When you came out of the oven, your smell wafting through the small apartment, I knew: this is love. I had an inkling to the enormity of this feeling when I was stirring in the chocolate chunks, imagining the bliss that lay in store. But now, as I see their black, silky bodies broken down into ribbons of the sweetest molten paradise, running through you like veins, I am stupefied by just how strongly I feel about you.
Chocolate paleo banana bread, you’re the one.
Some of you may remember my decision to try and keep a vegetarian paleo diet for one month. I have to say that it wasn’t easy, especially at first, but I was also quite surprised by how natural it became as time went on. And after a month of reading labels and agonizing over whether I can eat store-bought mustard (I did), some parts of the habit died harder than others.
The most important part was how good keeping paleo made me feel. I was energetic, down to the point that it was easier to get up in the mornings, and afternoon naps no longer seemed as necessary to life as oxygen and running water. My stomach stopped hurting all the time, and the wretched bloated feeling went away. I lost weight, sure; but it wasn’t even so much about that as about the new feeling that seemed to course through my body: I felt lithe, strong, unencumbered.
So I made the decision to keep paleo every three months. In July, I finished my third round, and I’m proud to say I only felt better. I enjoyed keeping paleo so much that I even felt bad going back to my normal eating (pescetarian, lactose-free, low on yeast, low on sugar); alas, an impending trip to Argentina beckoned me with its ice cream and bowls of pasta.
But while I love paleo, and would strongly recommend it to others, there is one thing that bothers me the entire time I keep this diet – the lack of happy endings. I am not a big dessert eater, and I usually try to avoid sugar. But during the months of paleo, the thing that drove me up the walls during the first adjustment period was always my body’s craving for sugar. Paleo, with its lack of any baked goods or the guilt associated with eating a piece of chocolate, really sparked the sweet-tooth in me.
I have tried different ways to combat this: I made paleo almond butter cookies that turned into a pile of goo. I ate strawberries like they were going out of style. I mashed bananas and fried them into pancakes. I drizzle just a touch of maple syrup into my coffee. But still, I missed the heft of a piece of cake, the feeling of drinking tea and dunking a perfectly formed shortbread cookie into it.
That’s how my search for the perfect paleo banana bread began. And after trying scores of recipes, testing flour combinations and trying to decide if I preferred chocolate to walnuts or raisins, I am happy to declare: we have a winner!
This chocolate paleo banana bread is dense but airy, and chock-full of banana goodness. Sweetened only with coconut sugar, it’s just on the right side of sweet, and makes a great breakfast or afternoon snack. I love it with tea, coffee, or a thin smear of coconut oil on top.
Anyway you slice it, this chocolate paleo banana bread is the bee’s knees.
- 3 ripe bananas, mashed
- ⅓ cup (70 grams) melted coconut oil
- ⅔ cup coconut sugar
- 3 flax eggs or regular eggs, beaten
- ⅓ cup almond milk or applesauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Up to ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- Pinch of ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup (95 grams) coconut flour
- 1 cup (95 grams) hazelnut or almond flour
- 2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, choped
- Preheat oven to 350F. In a large mixing bowl and using a wooden spoon, mix coconut oil into the mashed bananas.
- Add in the coconut sugar, eggs or flax eggs, almond milk/ applesauce, vanilla and spices. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in.
- Add the flours last, mixing just enough to incorporate - take care not to overmix! Stir in the chopped baking chocolate, and fold to combine.
- Transfer mixture into a buttered 4×8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes to one hour, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool on a rack.
- NOTE: I tend to keep my chocolate paleo banana bread in the pan, and don't bother taking it out. However, if you're looking to serve it, you may want to try - just be very, very gentle and accept that it may break.