Chocolate Chunk-Espresso Banana Bread

Here’s one way to redeem your bad bananas…

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/3 cups mashed, very ripe banana (about 5-7 largish bananas)
2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons espresso powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
8 ounces high quality chocolate (milk, semisweet or bittersweet), coarsely chopped
1 cup toasted, coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350º.  Butter and flour a 9×5” loaf pan, knocking out excess flour. In a medium bowl cream the butter on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute, then add the sugar and beat until creamy and light, another 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until the mixture is again creamy and light. Mix in the vanilla, then add the bananas, mixing on low just until incorporated.

Whisk the flour, espresso powder, baking soda and salt together and fold into the banana mixture by hand just until the flour disappears. Fold in the chocolate chunks and turn the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 50-65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (if you insert it and it comes back covered with melted chocolate, try again). If the banana bread is getting too brown on top, cover with foil until it tests done. When it’s ready, let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn out onto the wire rack, top side up, and cool completely. Makes one loaf.

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