Banana bread has no season, as bananas are available year-round. And everyone who has ever bought a banana (read: everyone) knows that, despite our best efforts, our bananas will become ripe-then-overripe in the blink of an eye. Enter one of the many, many reasons that having a top-notch gluten free banana bread recipe is simply a must. Do you keep chopped frozen bananas in your freezer? Thaw those out and mash them. They’ll work perfectly, too. This gluten free banana bread with chocolate swirl is something special.
Now I know you. You’re going to take a look at this gluten free banana bread recipe and realize it calls for my simple 3-ingredient gum-free gluten free flour blend and ask if you really must use that, and why we are still adding xanthan gum. So here goes nothing: any time you are expecting to layer and then swirl batter, a standard all purpose gluten free flour blend that already contains xanthan gum is just going to have too much xanthan gum in it. Your knife will not glide through the batter. Period. And without any gums at all (yes, I tried it), the bread will be a bit crumbly regardless of how moist it is—plus it will go stale too quickly.
It’s not a big deal to blend the 3-ingredients for my basic blend (I promise!), and some readers have even had success replacing that blend in my recipes that call for it with King Arthur Flour’s all purpose gluten free flour blend. Personally, I find that blend too starchy and the rice flour in it too gritty, but if you like it, go for it!
This easy but special banana bread with a chocolate swirl is only lightly sweet, but moist, tender and just packed with banana flavor. And you simply must have a good banana bread recipe, you know, for when bananas are in season. ;)
6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces) buttermilk, at room temperature
1 cup (200 g) mashed ripe bananas (from about 2 medium bananas)
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped and melted until smooth
1/4 cup (20 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch-processed or natural)
Preheat your oven to 325°F. Grease or line a standard 9-inch x 5-inch loaf pan, and set it aside.
In a large bowl, place the flour blend, xanthan gum, salt, baking powder, baking soda and sugar, and whisk to combine well. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the butter, eggs, vanilla, buttermilk and bananas, mixing to combine after each addition. The batter will be thick but not stiff. Place about 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) of the batter in a separate, medium-size bowl and add the melted chocolate, then the cocoa powder, mixing to combine after each addition.
Scrape about one-third of the plain banana bread batter in the bottom of the prepared loaf pan and shake into an even layer. Top with one-half of the chocolate batter, and spread into an even layer as best you can without mixing the two layers. Continue with another third of the plain batter, spread into an even layer, followed by the remaining chocolate batter, and finally the rest of the plain batter, spreading into an even layer after each addition. Using a large butter knife, swirl the batter back and forth starting at a short end of the loaf pan.
Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake, rotating once, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached (about 1 hour). Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Slice thickly and serve. Any remaining slices can be wrapped tightly in freezer-safe wrap and frozen until ready to use. Defrost at room temperature or in the toaster oven.