Photo by Trent Blizzard
Provenance of Dish
Trent and I love to hunt chaga in the Minnesota Northwoods at our family's cabin. This gooey, decadent bread is loaded with the beneficials of chaga wrapped in a chocolately banana blanket. It is the BOMB dot com as my 3 yo nephew would say. Make the chaga cocoa powder ahead of time and use it in any recipe that calls for cocoa, brilliant! *Double extraction method for cocoa inspired by The Wondersmith.
For Chaga Cocoa Powder
1 cup finely ground chaga, divided
1 cup water
1 ¼ cup dutch process cocoa powder
For Chocolate Chaga Banana Bread
1 ¼ cup of AP flour
½ cup of Chaga Cocoa Powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp kosher salt
⅛ tsp cinnamon
6 frozen over ripe bananas
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
¼ cup grapeseed oil
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided
This is basically two separate recipes. The chaga cocoa can be made in advance and used in any recipe that calls for cocoa powder!
To Make Chaga Cocoa
Put ½ cup ground chaga into a glass jar, add enough brandy to cover by 1 inch. Shake well and let stand at least 12 hours. Empty all contents of glass jar to a small crockpot with a warm setting (important, must be set to warm or it will over heat). Add remaining ground chaga and 1 cup water. Allow to brew for 6-8 hours on warm, stirring occasionally until the liquid has reduced by about half. Add Dutch process cocoa to form a thick paste. Place paste on solid fruit leather trays in your dehydrator and run until cracker dry. Transfer dried bits to a Vitamix blender with grain attachment or in batches through a coffee grinder. Pulse to a fine powder. Store for later use.
To make Chocolate Chaga Banana Bread
Thaw bananas to room temperature. Heat oven to 350F. Grease and lightly flour bread loaf pan. Set aside.
Place bananas in a mesh strainer over a bowl, stirring occasionally into a mash, let juices release into bowl for 10-15 minutes. Once you have at least ½ cup of banana liquid, transfer to a medium saucepan and simmer hard, stirring constantly, until the juice is reduced to about ¼ cup (about 7 minutes).
Remove pan from heat and add juice back to banana mash. Stir in butter, grapeseed oil, brown sugar, egg and vanilla. Mix until smooth.
Add flour, chaga cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon into the wet mixture. Do not over mix. Stir in ¾ cup of the chocolate chips.
Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle top with remaining chocolate chips. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, 5 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean. You may hit melted chocolate, but make sure the dough is thoroughly cooked.
Remove from oven and set aside to cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan and carefully extract the bread. Let cool on wire cooling rack.
Slice while still warm and enjoy.