dates, melted butter, oil, sugar, and egg together. Stir the vanilla with the espresso powder to combine. Beat into the mix. Stir in the flour/cocoa mixture just until combined. Fold in 3/4 chocolate chips.

Pour into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Sprinkle remaining chips on top. Bake for 55 - 65 minutes until done. 

Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then use the parchment to carefully lift the bread out of the pan. Continue cooling on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

*adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod Cookbook, chocolate banana bread

This is your new favorite banana bread, my friends. 

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