Banana-Cocoa Bread

This is not too sweet, with a slight tang from the yogurt and a mellow olive oil undertone. I like the balance the cocoa powder imparts, but if you're partial to a simpler banana bread, omit it. I do think the olive oil is key here; butter is nice of course, but the olive oil really makes this special.

Makes 10 servings.

  • 1 cup whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dark or light-brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 very ripe, mashed bananas
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-by-5- inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix together the olive oil, maple syrup, eggs, banana, yogurt and vanilla. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and fold with a spatula until just combined. Add the nuts, if using. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden brown and a tester inserted in the middle comes about clean, about 50 minutes. Watch so it doesn't overbake.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn the loaf out of the pan to cool completely.