It’s All Chocolate! All Month! in the LunaCafe OtherWorldly Kitchen. As usual during the Month of Love, I am covered in chocolate: milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, white chocolate, and unsweetened cocoa powder. All in an effort to come up with the most delectable, memorable Valentine’s Day dessert ever.
This year, I want to create several homey, comforting chocolate desserts that are both out of the ordinary and easy to make. Nothing fancy that takes hours to make or breaks the bank. It has just been that kind of year.
Last week it was Mexicano Chocolate Ebelskivers with fragrant cardamom, ancho chile, cayenne, and Mexican vanilla. I pushed the whole adventure over the top by filling some of the ebelskivers with Burnt Caramel. But in essence, these are pancake balls, both fun to make and fun to eat.
This week I supervised a bunch of bananas over several days as the skins turned first a speckled brown and then eventually almost black. I feared I was letting them go too far near, but needed the peak of full banana flavor for this tea loaf. Otherwise, the dark chocolate would steal, rather than share, the limelight.
When I tasted the batter, it was lovely, deeply chocolate with the haunting essence of banana. But it needed an additional counterpoint. So in went a generous measure of freshly grated ginger, a hint of cardamom, and enough white pepper to leave a lingering heat on the palate after the last bite.
The result is exceedingly delicious, out of the ordinary, and, yes, memorable.
But the aspect of this tea loaf that surprises me most is its keeping quality. The texture, moistness, and flavor improved each day for nearly a week, right up until I ate the last comforting, chocolaty bite.
Chocolate, Banana & Fresh Ginger Tea Loaf
This is the most unusual banana bread I have ever created. I love the spicy heat from both the grated fresh ginger and the freshly ground white pepper. The hint of cardamom complements the chocolate exceedingly well.
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons King Arthur unbleached, all-purpose flour (5 ounces)
½ cup high quality, unsweetened, natural process cocoa powder (1.2 ounces) (tested with Scharffenberger cocoa)
1¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
½ cup sugar
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs, cool room temperature, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
1½ cups mashed, very ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
2 tablespoons peeled, finely grated fresh ginger (1 ounce prepared)
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper (or less if you don’t want the heat)
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- Set an oven rack in the middle of the oven with plenty of room above it and preheat the oven to 350°.
- Coat an 8½- by 4½-inch (5-6 cup capacity) loaf pan with vegetable spray and then a light layer of flour, tapping out any excess flour that does not cling to the pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In another large mixing bowl, using a large whisk, whisk together the melted butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla until creamy and smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Stir the mashed banana, grated ginger, white pepper, and cardamom into the batter.
- Add the flour mixture to the batter, and with a large spatula, combine gently but well. No flour should remain visible in the batter.
- Spoon the batter immediately into the prepared pan, and set in the center of a preheated 350° oven.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes. If the loaf is pulling away from the edges of the pan, immediately pull it from the oven. Hopefully you will catch it before this point. Over baking this bread makes it dry.
- Let the loaf cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before turning it out of the pan to cool completely. Cut into slices to serve.
- To store, wrap well in two layers of plastic wrap, and store in a cool dry place.
Makes one 8½- by 4½-inch loaf.
More LunaCafe Chocolate Cakes + Tea Loaves
- Bittersweet Chocolate & Cabernet Butter Cake
- Chocolate Almond Pound Cake
- Heavenly Chocolate Beet Tea Loaf
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Copyright 2012 Susan S. Bradley. All rights reserved.