Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread

Chocolate and hazelnut might be the best flavour combination in the whole wide world. I mean, Nutella. I don't even need to say anything more. But I will. Ferrero Rocher. The Ferrero company actually created Nutella. I go nuts for anything with chocolate and hazelnuts. Purdy's, a chocolate company, makes these things called 'Hedgehogs'. They're little milk chocolate hedgehogs but inside they have a delicious chocolate hazelnut interior, but it's incredibly smooth and a bit lighter than Nutella. They are to die for. You know what else is to die for? Nutella and banana on toast. And this banana bread is just like that. 

But, to the real point of this post, which is not for me to explain my undying love for all things chocolate and hazelnut. No, the point of this post is actually to ask for a bit of help. I'm off to New York City in late February with my Mama for week. I can't wait to visit all the best bakeries, boutiques, restaurants, cafes, and tea houses! But, the internet has so much information that it's almost... too much. That's where the lovely readers of this blog come in. Have you been to New York? Has your best friend been to New York? Do you live in New York? 

Any and all suggestions for things to do, places to see, and food to eat are greatly appreciated. Bakeries especially are on my to-do list, no surprise there, but really, I want to soak up everything New York City has to offer because, well, it's New York! It's the Big Apple! Countless movies are set in New York and I bet even more are actually shot there. I might run into a celebrity (that means you, Joseph Gordon-Levitt)! It's where you go if you're the best at something. I've heard that even the homeless street performers are the best of the best. 

So, please, tell me if you went to a little hole-in-the-wall where you thought you might get shot but actually had the best cinnamon bun ever. 

Tell me if you went to this bagel shop and originally wanted just one bagel but they were so good that you ate five. 

Tell me if you went to this little shop and saw the coolest necklace made out of who-knows-what but you were too busy to go in and now you regret it forever. 

Tell me if you walked down this one street and thought you were in a movie because it was so beautiful and lovely.

Tell me where to find Joseph Gordon-Levitt (no, really, you have to do this). 

Tell me anything and everything about New York! I'm counting on you, person hunched over their laptop reading this. I need you to help me out here. Post a comment or email me!

Okay, now that my cry for help is over, a quick word about this deliciously wonderful banana bread. I used hazelnut chocolate because I was given a big slab on Christmas, but you can use dark chocolate instead.Roasted hazelnut oil is sold in most grocery stores, but if you don't have it, no sweat, just leave it out. 

Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread
Recipe adapted from Dahlia Bakery Cookbook

1/2 cup hazelnut (or dark) chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
About 1 pound very ripe bananas (3 to 4 bananas)
1/4 cup canola or other neutral-tasting oil
1 tablespoon roasted hazelnut oil
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 large free-range organic egg
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons Nutella

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the loaf pan and dust with flour, knocking out the excess flour. Chill the pan in the refrigerator to set the coating.

Put the chocolate chunks in a bowl and add 2 tablespoons of flour. Toss the chocolate chunks to coat them evenly with flour. Set aside.

Sift the remaining 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of flour and the baking soda in a bowl. Stir in the salt. Set aside.

Peel the bananas and chop them into large pieces. Place them in a bowl of a mixer and beat them on low speed until you have a smooth puree and there are no large lumps. Measure your banana puree. You should have 1 cup. Add or take away some to make sure you have 1 cup. 

On low speed, add the oils, sugar, egg, sour cream, and vanilla. Mix until everything is combined.

Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add the chocolate chunks and gently mix in.

Pour half the batter into the loaf pan and smooth it over. Put your Nutella in the microwave for about 10 seconds, stir it, then about another 10 seconds to melt it slightly. Spoon the Nutella over the batter, creating a mostly even coat. Pour the rest of the batter over the Nutella layer and smooth over.

Bake for about 60 to 75 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the loaf comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool it on a wire rack until it is slightly warm or room temperature, about 30 to 45 minutes more.