I’m not a baker. While I cook almost every day, I rarely bake. But I do love baked goods. And healthy baked goods make me smile. Made from whole grains, fruits and healthy fats. Oh my.
What else do I like? Peanut butter and bananas. Preferably together. I’ve also been known to sneak in a little bit of chocolate every day. Unsweetened cocoa powder in a smoothie. A square of darker than dark chocolate after dinner. Chocolate tea. (Yes, this exists. No calories included.)
And did you know that chocolate is actually good for you? It’s true. Not the milky, sugary, cheap chocolate found in most baked goods and grocery stores. But real chocolate. The dark, mysterious stuff. At least 70% cocoa mass. It’s an acquired taste, but once you have it, chocolate takes on a whole new dimension. My favorite treat is an ounce of red wine and a square of dark chocolate. Try it in a hot bubble bath and revel in the present moment. Your taste buds and your head will buzz.
You may feel like you need an excuse to enjoy such a hedonistic pleasure. Well, you don’t. As long as you don’t drink the whole bottle of wine or eat the whole bar of chocolate. One ounce of wine is only one quarter of a normal serving. That’s not very much, people. Just a few sips. But I have an excuse all ready for you anyways; red wine and dark chocolate are both rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants prevent cancer.
That’s not all.
Studies have shown that eating an ounce of chocolate per day lowers the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol is also responsible for storing fat on your belly. Stinky little hormone. Now, raise your hand if you want to kiss cortisol bye bye. My belly is pretty flat, and it’s quite flat considering that I gave birth four months ago. Perhaps I can attribute it to my love for chocolate.
I could write an entire post about dark chocolate, why you should eat it and learn to love it. Instead, I’ll save it for another day. But now you know why the recipe on Out of the Box Into the Kitchen for homemade Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Bread caught my eye and inspired me to summon my inner-baker. I know she’s in there somewhere.
I am too rebellious or creative (not sure which one) to simply follow Heather’s recipe exactly. Although I’m sure it’s fabulous, I needed to put my own spin on it. Here’s the recipe from Out of the Box Into the Kitchen, with my modifications and details in italics:
2 cups whole wheat flour – 1 cup organic whole wheat flour and 1 cup oat bran for added fiber (18 grams in just 1 cup!)
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 cup oats(quick cook or old fashion) – old fashion organic
1/2 cup sugar – replaced with 1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar – omitted
1/2 cup chocolate chips – I used dark chocolate chips, FYI, and also sprinkled a handful on top of the bread
1/2 cup milk – organic fat-free milk
3 bananas, mashed – not organic! I generally don’t buy organic bananas because their thick peels protect them from pesticides and I gotta save $$$ when I can
1/2 cup peanut butter – organic, creamy, unsalted peanut butter
1 egg – organic
2 tbsp applesauce – organic, no sugar added
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350. Grease 2 bread pans or a bundt pan (I just used one bread pan). Set aside.
Mix together dry ingredients including chocolate chips. Combine wet ingredients and slowly incorporate into dry mixture. Pour into pan(s) and cook for 40 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean.
The verdict? A satisfying, moist and cakey melange of peanut butter, banana, chocolate and honey. No element overpowered the others. Not too sweet, but not apparent that I completely omitted brown and white sugar. I really liked it warm with a small sliver of Earth’s Balance Organic Vegan “Butter.”
Note: Honey is the most nutritious in its raw, unpasteurized state. If you’re going to eat honey in yogurt, smoothies, on bread, etc., buy raw honey, please. In this bread, the honey would be baked anyways, so I used pasteurized clover honey I had sitting around. Not ideal, but I figured that it was still healthier than refined sugar.
I did need to cook the bread for longer than 40 minutes. Probably closer to 50 minutes. And the texture was quite crumbly. It did not slice very easily. Possibly because I used honey instead of sugar, making the batter wetter than the original recipe. As I said, I am not a baker and I know little about baking. This is simply my guess.
Perhaps one of you experienced bakers could enlighten me? Why was my bread so crumbly?
Here are a few photos of the bread. Don’t judge my photography or food styling skills. Giovanna gave me a full 30 seconds to take them.