Double Chocolate Banana Bread

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This recipe was originally entitled “Mocha Chip Banana Bread”, but despite adding both espresso powder and brewed coffee to the batter, the coffee flavor was lost after baking. What the double dose of coffee DID do, however, was enhance the chocolate flavor of the bread. So, Double Chocolate Banana Bread it is!

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Chocolate seems to be its own food group for me these days, as it’s part of my daily food intake. I try to keep a bag of Guittard extra dark chocolate chips in stock at all times for baking and snacking… but I found myself with an empty bag last week (the horror!) and had to get my chocolate fix by mixing a small spoonful of instant cocoa powder into Greek yogurt. It was surprisingly tasty.

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With this quick bread, I (and you) can healthfully satiate a chocolate craving first thing in the morning! A mere 1/2 cup of unrefined maple syrup is all the added sugar you need if you use overripe bananas (with brown skins). If you’re used to more of a cake-like quick bread when it comes to sweetness, you can increase the amount to 3/4 cup, but I really think it’s sweet enough with 1/2 cup.

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A light sprinkling of dark chocolate chips on top adds a bit of decadence, but be forewarned, you will have to fend off an intense temptation to pick them all off before the bread has even cooled down from baking!

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If you’re thinking that a slice of this chocolate banana bread would be even better with a drizzle of peanut butter, then we are on the same wavelength. There is no better flavor combination!

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Double Chocolate Banana Bread

by Lauren Zembron

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Ingredients (1 loaf)

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 cup mashed overripe bananas (about 3 medium-sized bananas)
  • 1/3 cup neutral-flavored vegetable oil (I used safflower oil)
  • 1/2 strongly brewed coffee, cooled
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (or 3/4 cup for a more cake-like sweetness)
  • 1 large egg, preferably organic, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Leave enough overhanging the edges of the pan for easy removal after baking.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk mashed bananas, oil, brewed coffee, maple syrup, egg, and vanilla extract until well-combined.

Add dry ingredients to wet and stir just until combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Evenly sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a wooden tester (or toothpick) inserted into the center of the cake comes out mostly clean (a few moist crumbs are ok).

Let loaf sit in pan for 10 minutes before lifting out using the overhanging edges of parchment paper. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

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Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies {Grain- & Gluten-free}

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I’m sitting here typing up this post on April 1st, while the sleet & snow falls outside. There are so many things I love about living in New England, but springtime snow is definitely NOT one of them. As much as I’m done with the cold, I’ve decided to embrace this (hopefully) last snowfall by staying inside, sipping piping hot tomato soup for lunch, getting in a lot of cuddles with the kiddos, cooking up a big comforting pot of Jessica’s chicken & dumplings for dinner, and baking these blondies.

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I derived inspiration for these chewy bars from Detoxinista’s Paleo Almond Butter Blondies, which I made a couple of weeks ago and we scarfed down in just a matter of days. I kept the same concept of keeping the blondies free of flour, but I swapped the almond butter for peanut butter and added an extra egg so they would turn out even chewier. I also cut down a bit on the sugar, but not to fear, they are perfectly sweet enough!

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The top of the blondies develops a crisp crust, but the insides stay soft and chewy; the perfect combination of textures in any kind of cookie bar. They’re super easy to whip up, take only 20 minutes to bake, and you probably already have all of the ingredients in your kitchen.

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These blondies turned out to be the perfect antidote to the crummy weather, but I have a feeling I’ll be making them over and over again even as the snow melts and it begins to actually feel like spring outside.

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Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies {Grain- & Gluten-free}

by Lauren Zembron (inspired by Detoxinista)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients (16 blondies)

  • 2 large eggs, preferably organic
  • 1 cup creamy/smooth all-natural unsweetened peanut butter, (the only ingredients should be peanuts and salt), preferably organic
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unrefined granulated sugar, such as evaporated cane juice
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F and line an 8 inch square (or 7 x 11 rectangular) baking pan with parchment paper (leave a bit of excess paper hanging over the sides of the pan to allow for easy removal).

Whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl until lightly beaten, then stir in peanut butter, vanilla, sugar, baking soda, and salt with a rubber spatula or spoon until smooth. The batter will be very thick.

Fold in chocolate chips.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, and spread it into an even layer. A pastry roller comes in handy here.

Baking for 20 minutes (or 19 minutes if using a 7 x 11 pan), or until the tops of the blondies are golden brown. They will rise in the oven, but then deflate while they cool.

Let blondies cool completely before lifting them out of the pan using the overhanging parchment paper. Cut into squares.

Store in the fridge.

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