If there's such a place as heaven on earth, I'm pretty sure Soma Chocolatiers in Toronto's Distillery District qualifies (as long as you're a chocoholic, that is). How else would you describe a store that actually makes its own chocolate from scratch, and then uses it in delectable confections like olive oil truffles or milk-chocolate coated corn nuts? Plus in the winter there's hot chocolate to warm you up, and in the summer there's gelato to cool you down. It's sheer bliss, I tell you.
Whenever I visit, I have to fight the temptation to dump the entire contents of my wallet on the counter and ask them to give me as many truffles as can be bought with my pile of money (as disappointingly teensy it might be)... though, I pretty much do that already as it is, minus the dramatic wallet-dumping gesture.
On my last trip there, I decided to bring home a jar of their Dutch Process Cocoa on top of my usual chocolate-coated loot. Sure, it cost almost twice as much as a regular jar of cocoa powder, but holy cocoa beans, does it ever pack a wallop! Just a quarter of a cup was enough to make a loaf of banana bread chocolatey enough to satisfy even Montezuma himself.
Of course, you can still make this recipe with a less fancy-dancy brand of cocoa powder if that's all you've got. After all, not all of us are lucky enough to live just 30 minutes away from heaven on earth. :)
FYI... if chocolate ain't your thing, I do also have a recipe for Chai Banana Bread that's rather divine, despite its lack of chocolate. In fact, I'm half tempted to try making marble banana bread using half chai and half chocolate... hmmmmmmmm...
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup mashed bananas (around 2-3 medium bananas)
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup good-quality cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ½ cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly butter a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.
- In a medium bowl, beat together sugar and butter until creamy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Add the mashed bananas, sour cream and vanilla extract, and stir until smooth and creamy-looking.
- In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until just barely combined. Fold in chocolate chips, if using.
- Bake in preheated oven for about 50-60 minutes. Bread is done when the top is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean. Allow to cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before unmolding and slicing.