Mommom’s Chocolate Bourbon-Spiked Banana Bread

Chocolate Bourbon-Spiked Banana Bread Recipe

Dear Mommom,

I love your banana bread. It’s moist and uncomplicated, full of banana bits and supreme comfort. I’ve enjoyed your banana bread for as long as I can remember. Dad makes a low-fat version of your banana bread but come on! I just can’t get behind that. Your recipe reigns supreme. Just one thing though, I added chocolate and bourbon to your classic. What can I say—I’m young and reckless.

Love, Your Dear and Darling Granddaughter–Joy Wilson

LC Not Your Grandma's Banana Bread Note

Is it just us being behind the times or is the notion of stirring chunks of chocolate into banana bread batter a relatively recent thing? And why did no one say anything to us sooner?! Regardless, no matter what its title, this eat-it-by-the-loaf recipe isn’t exactly your grandma’s banana bread. It’s better. And a little different. “This banana bread has wayyyy more in common with cake than any banana bread I’ve ever eaten,” one of our recipe testers expressed upon making–and tasting–this little life-changer of an approach. “Not that that’s a bad thing.” Not a bad thing at all, we think. Although those hoping to get a buzz off the bourbon, please note that its function here is as a fundamental flavor enhancer. Much like vanilla extract. If you crave a harder hit, you’ll need to keep that bottle by your side. Shot glass optional.

Chocolate Bourbon-Spiked Banana Bread Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • Makes one 9-by-5-inch loaf

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups (about 3) mashed ripe bananas (be certain to measure your mashed bananas and only use 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon, plus more for the baker
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate

Directions

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C) and place a rack in the center of the oven. Butter and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, tapping out any excess flour.
  • 2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • 3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating for 1 minute between additions. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the bananas, lemon juice, and bourbon and beat with the paddle until well incorporated. The mixture may look curdled, but that’s okay.
  • 4. Turn the mixer to low, add the flour mixture all at once, and beat until almost completely incorporated. Stop the mixer, add the walnuts and chocolate, and stir by hand with a spatula or wooden spoon just until incorporated. Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf pan.
  • 5. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a skewer inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 20 minutes before inverting it onto a wire rack and letting it cool completely, if you can manage to keep your hands off it for that amount of time. The banana bread will keep for up to 5 days, well wrapped, at room temperature. [Editor's Note: Hah! Good luck making it last 5 hours. As if...]
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Caroline Chang

Oct 05, 2012

More like “OMmmG” Banana Bread because it is so tasty. The recipe is easy to follow, and the bourbon shouldn’t be skipped. The resulting loaf doesn’t taste like bourbon, but has a nice depth of flavor due to it.

Testers Choice
Joan Osborne

Oct 05, 2012

Joy is a genius and I’m so happy she’s young and reckless, as this is the best banana bread I’ve ever eaten. I love the flavors–the lemon juice, bourbon, walnuts, and chocolate lend to this wonderfully moist banana bread. I’ll be making this one again and again.

Testers Choice
Natalie Reebel

Oct 05, 2012

Because I do not care for bananas, I thought making this banana bread would keep me from the temptation of eating it. I could not have been more wrong. This makes the best banana bread I have ever eaten! The walnuts, chocolate chips, and bourbon transform this banana bread to dessert level. The flavors have great depth and richness, with just enough sweetness. It smelled so good, we could not wait until it was completely cool to cut into it. It was so delicious warm with a pat of melting butter. In addition to its fabulous flavor, this banana bread is easy to make. It doesn’t even stick to the pan when it is time to turn it out on the cooling rack. In a word: yum.

Testers Choice
Rebecca Marx

Oct 05, 2012

Based on the fact that I can’t seem to stop slicing slivers off of the still-warm loaf (just to “even it out”), I’m going to say this one is a keeper. The recipe works as written–its only inaccuracy is that this has wayyyy more in common with cake than any banana bread I’ve ever eaten. Not that that’s a bad thing. Whatever you want to call it, it’s a tender, springy thing whose sweetness is nicely cut by the chocolate (the darker, the better) and walnuts, and whose top crust is worth eating all on its own. I would have liked more bourbon flavor, and despite such a great texture, it was, surprisingly, just a touch dry. If I make it again, I’ll use really overripe bananas and maybe a spoonful of applesauce. I forgot to flour the pan but the loaf still came out easily. And the bread was still pretty goopy at 45 minutes, so I used the full hour.

Testers Choice
Susan Bingaman

Oct 05, 2012

This is not your grandmother’s banana bread, but I do thank Joy the Baker’s Mommom for the bones of this one. Joy’s addition of bourbon to the batter is a brilliant move. Don’t let it scare you! Think of it as a subtle(ish) flavoring agent–like vanilla extract, only more spirited. The batter looks a little curdled after beating in the lemon and the bourbon, but once you mix in the dry ingredients, everything looks as it should. I used bittersweet chocolate chips, mostly because that’s what I had in the pantry. I really like this banana bread because it’s a little more substantial. It’s still moist and tender but it’s got heft to it.

