Tricked out banana bread

Where have I been, you ask, during this near week of silence? Spending some one-on-one quality time with my jar of dulce de leche, in fact. But it's high time that I pry myself away, give my teeth a good brushing, and share some observations from my little red kitchen.

First, dulce de leche and peanut butter on toast is divine.

Second, Havanna alfajores don't hold a candle to homemade. (more on this coming soon)

Third, if you thought banana and chocolate were closer than close and the bestest of friends, you should see what happens when you introduce dulce de leche into the mix. Ménage à trois, anyone?

In junior high, I had the same teacher for Math and Science in Grade 8, Computer Science in Grade 9 (yes, I took Computer Science and honestly can't recall a single thing we did) and Science in Grade 10. Mr. Ferrier had the unusual distinction of being both a great teacher and well-liked by the students. At the end of my Grade 10 year (and junior high), he signed my yearbook with the following:

Good, better, best.
Never let it rest.
Until the good is better,
And the better, best.

It may not be immediately clear what this has to do with banana bread. As I'm typing this, I'm beginning to wonder myself. But it's something like this:

Banana bread is good
Banana bread with chocolate is great, but why stop there.
Banana bread with chocolate and dulce de leche defies superlative.

Tricked Out Banana Bread
(with Chocolate Chunks and Dulce de Leche Swirls)

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 bananas, very ripe
3 tablespoons milk
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chunks
1/2 - 2/3 cup dulce de leche

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a loaf pan and set aside.

In one bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a second bowl, mash the bananas well using a fork. Add the milk, stir, and set aside.

In a third bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg and mix well.

Add the dry ingredients and mashed banana, alternately, to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Stir just until combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks, reserving a small handful for the top.

Pour approximately half of the batter into the greased loaf pan. Drop half of the dulce de leche, in spoonfuls, on top of the batter. Use a knife to swirl the dulce de leche ever so slightly into the batter (or leave it be). Repeat with the remaining banana bread batter and dulce de leche. Sprinkle with the leftover chocolate chunks.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out relatively clean (i.e., nothing more than melted chocolate and dulce de leche). Start with 45 minutes and check in regularly after that.

Source: Based on this recipe posted on Orangette.