Banana Zucchini Bread with Chocolate and Walnuts

The end of summer is one of the best times to eat seasonally, as plenty of produce are in abundance. While I enjoy sweet juicy summer fruits like peaches and berries on its own, zucchini, a summer squash, needs a little transformation to truly be palatable. My favorite way of consuming zucchini is in the form of a quick bread, like I’ve done before.

IMG_4317

Then 19-cent Trader Joe’s bananas beckoned to me and I thought… how about a banana zucchini bread?! Banana bread is awesome. Zucchini bread is awesome. They should be married together in a happy bread combination!

IMG_4321_1

I knew I wanted chocolate in my bread, because sweets don’t spell “dessert” to me unless there’s chocolate in it. I started off by looking at banana zucchini bread recipes, and after comparing a few, I used this Allrecipes recipe as a base and made some tweaks. I halved the recipe because I don’t want to be eating banana zucchini bread for days. I also used less sugar, knowing that the banana and the chocolate will add a bit of sweetness. I used less flour as I wanted the bread to be more chunky from half-mashed banana pieces and chocolate bits, and added more zucchini so the bread would be moister.

IMG_4316

And it was perfect. The muffins have a delectably browned muffin top, and the inside is studded with mashed banana, chocolate chunks, and walnut pieces. It’s not quite as sweet as a typical banana bread, yet is still very moist. I love the textural contrast that this moist yet densely packed muffin provides. At 204 calories apiece, I think I’ll allow myself a few more.

Banana Zucchini Bread with Chocolate and Walnuts
Adapted from Allrecipes
Makes 12 muffins or 1 8×4 loaf pan

1 1/2 (73g) large eggs
6 tbsps vegetable oil
1/3 cup (67g) packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (45g) white sugar
1 cup grated zucchini
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups (180g)  sieved all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (34g) dark chocolate (optional, can be swapped out for raisins, cranberries, etc.)
1/4 cup (30g) chopped walnuts (optional, can be swapped out for pecans)
Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. If making a loaf, grease and flour one 8×4 loaf pan.

In a large bowl, beat eggs until light yellow and frothy. Add oil, brown sugar, white sugar, grated zucchini, bananas, and vanilla; blend together until well combined. Stir in the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix in the chocolate and nuts. Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes for muffins, or 50 minutes for a loaf. Allow to cool in the muffin cups or loaf pan on a wire rack before removing and serving.

Banana-Infused Whiskey


I’m a big whiskey person (as evident from my boozy desserts) and when I saw this banana-infused whiskey in the weekend section of the WSJ, I knew I had to replicate it for myself. The recipe only involved two ingredients and four days. Of course I had to do this for myself!

And boy, was it oh so delicious! I was slightly hesitant about buying a bottle of Jameson because it’s slightly pricier than my beloved Jim Beam (which I’ve found to be a perfect balance between cheap whiskey and good whiskey) but I’m so glad I did anyway. The bananas take the bite out of whiskey, and what you’re left with is a smooth, almost honeyed liquid that smells like bananas and tastes a little sweet going down your throat. It’s perfect just by itself on the rocks. Which reminds me, I really should invest in some rocks glasses if I’m about to be drinking more whiskey… drinking alcohol in a mug really isn’t very cool.

This is probably the rocks glass I’d want if I were going about getting rocks glasses.


This is a Matterhorn glass from Tale. Isn’t it exceedingly exquisite? It makes me want to see the Matterhorn, now.

Banana-Infused Jameson
From The Wall Street Journal
3 bananas, peeled and sliced
1 750ml bottle Jameson Irish Whiskey

Place bananas and Jameson into a sealed container for three to four days. (It doesn’t have to be refrigerated!) Strain out banana slices using a mesh strainer and discard. The infusion should be slightly viscous and cloudy—this gives the drink its unique texture, body and flavor. Pour infused Jameson back into container or bottle. Serve in a rocks glass with a single cube.

Bourbon Banana Muffins

These bourbon banana muffins might not be lookers but they definitely pack a powerful punch. You wouldn’t think to combine bananas and bourbon but I personally would find any excuse to sneak alcohol in my desserts. The muffins are very moist and flavorful, and have a great texture. You can’t just stop at one.

Bourbon Banana Muffins
From Cookie Madness
Makes 1 dozen muffins

1 1/2 cups (6.8 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup extra light olive oil or vegetable oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg plus 2 tablespoons lightly beaten egg
1 1/2 very large or 2 small bananas, mashed
1/2 cup bourbon whisky
3 tablespoons water

Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease 12 muffin tins.

Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl and stir well to mix.
In a mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the oil, sugar and vanilla until well mixed. Add the egg and beat until light, then reduce mixer speed and beat in the mashed banana and bourbon. By hand, stir in the flour mixture and the water just until mixed. Pour the batter into the muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes. If you like, sprinkle nuts and chocolate chips down the center of the loaf before baking. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then carefully remove from the pan.

Banana-Oat Walnut Bread

Despite this being called a dessert blog, I don’t make dessert all the time. I might want dessert all the time, but I simply don’t have enough calories allotted to eat everything I want. So, I improvise. I fulfill my desire to create by adding a chock-full of healthy ingredients into what could otherwise be dessert masquerading as healthy food. This, is actually good for you. Bananas, bran, oatmeal and walnuts. No better way to put your digestive system to work.

Of course, the downside to using no fat and less sugar is that you get something that tastes like health food. I probably tweaked the recipe a little too much, but I’m going to reproduce the original so you know what to do.

Banana-Oat Walnut Bread
Makes one 9×5 loaf
Adapted from Allrecipes

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup white sugar (I used 1/3 cup)
  • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/3 cup nonfat milk
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I omitted this)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup white whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/4 cup bran)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Spray a bread pan with non-stick cooking spray, and lightly dust with flour.
  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in bananas, applesauce, milk, oil and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir flour mixture into banana mixture, mixing just until blended. Fold in walnuts. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  4. Bake in preheated pan until golden and a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour. Turn bread out onto a wire rack and let cool.