I want to give a big shout out and thank you to my talented husband for taking the picture you see above. He and I have been teaming up to do some of the food photography for Honey and Cardamom, and I am very excited to continue this collaboration.
This banana bread is healthy enough to eat for breakfast, but is so delicious it totally works for dessert – especially if you add a scoop of ice cream (I love So Delicious dairy-free ice cream made with coconut milk). It is vegan – therefore free of cholesterol, and contains only a little fat in the form of coconut oil which is pretty darn good for you anyway. There’s a hit of whole wheat flour for protein, zero refined sugar, and some flax seed for omega-3’s. Really, it doesn’t get any better than this when it comes to soul-satisfying baked goods!
First, bananas 101: If you have heard the old story about using black bananas to make banana bread, wipe that from your memory right now! The truth is, overripe bananas are quite bitter, and will make your bread bitter too. Use bananas that are nice and yellow with a few black spots. If you are getting into healthy eating, I suggest you start stockpiling bananas in your freezer. Peel them when they are at that perfectly ripe stage I just described, put them in a freezer bag or airtight container, and freeze them for later use. Every week when I do my groceries, I buy a ton of bananas with the goal of eating a few and freezing the majority. You can blend them frozen to make smoothies, banana soft-serve, and a whole bunch of other fun stuff, or defrost them to bake with. Just FYI, they look a little yucky once defrosted, but they’re just fine, I promise.
Now a quick note on coconut oil: the stuff doesn’t blend too well unless it’s warm. And if you add anything cold to it, it will solidify and become a pain-in-the-ass! So instead of all the hassle I went through making this bread, do yourself a favor and mix any cold ingredients into the coconut oil before you melt it, and heat it all up together in one big bowl in the microwave. I do this with other baking that requires coconut oil – mixing everything from maple syrup to orange juice with the oil and then heating it all together. I just forgot this time and cursed myself for it. Oh well. C’est la vie.
This is what happened when I added cold almond milk to the coconut oil & brown sugar mixture. Little balls of solidified coconut oil all over the place. Luckily I fixed it by heating up the apple sauce enough that it melted everything when I added it in.
- 1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water
- 1/3 cup coconut oil (melted)
- 3/4 cup loosely packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 3 mashed bananas (about a cup, it’s fine to go a little over)
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a baking dish (I used a bundt pan, but you can use a loaf pan or an 8×8 baking dish.
- Mix the flax with the 3 tbsp water and set aside.
- Melt the coconut oil. If any of your ingredients are cold, heat them up at the same time. Think almond milk, apple sauce, even the bananas if they are cold from having been recently defrosted.
- Using a hand-held or standing mixer, beat together the brown sugar, coconut oil, apple sauce, almond milk, vanilla, flax mixture and bananas.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
- On low speed, blend the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, until almost fully blended (you should still see some streaks of flour). Using a large rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate chips, until no more streaks of flour remain.
- Pour the batter into your prepared pan and smooth out the top. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. This all depends on your pan and oven, so just keep checking every few minutes once you hit 45 minutes. Let the cake cool, in the pan, on a wire cooling rack, for about 20 minutes. This is super important! If you don’t have a wire rack, take a few cans or overturned mugs and sit the cake on these so it gets air circulating under it. This will keep the cake nice and fluffy. Now, put a plate on top of the cake pan, turn it upside down, give it a wiggle, and voila, you have your prize! Enjoy! 🙂