Going Bananas for Nutella: Chocolate-Hazelnut Banana Bread

I happened to see a New York Times recipe for Chocolate-Hazelnut Banana Bread when I had a bunch of ripe bananas on hand. And since I always have Nutella in the cupboard, I decided to give the recipe a try.

This recipe doesn't require a mixer, but it's not a one-bowl project either because you need to dirty a saucepan to brown some butter. I browned the butter and transferred it (brown bits and all -- I often don't bother straining brown butter) to a mixing bowl to cool slightly. Then I added in mashed bananas, sugar, plain Greek yogurt, eggs, and vanilla. Finally, I folded in the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and salt). I poured half of the batter into a parchment-lined 10-inch loaf pan, spooned some Nutella on top and attempted to swirl it in, and then repeated the process with the remaining batter and more Nutella.
I've made this recipe twice, and both times I doubled the recipe to bake two loaves. The first time I tried the recipe I realized -- only after the bread was already in the oven and it was too late to do anything about it -- that I had doubled all of the ingredients in the recipe except for the baking soda. I started to panic and worried that I had ruined the loaves, but thankfully, the bread turned out fine and my tasters were none the wiser. These under-leavened loaves were shaped like the ones in the photo accompanying the online recipe, with a flattish top. Most importantly, the bread was moist and tasted amazing. The second time I made the recipe I added the correct amount of baking soda and the loaves rose noticeably higher. The photo above shows slices from my second batch, which had nicely domed tops. But honestly, both sets of loaves were equally delicious.

Even though I did attempt to swirl in the Nutella, all of my loaves essentially ended up with a single layer of Nutella in the middle, as you can see in the photo above. I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing -- I liked having a defined zone of pure Nutella in each slice. Nutella is a fantastic addition to banana bread; it's no wonder that bananas and Nutella are a common filling for sweet crepes. I love banana bread in practically every form, and this one really stands out. Nutella makes it so dang good.

Recipe: "Chocolate-Hazelnut Banana Bread" from The New York Times.

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