This post can totally just be about brown butter banana bread with yogurt if that’s what you came here for. There’s an awesome recipe waiting just below. But I was super happy today and I couldn’t stop thinking about how I could make this bread happy too. Then it came to me: I’ll just bake a chocolate pound cake smile into the banana bread.
The banana bread itself is moist (thanks to the yogurt) and elegantly simple. The baked in chocolate pound cake is just a bangin’ bonus. Have you heard of this type of bread? Peek-a-boo bread? I hadn’t but with a little savvy googling I learned about it. It’s essentially one yummy bread baked into another yummy bread. There’s a great recipe for peek-a-boo pumpkin bread here, and a super cute gluten-free, dairy free, shamrock version here at Angela’s Kitchen.
I just used a Halloween moon cookie cutter on it’s side. Looks smiley enough to me:
You could really choose any two breads and any cookie cutter shape you want. It works best if the breads are contrasting in color. One way to accomplish this is make a traditional pound cake loaf and color it with food coloring. The cookie cutter can’t be huge, as you don’t want your shape to stick up and out of the batter of the second bread.
Just line up your cookie cutter shapes in a 9×5 pan….
and pour your second batter all around it!
No one will know the secret chocolate smiley that awaits, but it will for sure make them smile!
What to do with a fresh loaf of bread?
Coat it in a delicious almond glaze if you desire!
This loaf’s smile became slightly crooked. I think it added to it’s personality. What a silly little loaf.
Isn’t this just the happiest bread? I actually made two of these in a row. The one photographed here I covered with an almond glaze and mini chocolate chip cookies. The other one I did not glaze, and it was equally as delicious. Whether or not you choose to glaze and decorate is really dependent on just how sweet you like it.
Happy banana bread making!
PS. With bread, don’t get caught up on the exact baking times in these recipes. Trust the tooth pick insertion method, even if it takes more or less time than I list.
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup plus 4 tbsp boiling water
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened (plus a bit more to actually prepare the pan)
- 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temp or close too
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Heat the oven to 350F and prepare a 9x5 loaf pan--I use butter to coat the sides so the loaf won't stick.
- Put the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk it well, to aerate the mixture.
- Place the cocoa in a medium, heat safe bowl. Boil about a cup of water. Once boiling, carefully measure 1/2 cup of the water and add it to the cocoa. Mix well by hand, and add 4 more tablespoons of water to fully incorporate. It will be thick.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter for about 5 minutes, until it is light and airy looking. Scrape down the sides.
- Slowly add in the white sugar to the butter, a bit at a time, mixing on a medium speed. Once all the sugar is added and mixed, scrape down the sides and then beat the mixture again, on a medium setting for about 5 minutes, until the sugar and butter are light and fluffy and fully incorporated. It should look like clouds! :)
- With the mixer still running, add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
- Finally, add the vanilla and the cocoa mixture with the mixer still running, and beat well, fully incorporating all ingredients.
- Turn the mixer on low speed or "stir" and slowly add the flour mixture, until just incorporated. Try not to over mix. Scrape down the sides, and mix any remaining pockets or patches of flour by hand.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Bake 50-60 minutes, until a tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert and let cool on a wire rack.
- If you are making the peek-a-boo bread, let the bread cool completely on the wire rack. This is important, because if it's still hot the bread is more likely to break apart when you slice it. You need it to hold together for the cookie cutters. You can prepare your banana bread ingredients while it cools if you want, that's what I did. It took 45 minutes for mine to cool. Then slice it into thick slices using a serrated knife. The slices should be a little smaller than the width of your cookie cutter. Press your cookie cutter into each slice, even the end slices. Make sure to press hard. Carefully handle your cut outs (they will be slightly delicate!) and place them upright in a row in another 9x5 prepared pan. (Or the same one you just used. Just wash it). Now you are ready to move on to the banana bread!
- If you don't have a stand mixer, you can totally use a hand mixer for this. I did not have a stand mixer until just a few months ago, and I would always used my hand mixer when a recipe listed stand mixer. So don't let that deter you from this lovely chocolate pound cake!
- 12 tablespoons of butter, melted and browned
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons molasses
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup greek vanilla yogurt
- 1 1/4 cup mashed banana (from about 3 medium bananas)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9×5-inch loaf pan (I use a little extra softened butter to coat my pan.)
- Place 12 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat, and let it melt. Continue letting it heat even after melted, and it will begin to foam and crackle. When the crackling stops, the butter will begin to brown. Swirl the pan as it cooks. Once the butter smells nutty, remove the pan from the flame and pour it into a small, heat safe own. Don't leave it in the pan or it will keep cooking and burn. Let cool.
- In a large bowl using a hand mixer, mix the sugar and the molasses. You are essentially making a light brown sugar. You will intermittently need to stop and use your hands to press out the large lumps of molasses. Keep mixing and don't give up until it looks like brown sugar.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar/molasses mixture, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla extract, buttermilk, and yogurt. Whisk in the mashed bananas. When butter has cooled, whisk in the browned butter.
- Add the wet ingredients, all at once to the dry ingredients. I wouldn't use a hand mixer for this. Fold together slowly and gently with spatula or stirring spoon, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate any remaining pockets of flour. Try not to over stir.
- Spoon batter into prepared pan. If you are making peek-a-boo bread with the pound cake, make sure your cutout bread is lined up in the pan before you pour this batter. Be gentle pouring this batter, or your cutout shape might move a bit. (Which isn't the end of the world and you may end up with a smirking loaf of bread instead of a smiling loaf).
- If you are only making the banana bread, bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. If you're making peek-a-boo bread, it will take a little longer, 65 minutes or so. Remove from the oven and allow to rest in the pan for 15 minutes, before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- If you made peek-a-boo bread, I wouldn't slice it until it's cooled, another 45 minutes. If you didn't make peek-a-boo bread, slice at will!
- Brown butter tip: this is something I recommend practicing, basically because I practice it. The different between burnt and browned butter is slight and happens in seconds. But if you take the butter off too early, it won't have the strong nutty flavor of brown butter. (I have fell victim to this before, and I might add that your banana bread will still taste darn good!)
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp milk or cream
- In a medium bowl place your powdered sugar.
- Add the almond extract and milk.
- Mix with a spoon until all ingredients are fully incorporated.
- Lift your glaze covered spoon out of the bowl, to see how the glaze drips. If it runs very fast off the spoon, it will likely run very fast off the bread. If it doesn't drip at all, it won't spread on the bread. You want to find the in-between. To test, drip it on something else (like the side of a glass) to get an idea on how it's going to run.
- The glazing process is really more of a preference process. For example, on one loaf I made I ended up doubling this recipe because I wanted it completely covered in a thick glaze. Just one coat would have been perfectly fine thought. No glaze would have been perfect as well, as it was on my second loaf I made.
- Be creative: You can sprinkle the top with chocolate chips or almonds or pecans. Those are just a few ideas!