Dark Chocolate Banana Bread

While most banana breads tend to be on the sweeter side, the addition of dark cocoa powder strikes a nice balance with the banana and dulce de leche. To achieve the best flavor, use very ripe, plump bananas. If you have ugly bananas that are on the verge of spoiling but are unable to make this bread right away, peel and freeze them until ready to use.

2 cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup sugar

¼ cup dark cocoa powder

1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup traditional dulce de leche

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3 very ripe bananas, mashed

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, with a handheld mixer on medium speed, cream the butter with the dulce de leche until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs, vanilla and bananas until well combined. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake 50 to 60 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out almost clean. Cool for at least 15 minutes in the pan, then turn the cake out onto a wire cooling rack. Cut into thick slices to serve.  Bread keeps, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, at room temperature for 5 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.