This recipe is adapted from Deb's Jacked-up Banana Bread. I think I did a pretty good job of jacking it up even more! Does this make the official title jacked-up jacked-up banana bread? I don't know, that's why I'm going with banana bread with hazelnuts and chocolate.
With all of the millions of banana bread recipes out there, it is difficult to find the one that is perfectly perfect at the right time and place. Banana bread is like chocolate chip cookies, my favorite recipe is the one I'm eating right now! This is a good recipe, perhaps not the banana bread to end all banana breads, but pretty damn tasty.
We have a problem in our apartment with banana over-rippening. Instead of throwing the bananas away, we throw them in the freezer in hopes of making banana bread one day. We can all bake, yet no one ever makes banana bread :-( Our stockpile was getting pretty high so I've been looking for a new banana bread recipe to try. One of the first places I always look is the Smitten Kitchen, Deb has a superb collection of classic recipes with little twists. Also, I had a bag of hazelnuts that were calling my name after an impulse buy a couple of weeks ago!
I whipped up this banana bread on a quiet Sunday morning, my favorite time to bake! There is something so peaceful about waking up, turning on music, and baking in your pajamas. It's like the world hasn't really started yet. I love the peacefulness and by 10, I'm usually all cleaned up and ready to start my day eating something delicious!
This banana bread is nice and moist with a good amount of chew from the hazelnuts and applesauce. The chocolate chips give a little burst of sweetness but the bread isn't overly sweet. In general, this is a banana bread that you won't feel too guilty eating for breakfast! The background notes from the spices and bourbon add an excellent complexity to an otherwise simple recipe. And how can you beat a recipe that only requires one bowl and a spoon!?!?
Banana Bread with Hazelnuts and Chocolate Adapted from Smitten Kitchen Yield - 1 loaf
3/4 cup whole, roasted, unsalted hazelnuts 1 1/3 cup mashed bananas 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce 3/4 cup packed brown sugar 1 beaten egg 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 tablespoon bourbon 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon cloves 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 1/2 cups flour 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a loaf pan well.
- In a small, dry skillet roast the hazelnuts until they begin to smell nutty and turn slightly brown.
- In a large mixing bowl mash your bananas. Stir in the applesauce, brown sugar, beaten egg, vanilla, bourbon, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves with a wooden spoon.
- Sprinkle the salt and baking soda over the top and stir to combine.
- Add a 1/4 cup of flour to small bowl and set aside.
- Gently stir in the remaining 1 1/4 cups of flour.
- Crush the hazelnuts with a heavy jar and add 1/2 cup of hazelnuts along with the chocolate chips to the bowl with the 1/4 cup of flour. Toss to combine and stir gently into the batter. (This keeps the nuts and chocolate chips from sinking in the batter.)
- Add the batter to the greased loaf pan and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of crushed hazelnuts on top. Press the nuts slightly into the batter.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.
- Let the pan cool on a wire rack before removing the bread from the pan and allowing to cool further.