Disclaimer: I truly have no idea in which recipe category this Mint Chocolate Chip Banana Bread belongs.
It started out as a breakfast bread. I mean, it is banana bread, after all. But, then, slowly, unwittingly, it morphed into a dessert. The mint chocolate and ganache and a liberal sprinkling of candy canes kind of sealed its fate.
So, I left it up to the twins to decide its place. Both of them thanked me for letting them have cake for breakfast. As a result, I think it should be a dessert. But, again, it’s banana bread.
Listen, I totally understand if my lack of commitment bothers you. Quite frankly, it’s not setting well with me, either. So, maybe let’s call it a Breakfast Dessert. Done and done.
What is Mint Chocolate Chip Banana Bread?
Well, it’s pretty straightforward and to the point- minus the whole, “I don’t know what it really is,” situation.
It’s a banana bread. But, I came up with this mint chocolate chip version because I was bored with the same ol’ routine. You see, unlike most normal folks, I don’t like banana bread. I do, however, like anything with chocolate, covered in chocolate, and/or topped with candy. And, because I made this with a low-fat Greek yogurt from Nounos Creamery, all that decadence doesn’t induce any guilt. And before you even get into it with me, no, you can hardly taste the banana bread. It’s like a mint chocolate wonderland that’s healthy…ish.
You’ll need very ripe bananas for this bread. Like, so ripe you think they’re rotten. Peels with lots of black spots, please. Grab the cocoa powder, all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips from the pantry. Eggs, heavy cream, and yogurt from the fridge are going to be used, as well. Now just swipe a couple of peppermint candy canes from the tree or from the kiddos stockings and you’re ready to bake!
Combine the dry ingredients
The key to a soft textured quick bread is handling the final batter as little as possible. Because there’s gluten in the flour, it wants to develop and toughen, which ends up making your bread tough if overworked. As a result, quick breads (muffins, coffee cakes, and the like) should always be mixed in stages. The separate mixing of the wet and dry ingredients is the best way to avoid a tough mint chocolate banana bread.
The first stage is combining the dry ingredients together. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, all-purpose flour, baking soda, and salt. Use a high-quality, dutch-processed cocoa powder. You want a deep chocolatey flavor in this bread and a high-quality cocoa powder is the key to this.
If you want a really light crumb to your mint chocolate banana bread sift together these ingredients, instead. Sifting aerates the dry ingredients, making the overall texture lighter. I’m okay with a slightly dense bread, so I’m not going to bother with sifting.
Whip up the wet ingredients
In a separate mixing bowl, use an electric hand mixer to whip the eggs and the sugar together. Start mixing on the lowest speed until the mixture is combined, then increase the speed to high. Whip these together for 4-5 minutes, or until the beaters leave ribbons in the surface of the egg mixture.
Add the yogurt to the wet ingredients.
You’ll notice that we’re not using any fat at all in this recipe. Substituting yogurt- yes, even low-fat yogurt- for the oil not only lowers the fat content, it also increases the protein content of the baked bread. Which…I don’t know, my friend, I’m feeling like it’s bringing this back around to a breakfast bread.
But, back to business. Add the low-fat Greek yogurt. I’m using a vanilla flavored yogurt from Nounós Creamery. Nounós isn’t made with processed thickeners, which, to me, is important. The use of a vanilla yogurt adds to the flavor without my having to add yet another ingredient. You can also use their plain whole fat or low-fat Greek flavors in this recipe.
After adding the yogurt, blend the mixture together for a minute. Add the mashed bananas to the bowl and give the concoction another 1 minute blend.
The importance of being peppermint
Not all mint extracts are created equal. For example, picking up a bottle labeled “Mint Extract” will result in a product that tastes like spearmint chewing gum. I don’t know about you, but I barely like spearmint in gum- so, eating a slice of spearmint-flavored anything isn’t high on my bucket list. That’s why it’s important to purchase peppermint extract. Peppermint extract is what gives things that classic mint chocolate taste.
Once you’ve picked up the proper mint extract, add a teaspoon of it to the wet ingredients.
Combine the ingredients
Now that both sets of mixes have been…well…mixed, combine them by adding the wet to the dry ingredients. Fold them together just until the flour is absorbed- not any longer.
Using a rubber spatula, fold in a cup of high-quality, dark chocolate chips (I like Guittard). If you want to cut down on the decadence, use a semi-sweet chocolate chip. Please don’t bother with a milk chocolate. It’s just not even worth the effort. I mean, if that’s all you have or you really, really love it, then I suppose it can be overlooked…I guess.
Pan and bake the Mint Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Scrape the batter into a lightly greased loaf pan. This loaf pan is fairly wide at 5 1/4″. If you want a taller piece of banana bread, use a narrower pan instead. The baking time shouldn’t change by much- 5 minutes longer, tops.
