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Pumpkin Banana Gingerbread with Chocolate Chips

Another Thanksgiving full of food, family, and fun has passed, and attention has now shifted to the winter holidays. Along with gift shopping, holiday music-listening, and apartment decorating this time of year, I look forward to cooking & baking the foods I associate with winter – one of which is gingerbread.

I munched my way through the Autumn Date and Walnut Bread in no time, and soon thereafter found myself craving another seasonal loaf. One glance at Jessica’s Chocolate Banana Gingerbread on her blog How Sweet It Is, and I knew that an adapted version of that bread had to be the next baked good that I pulled from the oven.

As many of you know, I like to substitute some or all of the butter and oil called for in bread/muffin recipes with fruit or vegetable purees. I had an open can of pumpkin puree in the fridge (no big surprise there), and decided to add a fall-inspired ingredient to the wintery quick bread.

The pumpkin puree took the place of the butter, and I also subbed in white whole wheat flour for the all-purpose. I omitted the sugar, opting instead to rely on the robust flavor of the molasses and the inherent sweetness of the overripe bananas. I used a combination of low-fat buttermilk and 2% plain Greek yogurt, both of which contributed moisture to the butter-less bread. My final alteration was to use a modest amount of grain-sweetened chocolate chips, which have 1/4 the sugar of semi-sweet chocolate chips (4 grams of sugar for 2 Tbsp of grain-sweetened versus 16 grams of sugar for 2 Tbsp of semi-sweet).

This bread welcomes a smear of pumpkin butter:

… or a dab of butter. If you’re wondering what the heck I’m doing spreading butter on a butter-less bread, it’s because I like to use butter when I can really appreciate its rich taste and creamy consistency. Just the tiniest bit of butter melting on top makes the bread taste decadent for a minimal amount of added calories and fat.

I need to take a moment and thank Jessica for creating a recipe that brings together the delicious trifecta of banana, gingerbread, and chocolate! You can’t really taste my addition of pumpkin puree, but it does add moisture, nutrients, and a dark amber hue to the bread. This loaf is one that actually gets even better after a few days in the refrigerator. The bold flavors meld together and the texture remains moist and cake-like. The scattered bits of chocolate could almost fool you into thinking you’re eating dessert, but this bread is definitely healthy enough to fuel you through the morning rush or afternoon slump.

What with the inevitable food hangover from Thanksgiving still lingering, and the promise of holiday treats galore over the next few weeks, this Pumpkin Banana Gingerbread with Chocolate Chips is a great loaf to have on hand as a healthy way to enjoy the flavors of the season.

Pumpkin Banana Gingerbread with Chocolate Chips

adapted from Jessica’s recipe for Chocolate Banana Gingerbread at How Sweet It Is

yields 1 loaf

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 2 medium overripe (almost black) bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt
  • heaping 1/2 cup grain-sweetened chocolate chips (such as Sunspire)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lightly coat a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with canola oil cooking spray.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, egg, vanilla, and molasses. Whisk in the mashed bananas.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and yogurt
  6. Add half of the dry ingredients into the wet and stir until almost fully moistened. Stir in half of the buttermilk and yogurt mixture. Stir in the remaining dry ingredients, followed by the remaining buttermilk and yogurt. Stir until just fully moistened. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  7. Spoon batter into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top to create an even surface.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees F until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 50 minutes.


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