Testers Choice
Anne D.

Oct 05, 2012

I’m a sucker for banana bread, and this one is wonderful. Moist with plenty of bananas and delicious chocolaty bits, it’s definitely more a dessert bread than something I’d tend to eat for breakfast. The bread was easy enough to throw together and turned out perfectly. I used a chopped semisweet chocolate bar and loved the way the flakes of chocolate melted right into the bread. I think I prefer that to sturdier chocolate chips. I’m shocked and embarrassed to say it, but I think I prefer my banana bread sans bourbon! The amount called for imparted more of a boozy kick than I cared for. I think for future attempts I’d scale it back to one or two tablespoons or omit it altogether. Overall, though, yum!

Testers Choice
Cindy Zaiffdeen

Oct 05, 2012

This is surely one of the best banana bread recipes I have ever made. I have made banana bread with chocolate before; however, the addition of the bourbon is like magic –very tasty indeed. This is very easy and quick to put together. The loaf baked for about 80 minutes before it tested done. Extremely moist and flavorful! Will definitely make this one again–next time I will double the batch!

Testers Choice
Lauren M.

Oct 05, 2012

YUM!! This was so ridiculously easy, and so delicious. The bourbon was such a nice little touch that you could taste, but it wasn’t overpowering. And the chocolate–warm and melty, and just a perfect match. The only thing I would have liked better is a little streusel on top, or even just some sugar sprinkled to add a touch of sweetness and texture. But I can say that I baked this bread, left for work that night, and when I went into the kitchen in the morning, HALF was gone already! Definitely a winner, and I will make this again and again!

Testers Choice
Kristina R.

Oct 05, 2012

First off, I love banana bread. It’s one of my go-to comfort foods. So of course, I could not resist the urge to make this, especially since it has booze in it. The recipe is easy to make. The only small change I did make was to use chopped bittersweet chocolate. After a little over an hour of baking, I took my fresh-out-of-the-oven bread to a friend’s for brunch and it was a hit. When I make this again in the future, I might be tempted to increase the amount of bourbon by just a tad, as I think the bread could benefit a bit more from its flavor.

Testers Choice
Bette Fraser

Oct 05, 2012

This is a moist, tender-crumbed banana bread that tastes distinctly of chocolate. The bourbon flavor is completely baked out, so those looking for any hint will be disappointed. I made it in a springform pan with stellar results.

Testers Choice
Allison J.

Oct 05, 2012

This recipe makes a lovely loaf of banana bread–just the right denseness and texture. I used 4 overripe bananas and 1 tablespoon vanilla.

Testers Choice
Kristen Kennedy

Oct 05, 2012

Finally, a dense banana bread that makes your guests gasp with astonishment before they start fighting over the remainder of the loaf. I love this recipe’s twists on classic banana bread—a hint of bourbon with gooey chocolate morsels interspersed throughout the moist loaf. Pure decadence, especially in the morning!

Testers Choice
Beth Price

Oct 05, 2012

Schools closed, roads iced, and I can’t think of a better thing to do than pull out the bottle of bourbon. This spiked banana bread is more of an airy, light cake than a typical dense quick bread and comes together easily with pantry ingredients. I always freeze my ripe bananas to have on hand for smoothies, so I defrosted and drained 4 bananas, which was equal to 1 1/2 cups mashed. Since I was housebound, I had to scrape together enough chocolate for the recipe. I ended up using 3/4 cup white chocolate chips and 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate. You can easily vary the chocolate to personal preference. The texture of the cake is phenomenal with its slightly chewy, crispy crust and a subtle nuance from the bourbon. I think that a dark rum would be equally nice.

Comments
Comments
  1. Cynthia says:

    Thanks for this recipe. I made it yesterday and it came out very well. Would request you please include the measurements for the ingredients by weight, too. I am from India and I doubt if the cups and tablespoons measure the same here. That would be helpful.

    • David Leite says:

      Cynthia, so glad you liked it. Most of the recipes come from cookbooks authors, not all of whom use weight. (Sadly, we Americans are stubborn and prefer to stick to a very inadequate method of volume measurement.) You’ve given me an idea: Perhaps we can include a general weight chart for baking that can be applied to all baking recipes.

  2. terry says:

    This was fabulous! Probably the best banana bread I’ve ever had.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Hey, terrific, Terry! That’s the bar we set for our recipes, and that’s what we heard from our recipe testers, but we’re always relieved when we hear that was your experience as well. Appreciate you taking the time to tell us. Let us know what’s next on your list…!

  3. Lisa says:

    hi there! I want to make this but do not have a standing mixer! can i still make this with a handheld electric mixer?

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Yes, you certainly can, Lisa. That was the author’s language, but when we made it, we found that the batter wasn’t so stiff that it necessitated a standing mixer. Let us know how it goes, but please try not to get crumbs in your keyboard…

  4. Gary Allen says:

    I no longer like to *eat* bananas (you can hear the backstory here), but I do like to bake with them. I’m saving this recipe for cooler weather, when I’ll feel more like baking!