Pop the pan into an oven that’s been preheated to 350°F (177°C) and bake for 50-55 minutes. Test the loaf’s doneness (that’s a word, right?) by sticking a toothpick into the middle of the baked loaf. If it comes out crumbless, you’re good to go- remove it from the oven. Keep in mind that there may be a smear of chocolate from the chips on there. Look specifically for breadcrumbs.
Now that your mint chocolate banana bread is fully baked, allow it to cool for 10 minutes on the countertop. Afterwards, remove the loaf from the pan and allow it to cool completely. You want it cool prior to adding the ganache.
Glaze and sprinkle
While you’re waiting for your banana bread to cool, prepare the chocolate ganache.
It’s so simple, there’s no need for images. Combine the heavy cream and chocolate chips together in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 1 minute on high, then remove the bowl from the oven and stir the two together until smooth. If you find it’s too cold, and the chocolate isn’t melting, heat it- in 30 second bursts- until the chocolate melts completely. Done!
Ladle a generous amount of ganache onto the surface of the mint chocolate chip banana bread. Allow the ganache set up for 15-20 minutes. Placing the loaf into the fridge helps to speed up the setting up process. You want the ganache to have a slightly firm exterior so the candy canes don’t dissolve into the chocolate.
If you plan to freeze the loaf, it’s best to do so prior to adding the chocolate ganache. Just wrap the cooled loaf in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to two months.
If you plan to serve and eat this mint chocolate banana bread all on the same day, sprinkle the entire loaf with the crushed peppermint candy canes. But, if you don’t think you’ll get around to eating the entire loaf, slice the bread, then sprinkle the candy canes on the individual slices.
I make note of this because, no matter what I’ve tried, after a day, the candy cane pieces do this weird, seepy, turning-to-liquid on the surface of the ganache thing. It’s not harmful at all, it just looks gross.
However, or whenever, you garnish the loaf, do so generously. That’s half of the fun of eating this banana bread.
Serve and enjoy
Now that your mint chocolate chip banana bread has been ganached and candy caned, you’re all set to enjoy it.
Milk is my beverage of choice as it cuts through the richness of the banana bread.
Guess how I served the second helping of this Mint Chocolate Chip Banana Bread? Under a scoop of my Vanilla Frozen Custard. When I say the pride swelled up in my chest…shoooo! You couldn’t tell me nothing! Try it with the frozen custard or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Wait!! Wouldn’t that change it back to a dessert?!?
Okay, so I still haven’t been able to determine if it’s a dessert or a breakfast, but at this point, does it really matter!?!?
Let’s just pin it and share it with our friends, why don’t we? We don’t need titles to define our foods, right?
Mint Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
This quick to assemble banana bread is a beautiful mix of breakfast and dessert.
- 3/4 cup (100g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (50g) cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon (4g) baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon (2g) kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon (1g) ground cinnamon (optional)
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (125g) low-fat Greek yogurt
- 3 ripe bananas, mashed
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1 cup (175g) dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup (175g) dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream
- 2 crushed candy canes
Preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C). Lightly grease a 9x5" loaf pan with baking spray.
In a separate mixing bowl, use an electric hand mixer to whip the eggs and the sugar together.
Start mixing on the lowest speed until the mixture is combined, then increase the speed to high. Whip for 4-5 minutes, or until the beaters leave ribbons in the surface mixture.
Add the yogurt, mashed bananas, and peppermint extract to the wet ingredients.
Blend the mixture together for 2 minutes.
Combine the wet to the dry ingredients. Fold them together just until the flour is absorbed.
Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate chips.
Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes on the countertop before removing the loaf from the pan and allowing it to cool completely.
Prepare the Chocolate Ganache
Combine the heavy cream and chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl.
Heat for 1 minute on high, then remove the bowl from the oven and stir until smooth.
If you find that the chocolate is not melting, heat it in 30 second bursts- whisking after each- until the chocolate is smooth.
Once the bread is cool, ladle a generous amount of ganache onto the surface of the mint chocolate chip banana bread.
Allow the ganache set up for 15-20 minutes. Placing the loaf into the fridge helps to speed up the setting up process.
Sprinkle the entire loaf with the crushed peppermint candy canes.
Serve and enjoy on its own with a glass of milk or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
If you plan to freeze the loaf, it's best to do so prior to adding the chocolate ganache. Just wrap the cooled loaf in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to two months.
If you plan to serve and eat this mint chocolate banana bread all on the same day, sprinkle the entire loaf with the crushed peppermint candy canes. But, if you don't think you'll get around to eating the entire loaf, slice the bread, then sprinkle the candy canes on the individual slices.
We all need some Quick Bread recipes in our lives.
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