Chocolate and dark sweet cherries add a special something to this Cherry Chocolate Chip Banana Bread!
I am such a sucker for a good deal. A few weekends back, I was in Cleveland with a couple of my girlfriends for a fun getaway. We visited the West Side Market in the afternoon, taking our time wandering the aisles and drooling over every pastry, roll, pasta, and bun we passed. We had every intention of making it to the fruit and vegetable stands before it was too late, but by the time we got there, most of the shops were closing up.
I had only one thing on my list–fresh figs–which I’ve found are hard to come by at my usual grocery stores. I made a beeline for the fig vendor, but was stopped in my tracks by a vendor holding a huge box of fresh berries and yelling “Five dollars!” I made the mistake of looking over and appearing vaguely interested. I further inspected the box, and realized it was full of 8 clamshells of raspberries. It was certainly a great deal, but I didn’t really need raspberries, especially not 8 clamshells full. I started walking away when she grabbed another box, this time full of 8 quarts of strawberries, and offered that to me for $5 as well. I lingered. I couldn’t help myself. It was such a good deal. And the longer I lingered, the more she added. A bunch of bananas was thrown in, and then a pound of cherries. At this point, I yelled “I’ll take it!” and quickly agreed to pay the woman, if for no other reason than to get her to stop adding things to the box.
So there I was, making my poor girlfriends schlep huge boxes of un-planned for fruit back to the car, where they would have to travel two hours with us back to Columbus. What can I say? That was a screaming deal.
Back at home, my husband just rolled his eyes and helped me clear space in the fridge. I made short work of the strawberries and raspberries, freezing most of them for smoothies and a little taste of summer in my winter oatmeal. The bananas and cherries were left out for snacks and breakfasts. Unfortunately, I had already bought a bunch of bananas earlier in the week, so before I knew it the whole bunch was dangerously spotted.
We were in banana bread or toss territory, and really there’s only one right choice in this situation. I pulled up my favorite Sour Cream Banana Bread and got to work. I knew I wanted to add chocolate chips to this bread, but then I spotted the cherries still hanging out in the fridge. I have a deep affection for chocolate and cherries thanks to my Salted Milk Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies. I figured it couldn’t hurt to toss a few cherries into the bread and see what happened.
What happened, my friends, was something wonderful. I am eating a piece of this bread as I type, and it’s hard to focus on words when you’re licking chocolate and banana crumbs off your mouth. I like to serve this bread warm, either from the oven, or heated in the microwave after being stored in the fridge. The combination is rich and comforting, with melty chocolate giving way to subtly spiced banana bread and the occasional burst of sweetness from the dark cherries. As my son says, this “nana bed” is deeee-lish. Definitely give it a try if you’re looking for a special twist on an old favorite.
Cherry Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Classic banana bread dotted with chocolate chips and dark sweet cherries.
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 large very ripe bananas
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- 1 cup halved dark sweet cherries, divided
- 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
Grease a 9 inch bread pan very well with butter. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Whisk together until smooth and no brown sugar lumps remain. Whisk in the Greek yogurt, then add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.
In another bowl, mash the bananas then whisk them into the Greek yogurt mixture.
Sprinkle the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon on top then stir it together until no white remains. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the cherries for the top of the bread. Toss the remaining cherries with the 2 Tablespoons of flour then gently fold them into the batter along with the chocolate chips.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and layer the reserved cherries on top. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Check the pan after about 40 minutes. If the top is getting too browned, cover with foil for the remaining baking time. Allow the bread to cool before removing from the pan (after you sneak a slice warm from the oven, of course.) Wrap leftovers in saran wrap. Bread will keep for up to a week in the fridge. I recommend reheating slices in the microwave before serving.
I usually use sour cream in my banana bread recipe, but when I discovered I was out, I substituted plain Greek yogurt and had equally great results. I recommend using whatever you like better or happen to have on hand.