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Healthy Banana Bread via Relishing it

I figure it’s finally time to share my favorite banana bread with all of you.  Really, what’s a food blog without a banana bread recipe, right?  I bet I make banana bread at least every couple of weeks.  My freezer is packed with bananas that don’t get eaten right away.  I just keep adding to the pile…one here, one there.  This recipe is a bit unusual because it calls for six bananas– so start saving up!

Healthy Banana Bread via Relishing It

Since we eat banana bread so often, I really wanted my version to be healthy.  I tweaked and tweaked and finally arrived at this recipe a while ago. It’s exactly what I wanted it to be.  Since over-ripe bananas are sweeter, you’ll only need a little bit of honey to get the sweetness just right.  No sugar added here.  The larger number of bananas really gives this bread deep flavor, as well as keeps it moist without much fat.  And speaking of fat,  I used a healthier virgin coconut oil in it.  The flavor combines perfectly with the bananas and chocolate.  I used a mixture of oat flour and whole wheat pastry flour for the base.  Combined, they give the bread a perfect texture– just slightly lighter than ordinary banana bread, but with enough heft to be satisfying.

Cacao Nibs for Healthy Banana Bread via Relishing It

Healthy Banana Bread via Relishing It

When it comes to the chocolate, you have a decision to make.  I prefer adding cacao nibs, but my kids/husband like chocolate chunks.  If you aren’t familiar with cacao nibs, they’re crushed cacao beans.  They are unsweetened and have a bit of a crunch that adds a nice texture.  They’re also loaded with antioxidants.  Alone they are somewhat bitter, but adding them to sweet things makes them delicious. Try throwing them into your next smoothie!  And lastly, I added chia seeds for more health benefits, because why not?

Healthy Banana Bread via Relishing It

A few reminders:  First, make sure to use really over-ripe bananas.  You’ll want that extra sweetness since you won’t be adding sugar.  I’m talking the blacker, the better.  Also, make sure you bake your banana bread long enough.  There is nothing worse than under-baked banana bread.  A longer bake time is better.  There are so many bananas in there that the chances of it being dry are very slim.  Hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

Healthy Banana Bread via Relishing It

The Recipe:  Healthy Banana Bread

(makes one loaf)

1/3 cup virgin coconut oil

1/4 cup honey

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

6 smashed over-ripe bananas (about 1 1/2 cup — a tablespoon or two extra is fine)

1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) oat flour

1  1/4 cup (7 ounces) whole wheat pastry flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup cacao nibs  OR  1 cup chocolate chunks

1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Lightly grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the oat flour, whole wheat pastry flour, chia seeds, salt, and baking powder with a whisk.  Set aside.

In a bowl of a stand mixer (or regular bowl if mixing by hand), add the honey and coconut oil.  Combine for a minute on medium speed until somewhat creamy.  Add the eggs and vanilla.  Mix for another minute, or so.  Then add the fork-smashed bananas.  Mix until well combined and somewhat smooth.  Next, sift the flour mixture over the wet ingredients.  Combine on low just until all of the ingredients are moistened.  Do not over-mix.  Add the cocoa nibs or chocolate chunks and fold in with a rubber spatula.  Scoop mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top.  Bake for 45-48 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean from the middle of the loaf.  The center should feel somewhat firm when you feel it.  Let cool in pan for about 20 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and gently remove from pan.  Continue to let cool on a cooling rack.  For best results, after cutting into it, place the cut side down on a cutting board and leave the rest of the bread uncovered for the first day.  The texture will remain true this way.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing it!  Hope you all are having a lovely Summer, so far!

Laurie

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