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Milk Chocolate Swirl Banana Bread

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Milk Chocolate Swirl Banana Bread
There are almost an unlimited number of ways that you can make a banana bread. The bread can be seasoned with baking spices, studded with muts or divided up into much smaller servings for muffins. And no matter how it is made, I always enjoy a freshly baked banana bread. This Milk Chocolate Swirl Banana Bread is a recipe that I like because it produces an attractive, flavorful loaf that is a bit different from your average banana bread. Though the bread isn’t too sweet, the chocolate gives it a richness that makes it just a little bit more satisfying to eat a slice or two!

The bread uses plenty of ripe, mashed banana and greek yogurt as a base. These two ingredients not only give the bread a great flavor, but they ensure that it stays nice and moist long after it comes out of the oven. Instead of using cinnamon, which is a common spice for banana bread, I used allspice, which is a little bit more complex and seems to highlight the banana a bit better. The batter is divided into two portions and melted chocolate is added to one portion. The two batters are then swirled together in a loaf pan and baked. You can minimally swirl the two batters if you prefer blocks of flavor, or your can give them a gentle swirl with a butter knife, which I did, to bring them together.

I opted to use milk chocolate in this bread instead of dark chocolate. Dark chocolate goes well with bananas, of course, but the sweetness of the milk chocolate goes very well with the natural sweetness of the fruit and blends into this bread nicely. The result is a bread that has a definite chocolate flavor that does not overwhelm the tropical banana notes. It is not overly sweet and can be a great addition to breakfast or dessert.

Milk Chocolate Swirl Banana Bread
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 ripe, medium bananas, mashed (about 3/4 cup)
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup greek yogurt or sour cream
2 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease a 9×5-inch bundt pan.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in the eggs one by one, waiting until each has been incorporated to add the next. Beat in vanilla extract and mashed bananas.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, allspice and salt. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mix and stir to combine. Add in the yogurt (or sour cream), followed by the remaining flour mixture.
In a small, microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate at 75% power until completely melted. Stir the mixture every 30-40 seconds to prevent burning, as chocolate can burn quickly if left unattended.
Transfer 1 cup of the banana batter into a medium bowl and stir in the melted chocolate, mixing until batter is uniform in color. .
Pour 2/3 of the plain banana batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth into an even layer. Spoon chocolate batter into the pan, then pour the rest of the plain batter over the chocolate layer, trying to cover it as much as possible (chocolate layer may not be completely covered). Run a butter knife through the batter gently to swirl.
Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly pressed.
Turn cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

Serves 10.

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