Cherry Chocolate Oatmeal Banana Bread
To introduce this post, we were trying to come up with something clever, like: “Life’s just a bowl of cherries” or “Life’s the pits without this cherry banana bread.” But in the end, we decided this bread really just speaks for itself. Imagine the comforting flavors of banana bread brightened up with fresh, tart cherries and further richened by the addition of dark chocolate chips and some hearty oatmeal. Mmm… it might be time to make a new batch already!
– 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1/2 cup oatmeal
– 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
– 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
– 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (and/or cinnamon)
– 3/4 teaspoon salt
– 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
– 2/3 cup sugar
– 2 eggs, slightly beaten
– 1/3 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
– 1 cup coarsely mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
– 1 cup pitted, quartered fresh cherries
– 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1. Rinse the cherries and pat dry. Pit each cherry with a paring knife or cherry pitter and cut into quarters.
2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. In a bowl, stir together flour, oatmeal, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
3. Using an electric mixer fitted with a flat beater, beat together butter and sugar on medium speed until creamy, about a minute. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each is added. Stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
4. Incorporate half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture; add the yogurt; then incorporate the remaining flour mixture. Beat until just combined, scraping the sides of the bowl if necessary.
5. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the banana. Mixture will be slightly lumpy. Fold in the cherries and chocolate.
6. In a loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray and lightly floured, pour batter until pan is about ¾ full.
7. For a full-sized loaf pan, bake 60-65 minutes; for mini pans, bake 30-35 minutes. The edges will be slightly brown and start to pull away from the sides of the pan.
8. Remove from oven and let the bread rest for 5 minutes, then turn loaf out onto a wire rack and let cool completely. Slice and serve.
First off, you’ll need some cherries. The farmer’s markets are bursting with different colors and flavors right now. We went with these golden cherries, but feel free to choose your favorite kind! (Black cherries would be good too…sort of a bread version of Cherry Garcia Ice Cream).
To pit the cherries, a paring knife will do just fine, but you know how we love our kitchen gadgets at Brit HQ. This cherry pitter from OXO will help the process go much faster. (Plus, it’s so much fun to use!) Once the cherries are pitted, quarter them. You’ll need about a cup.
As for the rest of the ingredients, we decided to add some oatmeal to make it a little heartier. Rolled oats will work, but we used some steel cut oats since we had those on hand.
We also replaced buttermilk with fat free greek yogurt to make it a little healthier and to compliment the tangy cherries. And, of course, you’ll need some very ripe bananas. A good practice is to freeze ripe bananas that you don’t plan on eating or using for banana bread right away…and then you’ll always have some on hand (for those banana bread emergencies). Again, you’ll need about a cup of mashed bananas.
In a bowl, stir together the flour, oatmeal baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until creamy…about a minute. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each additional and stopping the mixer occasionally to scarpate down the sides of the bowl.
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in two additions, alternating with the yogurt and beginning and ending with the flour. Beat until just combined, scraping the sides of the bowl if necessary. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the banana. Mixture will be slightly lumpy. Fold in the cherries and chocolate.
Pour batter into a loaf pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray and lightly floured. You should pour enough batter that the pan is about 3/4 full. You can of course use a regular sized loaf pan, but you know how much we love all things mini!
This recipe will make one loaf or 2-3 mini loaves. If using a regular sized pan, bake for 60-65 minutes at 325 degrees. If using the mini pans, you will likely only need to cook for 30-35 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the middle should come out clean and edges will be slightly brown and starting to pull away from the side of the pan. Let the bread rest in the pan for five minutes and then turn loaf out onto a wire rack and let cool completely. Slice and serve!
What are your favorite cherry recipes? Any other hacks on banana bread we should try? Talk to us in the comments below.