Chocolate, Dessert

Hey Mati,

Did you read the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell? I read it a few months ago and I was fascinated by his theory of how people become EXCELLENT at what they do. One of his theories is that people go from being good to great because of practice. Practice makes perfect.  He says that you need 10,000 hrs to master a skill and be out of the ordinary.  I also heard him speak at a conference last year and loved what he said as he related this to education.  I also believe that mistakes and trying hard to reach that perfection state are all very important. You know very well the mistakes that I have made in the kitchen, from almost burning the house down because of the microwave to who even remembers what else!! So why am I writing about something not at all related to food?

You and I began a cooking journey together and I hope to perfect my skills as well as to expand my horizons, and I thought about all this last night while I failed at making a chocolate chocolate chip banana bread.  I know I sent you a recipe this past week for banana bread/cake which is absolutely spectacular, but I thought, well I might as well try something different.

The journey began a few weeks ago when my bananas started to ripen so I put them in a bag and threw them into the freezer.  My sister-in-law came to visit us last night and she loves banana cake so I though why not make it for her and then one for her to take home to her husband.   I had done some research on banana breads and decided that I was going to try Joy the Baker‘s recipe for Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Bread.

The BIG mistake I made was misreading baking powder for baking soda– I added 5 times the amount of baking soda. So what did we do… we doubled the recipe and just added twice the amount of everything. My sister-in-law said that the bread was going to taste like soap because that is what baking soda does. I decided “Well the ingredients are all mixed, might as well try right? Why should we waste them!”

So we continued the journey and here are the ingredients and the steps — Taken from http://www.joythebaker.com/blog/2008/05/chocolate-chocolate-chip-banana-bread/


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 ripe bananas, mashed

3/4 cup buttermilk

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Handful of Pecans (Optional)


Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 9×5 inch loaf pan and place it on an insulated

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets one on top of the other.  This extra insulation will keep the bottom of the bread from over baking.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt ad baking soda.

Working with a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed for about a minute  until soft.  Add the sugars and beat for 2 minutes more.  Add the egs one at a time, beating for a minute after each addition.  At this point , the batter may look a little curdled- it’s ok.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the mashed bananas.  Add the dry ingredients in three additions, mixing only until they disappear into the batter.  Still on low sweep, add the buttermilk, mixing until it is incorporated.  Stir in the chopped chocolate.  Scrape half or 3/4 of the batter into the prepared pan. Add the pecans if you are adding them and then add the rest of the batter.

Bake for 3o minutes.  Cover the bread loosely with a foil tend to keep the top from getting too dark, and continue to bake for another 40-45 minutes (total baking time is between 70 and 75 minutes), or until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for at least 20 minutes before running a knife around the edges of the bread and unmolding it.  Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.

The flavor was not so good. It was missing moisture and the banana and chocolate flavors.  Maybe someone else will get it better than me!  Maybe it was the baking soda, maybe it was the sour cream that I used instead of the buttermilk. Who knows…. all I know is that I hope to have a better cooking week, next week.

I hope you are having a better kitchen week than I am….

One thought on “Outliers

  1. Oh no!! you are the banana bread master!! Undefeated champ!!

    I will try the recipe you sent me, as I already asked J. not to eat the three wayyyy ripe bananers so i could try out your rec. I am sure it is FABULOUS! 🙂

    But i totally get that too… sometimes i feel like i am just a never ending destruction in the kitchen…

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