Where do I begin? With the cocoa-dusted banana bread, the chocolate crepes, or the Saturday Night Live celebrity walking a goat on the beach?
I'll begin with Jen. You know how there are girlfriends who will talk smack to you, but you secretly love it? That's Jen. She's got a dazzling smile, a vivacious personality, and the ability to discuss anything, and I do mean anything, without blushing. I feel more alive when she's in the room.
Before she arrived, I made her this banana bread. When she tasted it, she said, "Why didn't you put chocolate chips in it?" and I was like, why didn't I put chocolate chips in it? So feel free to, though I also like the subtlety of the cocoa flavor on its own.
The next day Debbie arrived. Debbie is a paragon of sincerity and Midwestern charm. She's beautiful and smart. Somehow I've managed not to offend her with my dry, biting asides in the 12 years we've known each other and she continues to tolerate me and my residual New Yorkness. She also agreed to hold up the chocolate crepes I made even though I told her I was going to fuzz out her face.
So here's the second half of the story, which I'm sharing somewhat sheepishly. Debbie, Jen, and I are on the beach and all of a sudden a goat starts walking along the surf. So what do I do? Grab my camera and start snapping photos of this ridiculous out-of-place animal. Click, click, click. I'm not paying attention to the people with the goat, but eventually I do look up.
It's Seth Meyers with 2 friends. I've got my camera around my neck and I look at him like, okay, I swear I was just talking pictures of the goat and I promise I will not sell these photos to US Weekly or the National Enquirer because really, I am a Very Good Person and that would be Beneath Me. (I did get one with him in the frame, though. But I'm not posting it here. Even if you beg me.)
I wish I'd had some cocoa banana bread with me. I so would have offered him a piece.
Recipe for Cocoa-Dusted Banana Bread
This recipe is an adaptation of the cherry banana morning cake I posted a few weeks ago, though it's far simpler because I didn't use any electric gizmos. I also added cocoa to both the batter and the topping and used a bit of whole milk yogurt for moistness. Feel free to fold in a handful of chocolate chips at the end for a more pronounced chocolaty flavor.
Makes one 8" square cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 very ripe and speckled bananas, mashed
3 tablespoons whole milk yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Handful of chocolate chips, optional
1 tablespoon cocoa powder + 1 teaspoon powdered sugar, for sifting over the cooled cake
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8 x 8 x 2" square cake pan with nonstick spray and fit the bottom with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the melted butter and granulated sugar with a wooden spoon until well-combined. Add the egg and beat until incorporated. Mix in the mashed banana, yogurt, and vanilla, beating well until you have a fairly uniform batter. Add the flour mixture and beat just until the dry ingredients are absorbed. (Don't neglect the bottom of the bowl.) If using chocolate chips, fold them in now.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
Bake in the center of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes, then carefully unmold to continue cooling. When completely cool, spoon the remaining cocoa into a small sifter along with the powdered sugar and sift over the cake. Cut into generous squares and serve.