Like many others quarantined at home, I have been cooking and baking quite a bit more than I usually do. Additionally, John, my husband, and I are exploring more plant-based recipes. (I don’t eat meat, but John will order a meat based dish on the two nights per week we order take-out in order to support local restaurants during this COVID-19 outbreak–although I wouldn’t be surprised if he decides to grill up some meaty morsel at some point.) What we are finding is that we enjoy what we consider more fun-based and/or comfort based type foods. Examples would include pasta, based dishes, Mexican-inspired variations (tacos, enchiladas, nachos and so forth), and a weekly baked sweet treat. Nothing fancy, mind you, just good ol’ homemade goodness.
On a recent grocery order, I thought I ordered two bananas, but when my groceries arrived at my car, I had an entire bunch. Rather than make a fuss with the poor overworked grocery staffer (God bless them for working during this crisis–seriously.), I just kept the entire bunch of bananas knowing that in the worst case scenario, if they didn’t all get eaten, I could either freeze them or bake-up something with them.
Sure enough, I ended up with 3 large ripe bananas. I started to freeze them, but then thought about the banana bread I used to make with mini-chocolate chips. As I began looking through my past recipes, the thought hit me. I wonder if there are recipes out there for chocolate, chocolate-chip banana bread? Hmm . . .
Thus, began my research into the recipe idea. There were literally hundreds of recipe ideas, so I narrowed my search down further to plant-based ideas. Again, I found hundreds of these variations as well–some with cocoa, others with melted chocolate, some with nuts and/or nut butter, and some with oil . . . well, the list went on. Therefore, I read recipe reviews and taste notes and began cobbling together my own recipe variation.
First of all, the batter itself is thick, rich, and fun to lick up! (I always think of my Grandmother Helen when I lick a spoon at the end, stating, “Here’s to you Helen!” It’s a family thing.) Secondly, the redolent scent of sweet bread baking in the oven is sinfully delightful and highly recommended on a rainy or chilly day when you won’t have your windows open. Lastly, the taste and texture only gets better with time–just like a good banana bread should. That said, you do need to refrigerate this in order to make it stay fresh for a week, but it will still get more moist and more sweet with each passing day.
My husband and daughter served this warmed with redi-whip on top as a dessert or snack. I ate it out of the fridge for a quick and easy grab and go (well, go to work virtually) no-fuss, little-clean-up breakfast. I especially loved to smear it with peanut butter or PB2–it was like eating a Reese’s cup for breakfast!
Why don’t you give it a try the next time you end up with a few overripe bananas? In fact, if you’re willing to go into the grocery store, you could buy overripe bananas from the produce clearance bin for next to nothing. Not only does it make a great dessert, snack, or breakfast, it can also be frozen for up to a month or so!
From my home to yours, I wish you happy, healthy, and homemade meals and sweet treats!
Fresh out of the oven goodness!
Gluten-free, Chocolate Banana Bread
(Plant-based, no-oil option)
2 cups over-ripe mashed banana (about 3 large ripe bananas)
2 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar
2-4 tablespoons of favorite nut butter (peanut, cashew, almond, sunflower) or 2-4 tablespoons vegetable oil (I split the difference and went with 3 tablespoons of almond butter.)
⅔ cup date syrup (or maple syrup, honey or agave)
1 ¾ cup all-purpose baking flour or gluten-free variation
½ cup unsweetened pure cocoa powder + 2 more tablespoons dutch cocoa powder, if have on hand, but regular cocoa powder is fine
¼ cup sugar or stevia
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
½ cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate morsels
½ cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate mini-morsels
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line standard loaf pan with parchment paper, so that the paper overhangs sides. (I used 8.5 x 4.5 x 2.5 pan.)
Mash bananas and measure.
Then, add bananas and next four ingredients into large blender cup
Blend until smooth and creamy and pour into a medium mixing bowl.
In a small mixing bowl, blend all dry ingredients EXCEPT chocolate morsels.
Mix dry ingredients with a fork until no white powder remains.
Gradually fold in dry ingredients into wet, scraping down the side.
Gently stir in ½ cup semi-sweet or dark morsels
Carefully pour in batter and smooth over top of batter.
Sprinkle with remaining mini-morsels and gently press into batter.
Bake for 45 minutes.
Turn off the oven and leave in the oven an additional ten minutes.
Remove from the oven, lift bread out of the pan holding on to parchment paper, and set on the cooling rack to cool.
**Store in the refrigerator.
**It’s also easier to slice once stored in the fridge. My daughter and I were eager to taste this bread once baked because the aroma that filled our house while baking left our mouths watering. However, I sliced off both heels (She doesn’t like them, but they don’t bother me!) set in the fridge for several hours, keeping it on the parchment paper, but moving it to a plate.
Then, when I removed it from the fridge, I found it MUCH easier to slice and store it in a sturdy bread container, but keeping it in the fridge.
Stores in the refrigerator for up to five days or so.
Makes ten average-size slices.