Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips and Cacao Nibs


Today’s recipe is a staple in my baker’s arsenal.  It’s easy to throw together and so versatile that I’m pretty sure I’ve made at least five variations from the basic recipe.  There are the usual suspects: ripe bananas, brown sugar, cinnamon.  Add the types of chocolate and nuts to the equation, and think about the possible permutations!


This time, I added cacao nibs for a nice crunch.  Have you had them before?  The first time I tried it, the bitterness hit me like a punch in the face.  If you’re a milk chocolate person, you’ll probably have a hard time searching for that sweetness.  But if you generally prefer the subtle sweetness and complexity of dark chocolate, you’ll most likely get past the bitterness after few nibbles and actually enjoy the pleasant crunch and aftertaste.


This is also a recipe that makes use of brown bananas to its fullest potential!  In fact, you’ve to wait for the bananas to get really ripe before making it.  I have used unripened bananas and both the flavor and sweetness aren’t quite the same.  So be patient and you’ll be rewarded!


For the whipped topping (in the banana bread as well), I incorporated a teaspoon of the Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste Nielsen-Massey had sent me to review.  I love to use vanilla beans but it can be quite a hassle to remove the seeds from the vanilla pods.  The vanilla bean paste is such a convenient product; vanilla seeds are immersed in a thick syrup so that you can measure out a spoonful whenever a recipe calls for vanilla extract.  The best part is that you’ll get that beautiful flavor and the speckled effect without extra work. Win-win situation!


Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips and Cacao Nibs
Serves: 8
  • 3 ripe bananas (about 1 cup), mashed
  • ⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ¾ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla bean paste
  • 1½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup cacao nibs, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine mashed bananas, melted butter, brown sugar, and egg until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix until moistened. Fold in the chocolate chips and cacao nibs. Spread batter evenly into the prepared loaf pan.
  3. Bake in the oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool loaf in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.