I have always loved cake! Cookies, bars, sweets were my favorite food group as a child. However as a child I never knew when to quit, the treats didn’t satisfy my body’s hunger – just my sweet tooth.
As active women we need snacks and treats that honor our bodies and everything we demand of them. That means we need healthy fats, complex carbs, protein and of course good flavor!
Quick breads provide a great way to have a sweet snack that is satisfying because they lend themselves so well to tinkering and substituting in healthier ingredients to boost nutrition and staying power. Kind of like having your cake and eating it too!
This banana bread delivers on all levels – one of my favorites! It is makes a great mid morning snack with tea or coffee. It even stands in as a superb dessert, topped with Coconut Cashew Ice Cream and a healthy dash of cinnamon (this is my favorite evening treat)!
1 cup barley flour (any whole grain flour will do, I refer barley for its low gluten content – it produces a nice tender crumb)
1 cup tef flour (you can use all tef to make this gluten free, the bread without gluten crumbles easier – but has an even more intense cocoa flavor, really delicious)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped (you can use raw here, but since you are baking the bread anyway, give them a quick 10 minute toast in a 350 degree oven to intensify the flavor)
2 oz super dark chocolate, finely chopped or grated
3 very ripe bananas
1/4-1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup plain yogurt (easily make this bread vegan by substituting coconut milk yogurt or soy yogurt)
2 local, free range eggs (want it vegan? Simply combine 1/4 cup flax meal with 1/4 cups cold water – allow to site a few minutes to “gel” and omit the eggs)
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup flax meal (this boost the fiber and omega 3 fats!)
Use coconut oil to grease the bottom and only 1″ up the sides of a 9 x 5″ loaf pan, dust oiled portion what barley or tef flour. Leaving the majority of the pan sides ungreased helps the bread rise higher – it can get more traction to climb up the sides.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk dry ingredients in medium bowl, stir in walnuts and chocolate and set aside.
80% dark chocolate, finely chopped to add a bittersweet decadence to play off the notes of honey, coconut and banana
Use bananas at least this ripe – the riper the banana the less honey you can use(:
Mash bananas on a large plate with a fork and put them in a large bowl. Stir in whisked eggs, yogurt, vanilla, honey, flax and coconut oil.
This is my ideal amount of honey and coconut oil, just enough to make it sweet, but not over the top
Fold in dry ingredients just until no streaks of flour remain – don’t over stir.
Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for at least 1 hour. Check wth tooth pick, it should come out clean. Bake additional 5 minutes, check again. Sometime this bread can take up to 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Cool in an on wire rack for 10 minutes. Use butter knife to ensure sides are loose, then invert pan and allow loaf to cool completely. I store this bread in the fridge wrapped in plastic wrap and then slipped into a ziplock bag. It also freezes wonderfully.
Fresh baked and smelling sinful!