Banana Bread w/ Chocolate & Walnuts
The quality, and source, of the flour we consume is incredibly important for our health. Even if you only care about taste, this will benefit you too! Freshly milled, whole grain flours are full of flavor that is otherwise lost in the refining process.
Investing in freshly milled flour means that unless you go through flour quickly (1-2 months), it will need to be stored in an airtight container in the fridge (6 months). I use these large containers to transfer and store my fresh flours in the refrigerator. If you don’t have enough space, consider refrigerating half and keeping the other half at room temp to use up first.
My number one, go-to flour source is Flourist up in Canada. They ship to the US too and have some of the best sifted spelt, whole spelt, and rye that I’ve ever tasted!
I alter between their wheats and a locally milled wheat source here in southern California, Grist & Toll. I encourage you to seek out your local millers of organic grains as well, it’s important to support as many of them as we can :).
To learn more about stone milled flour, read here.
There will never, ever be enough banana bread recipes. My favorite one changes seemingly every year, but this one has lasted two years, so it wins for being shared here with you!
A few of my favorite things about this banana bread:
First is the fact that it is made without oil (!). Instead I use almond flour as a whole-food fat source, and it makes the loaf really moist and ‘buttery’ tasting. It even browns the edges to make truly the most desirable crust (something I have to keep myself from eating off the top of the loaf while I wait for it to cool, anyone else?). Another is the fact it is naturally sweetened with both coconut sugar and maple, the balance is just perfect with the bananas. Not too sweet, but still a treat! And lastly, it is the nice tall, thick slices you get out if its well-structured rise. I use a pullman-loaf pan for all of my quick breads, but it will still rise beautifully in a more traditional 9x7 loaf pan.
If you’re needing this recipe to be without gluten, know that I am not gluten free so this unfortunately isn’t a specialization of mine when it comes to recipe development! However, I have heard many people having success with their favorite gluten free flour blend as a swap in quick bread recipes. So I would encourage giving that a try. For my nut-free folks, I’m sorry I don’t have a good substitute for the almond flour here, it is pretty essential for this recipe.
And lastly, have fun with the mix-ins :). I use toasted walnuts and dark chocolate (highly recommend trying once) but feel free to swap the nut with maybe a pecan or macadamia, and trade the chocolate for some blueberries! All combinations I’m sure would be super yum. Or you can leave them out completely too.
BANANA BREAD W/ CHOCOLATE & WALNUTS
Adapted from Minimalist Baker.
Makes 1 loaf, 10 slices.
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
3 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cup mashed, ripe banana (about 3 medium)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup coconut sugar
3 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup plant milk (such as oat, soy or almond)
2 cups sifted spelt flour
1 cup almond flour
3/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 to 3 ounces of dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup of raw walnut halves
Preheat the oven to 375F. Toast the walnuts on a tray for 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool before roughly chopping.
Combine the flaxseed and water, set aside to thicken.
Mix together in a large mixing bowl the mashed banana, coconut sugar, maple, vanilla, and plant milk.
Add the thickened flax mixture and stir.
Measure the spelt flour on top of the liquids, and sift in the almond flour to break up any lumps.
Add the salt, cinnamon, powder, and soda.
Mix together, and once the batter starts to come together, fold in the chopped chocolate and walnuts.
Pour the batter into a parchment lined 5x7 loaf pan (I used a Pullman loaf pan).
Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes (covering with foil during the last 20 minutes).
Check after an hour by inserting a thin knife into the center, and bake for the last 20 minutes if needed (I always need to).
Remove from the pan and let cool on a wire rack.
Enjoy a slice warm, and let the rest cool completely under a tea towel before slicing and storing in an airtight container in the fridge.
This is best enjoyed within 3 to 4 days. (Can also be frozen, sliced, if you need to.)