Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips

Banana bread has always been one of those all-time homey comfort foods for me (as it is, I’m sure, for most people).  Give me a fresh cup of coffee and a still-warm slice, and I’m in a happy place.  But there came a time, about a year ago, when banana bread became something more sinister…a treat that was only to be eaten if I felt like I was due for some massive tummy pain and nausea, resulting in me cursing the day I ever let a crumb of it pass over my lips.

For reasons unknown to me, my body decided one day that it was completely over me eating gluten.  I haven’t been tested for Celiac, but really all I need to know is that I can eat brown rice and quinoa til the cows come home; slip me some enriched pasta and I’m going to be ill for about 4 hours (not to mention I’m going to have major bitchface while I wait for it to get better.  My husband wholly endorses a gluten-free lifestyle).

Anyway, banana bread has been somewhat of a temptation food for me since all the gluten drama went down.  My kids still love it (especially with chocolate), and so I have dutifully baked it for them as I always have.  But later at night, after they have been put to bed, there is always a big willpower showdown in the kitchen between me and the banana bread.  We look each other over, I decide how lucky (or stupid) I feel, and it either ends with my dignity and stomach intact or… not.  But I have been branching out in my gluten free cooking and baking, and I am gaining confidence that I can still eat things that are made of more than rice and vegetables (although I will heart them forever).  I have been practicing with a gluten-free flour blend that I found at my local co-op, I purchased my first bag of xanthan gum, and away we go!

This bread is amazing.  It is…moist, delicious, chocolatey, springy, decadent, exactly like it should be and has been before.  Here are things it is not: crumbly, dry, bland, or a sub-par imitation of banana bread.  Every time I read someone’s description of their gluten free recipe creations, I always wonder if it really will be as good as they promise.  My imagination cranks up, and I picture someone smiling maniacally while saying this is soooo delicious!  It’s just like the real thing, I promise… knowing full well that the thing they are holding is decidedly un-delicious and miles away from the original.

This bread is the exact opposite of that day-mare scenario.  It is as good as the original.  It is ready to be enjoyed by everyone who loves banana bread, including those who have issues with gluten, lactose, fat, or eating animal products.  Somehow even with no oil, eggs, wheat flour or butter, this delicious little fellow is able to stand up and be proud to call itself banana bread!   Bake this and eat it in confidence, people will be in love with what you have made.

Banana Bread With Chocolate (Gluten/lactose free, vegan)

3 very ripe bananas (about 1 cup mashed)

The first 5 ingredients

1/3 c applesauce

1/2 c white sugar

1/2 c dark brown sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 c gluten free flour blend

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp xanthan gum

2 tsp arrowroot starch

1 Tb cinnamon

1/2 c chocolate chips (vegan, if desired)

  1. In a large bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients and stir together until totally blended.  In  another bowl, combine all other ingredients except for the chips.  Using a dry whisk, make sure your dry ingredients are nice and incorporated (you don’t want any clumps of baking soda!), and then add the dry into the wet.
  2. Mix the dry into the wet, and try not to over-mix.  Toss the chocolate with a little dash of flour – it helps keep them from sinking to the bottom of your bread – and then mix them into your batter.
  3. Spray a bread pan, a round cake pan, or muffin tins with cooking spray and fill with your batter.  Smooth the tops of the batter down with your spatula and bake it in your oven for 30 minutes.  Take it out and test it with a wooden skewer, if the dough seems undercooked, let it bake another 5 minutes. (**just a note: when I took mine out, I thought at first it wasn’t quite done.  But when I tested it, the stick come out clean, and I just let it cool.  I’m glad I didn’t over-bake it!)
  4. Let the bread cool in the pan for an hour, then remove and let it finish cooling – if you can!

I was really happy with the way this turned out, it gave me a boost to be able to find a spot in my life for this favorite while still taking care of my body.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!


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