Strong Arms for Kids

 
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I have a confession to make...I have no idea what buttermilk is, or for that matter, what it would be in Japanese, or even if it exists here.  It definitely didn't exist in the last place I lived (Nicaragua), so I started using yogurt in place of buttermilk, when its called for in recipes.  It sounds much healthier, as well.  I also have another confession, most of the time that I bake something, I don't taste it, so have no idea about the outcome of most of my baking recipes, except for what other people tell me.  There is, at least, always one person who will be blatantly honest with me about my baking (if it isn't completely obvious that it was a disaster).  My host mom in Nicaragua was an excellent critic.  She may have never tasted any of the treats that I used to make, before in her life, but that never stopped her from giving her honest opinions about my food, and of course, always adding her advice on how to make it better next time.  Thanks Maritza.  I wish I had a digital camera then, to document all the fun of baking in huge adobe ovens.  Well I have graduated to a convection oven now, which is tricky in its own way, also.  But, I am getting better.  This banana bread looked beautiful, but my third and final confession for this entry is that this bread is not at all good for you, so I didn't taste it.  Everyone seemed to enjoy, though.  And that's what really matters. Most people aren't a freak, like I am.  I got the basic recipe for this banana bread from an amazing baking blog called: The Knead for Bread  http://www.thekneadforbread.com/ but made some changes of my own.  This is a great website for all sorts of different breads.  I also made her Kiwi Banana Bread, which my new food critic told me was better than this Chocolate Banana Bread.  So you may want to check that one out, as well.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup soft butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 6 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup powdered cocoa
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • extra 1/4 cup of yogurt
Prep all your ingredients ahead of time, this will help to make sure you have everything you need and to make things move faster. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Using a wire whisk mix the dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl peel and mash your very ripe bananas. Add in the eggs, butter, vanilla and 1 cup of yogurt. Mix together with a wire whisk till well blended. Add in the white and brown sugar to the liquid mixture; stir till well blended. Now, separate the flour mixture into two bowls (make sure there are equal amounts in each bowl, use a measuring cup to separate). In one of the bowls add in cocoa powder and blend with a wire whisk. Take the banana mixture and separate into two bowls again (make sure there are equal amounts, use a measuring cup to separate). In the bowl that is going into the chocolate flour mixture add an extra 1/4 cup of yogurt and stir. Add the banana mixture into each bowl of flour. Now, mix each bowl just till blended. Add the chocolate chips into the chocolate bowl. Prepare into 5x9 loaf pans with a little shortening. Add a little of each mixture into pans being sure to alternate each mixture. Before putting in the oven, slice some fresh banana slices and put them on top of the loaves.  Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 55-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. If you are using a heat thermometer you want it to read between 180F to 185F. Allow to cool in the loaf pans for 10 minutes before removing and cooling on a wire rack.

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