Todd once mentioned that he makes banana bread with cocoa nibs. The idea stuck with me, and I’ve been eager to try. I grew up on my grandma’s Southern banana bread- a dense cake, with lots of sugar and buttermilk. I love her recipe, but I thought that our nibs would pair better with bolder flavors and a lighter texture. So, I worked from recipes from Martha Stewart and Smitten Kitchen, adding in our nibs.
The bread was wonderful. The cocoa nibs softened in the oven, but maintained a bite. They accentuated the flavors of the spiced batter without adding an overpowering chocolate taste. The bread was a little like my grandma’s; it was still sweet, with the tang of buttermilk. But, the layers of flavor in this recipe went far beyond a more typical version. I’d make this again any day- it’s a delicious variation on one of my favorites.
1/2 cup butter at room temperature, plus more for pan
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour, plus more for pan
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
1/2 cup cocoa nibs
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan, set aside.
2. Cream butter and light brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, and beat to incorporate.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture, and mix until just combined. Add bananas, buttermilk, vanilla, bourbon, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves; mix to combine. Stir in nibs, and pour into prepared pan.
4. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let rest in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool.
posted by alice
I had a fantastic time at the Underground Market last weekend. It’s exciting to feel the momentum building behind our chocolate. We brought bars from Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Madagascar. We encouraged each person to taste all three and to choose a favorite. Madagascar was the most popular overall, but Dominican and Costa Rican had clear supporters as well.
If you missed the chance to try, I’ll be at the New Taste Marketplace with Cam this Saturday from 4-9 PM. The market’s at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church, 500 DeHaro Street in Potrero Hill.
I love the energy of these markets. Hopefully we’ll be at a few more later in the month. Part of the fun is meeting the other vendors and tasting their products. We got a lot of support and delicious samples from the tables next to ours: Vickle’s Pickles and Little Knock. I’m looking forward to more great food this weekend. Come by and check it out!
Here are a few pictures of our booth, and Todd looking very proud.
posted by alice
Earlier this winter, I went on a whirlwind trip to Germany to investigate the packaging options for our bars. I attended the Paperworld conference in Frankfurt and saw so many beautiful handmade papers form India and Nepal. We currently wrap our bars in handmade cotton paper from India. You can see an example in this picture. We love our packaging and hope to create something similar for the factory. Still, we needed to do a little more research, so I took off to Europe for a weekend of learning about paper.
The more I learned, the more I realized what we have to consider. I think we’ll continue to use paper from India because we love the texture and the imperfections that come from screen printing. The vendors I met gave me a much better picture of the paper making process. The paper is made from recycled cotton rags instead of wood pulp, which makes it eco-friendly. Since the work is done by hand, there are many variables in the production. For example, paper made during monsoon season can’t be easily dried outside. It takes much longer to create and will have subtle differences in color and texture. I actually love these slight variations- they reflect the energy put into each piece of paper. But, monsoon season is coming up quickly and it’s the busiest time of year for these factories. We need to place our first orders soon to avoid this rush. When we have everything together and see our first papers, it will be one of the first steps that makes Dandelion Chocolate feel like it’s coming to life!
At the end of the weekend, I came back with a heavy bag of paper samples and a lot of information that will help us create our packaging. We’re still choosing colors and developing patterns, but I met a few sources for really beautiful paper. It was a short trip, fighting jet lag the whole time, but well worth it.
And, as a fun anecdote, Paperworld runs alongside Creativeworld, Hair & Beautyworld, and Christmasworld in the largest conference center I’ve ever seen. There was a motley, and fairly hilarious, group of crafters from all over the world. The space itself overloaded all of my senses- take a look!
posted by alice