Tuesday, June 21, 2011

#16: Chocolate Banana "Mini" Loaves

If there is one pastry or dessert I have been dying to recreate, it is Starbucks' banana chocolate chip coffee cake. You can ask around: I was always looking for an excuse to sample this stuff around the store while I worked for Starbucks. Heck, I even remember a competition that Gen and I had where she dared me to sell an entire reel of the stuff before the end of my shift, and I had it completed in 45 minutes, that's how good it was. Luckily for me, my Sandra Lee cookbook had a recipe that seemed fairly similar to the coffee cake I remember. I was a little hesitant to try it though- anything involving the word 'bread' or 'loaf' terrifies me. Although this recipe doesn't involve yeast (which... I am VERY scared of, but will tackle eventually), it does need to RISE in the oven... which technically all baked goods do, but there is just something scary about an entire loaf not rising... ah well, here is my recipe:

#16: Chocolate Banana Mini Loaves (as ADAPTED, very much so, from Sandra Lee's Bake Sale Cookbook)


Nonstick cooking spray (in my cookbook it's nonstick COKING spray... gosh, maybe it's the teacher in me, but I always get a little giggle when I find spelling issues in printed works)
3/4 cup banana chips
1 package (17.1 ounces) banana nut muffin mix
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup chocolate milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon imitation banana extract


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray two 6x3-inch miniature loaf pans with cooking spray; set aside.
     - Okay, this might have been the first culprit I had in the problem you'll read about later. I didn't have two miniature loaf pans, so I used one LARGER loaf pan. It wasn't huge, but nonetheless, I think it still caused some problems.

2. Place banana chips in a large zip-top plastic bag. Press out air; seal bag. Using a rolling pin, roll over the chips until crushed; set aside.
     - Culprit number two: At the grocery store I went to, they didn't have banana chips! After my issues trying to find cream of coconut, I vowed right then and there that I was NOT going all over town looking for banana chips. Side note: later that night, Stephen and I were out grabbing stuff for Fathers' Day, and we found cream of coconut at Fred Meyer. You HAVE to be kidding me!

3. In a large bowl, whisk together banana muffin mix and cocoa powder. Add chocolate milk, oil, and eggs, stirring until smooth (mixture will be thick). Stir in chocolate chips and banana chips (whoops!). Divide batter evenly among miniature loaf pans.

4. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack for 20 minutes.
     - This is when I ran into my major problem. I knew I needed to adapt the recipe for the ONE larger loaf pan, but I went ahead and decided just to go with the 40 minutes, since it was the maximum time suggested. Naturally, the top of the bread looked wonderful, but when I inserted a toothpick into the center of the loaf, it literally came out with the same batter I had put into the pan. The middle was completely raw! I stuck the loaf back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes, and when I pulled it back out, the top of the loaf was burnt! After scrapping off the carcinogenic burnt bits (I am NOT getting cancer AND obese from baking, sorry folks), my mom suggested I lower the temperature and cover the top of the loaf with foil to keep the top from overbaking, and allow the heat to stay inside the loaf. Smart woman. I did just that, and it worked, but when I popped the loaf out of the pan following the 20 minutes of cooling, I discovered the SIDES of the loaf were burnt! Oye vey. I ended up just cutting off the burnt pieces and calling it good... it still TASTED great.

5. For glaze, in a small bowl, stir together powdered sugar, heavy cream, and banana extract until a glaze consistency. Drizzle over loaves. Cool completely.
    - MAKE THIS GLAZE. If you've been reading my blog, you know I'm not a HUGE proponent of glaze, but this one is necessary. It makes the loaves so much more moist and the banana flavor is awesome. The only thing I would change is the amount of heavy cream added- it isn't enough! I think I doubled the recipe to make it thin enough to be able to drizzle it over anything.

After making this recipe, I really liked it. Again, it's a little rich for my taste, and I think instead of making loaves, I would instead use this batter and make cupcakes from it... that way I'd KNOW the insides would bake properly! It's great for Saturday morning breakfast, and impressing the boyfriend's parents with, no big deal...

It's a little roughed up from my improvements, but oh so good!

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