    BTW, whenever I have bananas that are beginning to look “of a certain age,” I stick them in a plastic bag & pop them in the freezer for some future date. They’ll be ugly as sin, but they’re perfect for baking—and those over-ripe bananas have much more flavor than pretty ones.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      We love that story of yours, Gary! And we love the frozen banana trick. Many thanks for the reminders…!

  5. Thomas Marzahl says:

    I can’t wait to try this since I’ve had choked down far too many slices of dry and boring banana breads over the years. This will be an interesting variation on my recipe, which adapts the banana bread/carrot cake recipe from Moosewood. I started adding in chocolate many years ago in addition to the coffee Mollie Katzen suggests you soak the bananas in. But I’ve frequently found that mine turns out a bit too heavy… though my fans at the office rarely pass it up when I rouse myself to bake it.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Looking forward to hearing what you think of this variant on the classic, Thomas. I’ve made this, and I dare say you won’t find this to be too heavy. In fact, I and many others find it to be quite cake-like and less quick bread-like….

  6. Irene Seales says:

    I’ve been using this recipe with variations on the chocolate all year now (first one was kumquats soaked in a bit of single malt), and this week I made it using dried bing cherries that I plumped up in a bit of my house- infused cherry brandy, taking the place of the bourbon and chocolate, and with pumpkin seeds in a nod to fall (and alas no walnuts or pecans on hand!). Still wonderful, and ALWAYS better the second day – sliced better and holds together well. This batch seemed a little lighter – I was using Keith Giusto’s artisan flour this time, whereas I may have been using Kind Arthur before. All good. This is my best banana bread recipe, hands down.

  7. Jessica F says:

    This past year I have been tinkering with our family’s hand-me-down banana bread recipe (just too plain and loaded with too much sugar for me). I had minimal success until I tried this gem of a recipe. DELICIOUS! Even my picky son loved it. The only change I made was using half whole-wheat flour and half all-purpose flour (we like our bread a little denser). This is my new go-to banana bread recipe.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Jessica F, that’s terrific to hear! I had exactly the same experience as you with this recipe. I’ll entertain the thought of no other banana bread recipe than this uber moist, sparingly sweet, remarkably lovely one. Love your idea of adding whole grain flour, as otherwise it tends to have a slightly light, cakey crumb. Many thanks for taking the time to drop us a note. Looking forward to hearing which recipe from the site you try next…

  8. Jessica F says:

    Quite possibly the best banana bread I have ever had! You know it’s good when your son proclaims it “better then Grandma’s” (which is what I renamed it to in my cookbook coincidently heehee). My only change was using half whole-wheat flour. I like the chewier consistency that gives to the bread. I also added cardamon, cinnamon, and nutmeg to help develop the citrus undertone of the bourbon and give it a little more depth. Delicious!! We make this at least twice a month.

    • David Leite says:

      Jessica, wow, you’re on fire! I love the spice additions. I certainly hope your son’s grandmother isn’t offended….

  9. Carla says:

    Eating a nice warm piece now. Fantastic. I used dark rum, didn’t have any bourbon.
    Really love that it’s not too sweet and the texture is perfect.

  10. Another success from Leite’s!

    Though my husband and I have been together for twenty years now, we had a bottle of bourbon whiskey in our spice cabinet that is older than our relationship! So, with three bananas turning brown, and a bit of dust on the bottle, I figured it was time to give this recipe a try.

    The smell, oh, my gosh, the smell while it was baking. I hope the scent traveled the entire valley! I am not one to lick raw batter, due to the raw egg content, but I just couldn’t help myself. It was delicious!

    After the loaf was baked, I allowed it to cool, but not before trying to sneak a piece (uh, sample). It doesn’t cut very well when warm, so the “let it cool completely” note was put in for good reason. As I type this, we have a few slices in the toaster oven to firm it up a bit, then we’ll slather on the butter, and…oh, my!

    Thank you, once more, for a great recipe!

    Chocolate Bourbon-Spiked Banana  Recipe

  11. Thomas Marzahl says:

    Well, this has now become my go too recipe, and has given Mollie’s recipe of Moosewood the boot because it’s a. easier, b. tastier, c. not as heavy and d. has booze in it, AND chocolate.

    It is quite a rich bread that doesn’t taste that way, though… and I’ve been tinkering with the ingredients to add cake spice (a spice mix from the Spice House that I like a lot), a splash of almond extract, and a bit of nutmeg.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Terrific to hear, Thomas! I, too, have given all other banana bread recipes the boot for the very reasons you state. (To tell the truth, the booze was the big draw, but I find it to be just a lovely undercurrent, much in the same way vanilla effects recipes.) Love that you’re tweaking the recipe to make it your own. Kindly let us know the next recipe you try from the site…!

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