Sunday, April 17, 2011

Vegan Chocolate Banana Bread

When I was growing up we had fruit for dessert after every meal. For a while I got to choose what kind of fruit I wanted and I almost always picked bananas, my favorite. After a few years my father decided that I was eating too many bananas and he cut me off, forcing me to choose other fruits. He now denies ever instituting such a ridiculous prohibition but my mother and I know the truth. Since my mother continued to buy almost as many bananas as she used to, but I was rarely allowed to go near them, I had to watch sadly as they turned spotted, then brown and finally completely black. In an effort to use up this surplus of overripe my mother started making banana bread.

From the beginning of her banana bread making days until now my mother has used the same recipe --- the one found in The Joy of Cooking. I became well acquainted with the recipe myself as soon as I was old enough to bake on my own. Heck, even my banana-hating father would bake a loaf every now and then. The recipe is practically an institution in my parents' home. Now, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with a classic recipe (after all, I am the girl who ate exclusively French vanilla ice cream for the first twelve years of her life) but I thought I could jazz up, and veganize, an old favorite. My parents and I agree this new version is as good, if not better, than the original.

Vegan Chocolate Banana Bread
Veganized and otherwise adapted from The Joy of Cooking's Quick Banana Bread recipe
Makes 1 loaf
  • 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup of very ripe banana pulp or about 2 medium brown-skinned bananas
  • 1/3 cup Earth Balance or other non-hydrogenated non-dairy butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup lite or regular silken tofu
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon lemon rind
1.  Preheat the oven to 350 F / 175 C. Grease, and optionally lightly flour, a loaf pan.
2.  Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt together into a large bowl and set aside. Put the rest of the ingredients in the food processor and whiz them until they're smooth. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix using a spatula until just combined. Transfer the dough into the loaf pan, smoothing the top with your spatula.
3.  Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the bread comes out clean. Once baked, let the bread sit in the pan for 5 minutes. Run a knife along the edges of the pan to loosen the loaf and then carefully flip it onto a plate.

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