You know those moments when you can’t decide between a cookie and a piece of cake? Brownie or shortbread? Lemon bar or meringue pie? Having both at the same time was socially acceptable about, oh, a month ago. When one could say, “Well, it’s the holidays, so…” But now that it’s January, we’re expected to pretend that we aren’t grappling with these very same existential quandaries?! Fortunately, this is where hybrid pastries come in: cronuts, cruffins, and cretzels make it possible not to have to make an unfortunate choice that might just ruin your day. I mean, what if you start in on some chocolate truffles, but then you’re like, “Why didn’t I have cream puffs?” In this spirit, I present Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Swirl Banana Bread— you know, for those days when the decision just seems impossible. Banana bread or cheesecake? Never have to choose ever again.
To achieve this swirly effect, you’ll make two different batters, a banana bread one and a chocolate chip cheesecake one, both of which are quite easy. Layer them in the loaf pan and swirl them together with the tip of an offset spatula and voilà! The flavors go together amazingly well, and “regular” banana bread might be kinda boring from now on. Also, the texture is a bit different because you need to keep it chilled due to the cream cheese, but I actually really liked the cold, dense consistency. (It’s also fine to let it come to room temperature.)
So for those times that you can’t make up your mind, or frankly when you purposely want both banana bread and cheesecake and you don’t even feel sorry about it, give this easy loaf a try. (And really, isn’t life too short to worry about eating too many desserts?)
Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Swirl Banana Bread
Adapted from Cookies & Cups
Yields 1 loaf
For the banana batter:
- 1½ cups (180g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2½ very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
- 5½ tablespoons butter, melted
- ¾ cup (160g) firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the chocolate chip cheesecake swirl:
- 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup (40g) mini chocolate chips
Preheat an oven to 350°F and place a rack in the center. Grease the sides and bottom of a 9×5″ loaf pan and place a long piece of parchment paper across the bottom and up the long sides of the pan to create an overhang. This makes it easier to pull the loaf out. Grease the parchment paper and set the pan aside.
Make the banana batter:
Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Whisk the mashed bananas, melted butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the flour mixture with a wooden spoon just until incorporated.
Make the cheesecake batter:
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the softened cream cheese with the sugar until smooth and fluffy in a medium bowl, about 1 minute or so. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until smooth; scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Fold in the flour with the spatula just until combined, then the chocolate chips.
Assemble & bake:
Spread half of the banana bread batter on the bottom of the prepared loaf pan. Add the chocolate chip cheesecake mixture on top, then the rest of the banana batter. Swirl the batters together using a small offset spatula; do not swirl so much that the batters blend together completely– you want to see the two batters distinctly.
Bake the banana bread for 50-60 minutes until the center of the bread is set– make sure the raw batter that pops out of the center crevice is cooked through before taking the loaf out. If the bread is browning too quickly, place a piece of tented aluminum foil loosely on top.
Transfer the pan to a metal cooling rack and let the banana bread cool for 30 minutes before removing it. Pull the loaf up and out of the pan using the overhanging parchment paper and let it cool completely on the rack.
Serve the banana bread chilled or at room temperature. Store it covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
© Dafna Adler & Stellina Sweets, 2018.