CASA GRANDE -- Is there any comfort food more satisfying than banana bread?

That’s a simple concoction of bananas, eggs, sugar and flour, and it’s hard to improve on the simple but satisfying kitchen standby.

So when we ran across an online recipe for banana bread that included a long list of ingredients, including pudding mix, coconut flakes as well as chunks of chocolate, I was skeptical that the recipe could turn out a banana bread as good as my long-serving basic recipe.

But the extra ingredients are definitely worth the effort.

The recipe we followed is a Chrissy Teigen recipe featured in her cookbook, “Cravings: Hungry for More.” We found it online at www.goodhousekeeping.com.

We made the banana bread twice and it turned out very yummy both times. Slightly crispy on the outside and very moist on the inside, it’s definitely an upgrade of the standard banana bread recipe.

I improvised the recipe slightly. While it calls for one 3.5-ounce bar of chocolate chopped, I did half chocolate chips and half chopped chocolate bar so the cake would have different sizes of chocolate pieces.

Baked in a bundt pan, it’s also a very pretty and elegant banana bread.

But while the average banana bread has about 190 calories per slice, this particular one, decadent and delicious, has about 500 calories per serving, according to the recipe. So it might not be diet friendly for those who are counting calories.

The original recipe recommends baking the bread for about an hour and 20 minutes, which we found was a bit too long in the bundt pan we were using. Making it a second time, we reduced the baking time to about 50 minutes.

Banana bread

2 cups very ripe bananas (about 6 bananas), mashed

4 large eggs

2/3 cup canola oil, plus more for the pan

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan

2 cups sugar

1 3.5-ounce box vanilla instant pudding mix

1 teaspoon baking soda

1½ teaspoons kosher salt

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1 3.5-ounce bar dark chocolate, chopped into chunks

Salted butter, for serving

Heat the oven to 325.

In a large bowl, combine the mashed bananas, eggs and oil. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, pudding mix, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and combine well but gently. Fold in the coconut and chocolate chunks.

Grease and flour a bundt pan. Pour the batter into the pan.

Bake until the cake springs back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 60 to 80 minutes. (Test it with a toothpick at around 50 minutes.) Let it cool slightly in the pan, then use a butter knife to gently release the cake from the sides of the pan and around the inner circle, then flip it onto a plate.

Let it cool and cut it into slices. Serve warm slices with salted butter if desired.

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Melissa St. Aude is the Arts & Entertainment editor at PinalCentral. She can be reached at mstaude@pinalcentral.com.

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