Chocolate Chip-Espresso Banana Bread

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I love banana bread but when you throw in deep, dark chocolate and a hint of espresso, something magical happens to this delicious breakfast staple–it gets even BETTER.  This bread was so moist and decadent, I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to my standard banana bread recipe again!  And I love that I get a little extra jolt of caffeine from the chocolate AND the espresso.  Pair it with a mug of steaming coffee and you’re good to go until lunch!

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Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip-Espresso Banana Bread
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c. Mashed, Very Ripe Bananas (I used 6 large bananas for this)
  • ¾ c., plus 2 T. Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ c., plus 2 T. Packed Brown Sugar
  • ¾ c. Coconut Oil, melted (original recipe calls for butter but coconut oil was all I had on hand)
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Large Eggs, room temp
  • 2¼ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 t. Instant Espresso Powder
  • 1½ t. Baking Soda
  • ¾ t. Baking Powder
  • 1½ t. Salt
  • 1 c. Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (I prefer Ghirardelli)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray one, 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer on low speed, beat together bananas, ¾ cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, melted coconut oil, vanilla and eggs. In another medium bowl, whisk together flour, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. With mixer on low, add flour mixture to banana mixture and thoroughly combine. Beat in chocolate chips. Pour into loaf pan. Sprinkle remaining 2 Tablespoons of granulated sugar on top.
  3. Bake 50-55 minutes, until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on cooling rack.

 

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Norwegian Lent Buns

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I had the extreme pleasure of going to a friends house this past week and witnessing a special dessert being made called fastelavensboller; basically cardamom yeast buns filled with whipping cream.  She is from Norway and these mark the beginning of Lent in her country.  A link to the recipe can be found here.  She made hers basically the same way, although she used regular all-purpose flour for the buns and filled them with a raspberry whipping cream.  They were decadent and so delicious.  Not to mention pretty!  She put hers into heart shaped tins for a special Valentine’s Day twist.  It was such a fun project and I felt so honored to be able to share in it!  I can’t wait to try making them myself!  Below are a few photos that documented the process.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread Glaze

I have been seriously struggling lately with inspiration for my blog.  And motivation.  I mean, I WANT to bake and blog and there are plenty of recipes out there that I’m dying to try, but it’s just a little daunting trying to find the time with a baby to be in the kitchen for an hour or more.  Not gonna lie, it kinda sucks.  Love my daughter but I miss baking!!!  Just keeping it real, people.

Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread Slices

Anywho, most of my recipes lately have been fairly simple and quick to make and honestly will probably stay that way for awhile.  And I really don’t see anything wrong with that as long as they TASTE good.  That’s the main objective, after all…something you want to eat!  Last week I was racking my brain trying to think of something easy to make and it occurred to me that I had quite a few overripe, frozen bananas in my freezer that I needed to use.  If for nothing else, I just needed that freezer space back!  I went to see how many I had and I counted 20 bananas.  Twenty!!!  That’s a lot.  Unbelievably enough, I couldn’t find a recipe that uses 20 bananas at once (shocking, I know) but I did manage to adapt this Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread from Sally’s Baking Addiction and use a whopping four bananas.  Woo hoo, my freezer will be cleaned out in no time!  NOT.  I have a feeling we’ll be eating a lot of banana bread in the future.

Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread Loaf

So like I said I adapted this recipe and threw in a little cocoa powder (I love the combo of chocolate and cinnamon) and added a crunchy cinnamon sugar top to the loaf.  It turned out moist and so delicious.  The only disappointing thing was that you couldn’t see the cinnamon sugar layer in the middle of the loaf because of the cocoa…I didn’t even think about that!  But it still tasted amazing.  Simple, homey and just good.  It’s a favorite banana bread recipe in our house now!

Enjoy!

Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread
 
Ingredients
Banana Bread
  • 2 c. Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • ¼ c. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ¾ t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1 t. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¾ c. Dark Brown Sugar, packed
  • ½ c. Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1½ c. Mashed, Very Ripe Bananas (about 4 bananas)
  • ⅓ c. Sour Cream
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Cinnamon Swirl
  • ½ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1½ t. Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter, melted (this will be reserved for the top of the loaf)
Simple Glaze
  • ½ c. Powdered Sugar
  • 1 T. Heavy Cream (or milk...all I had was almond milk so I used that)
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x5-inch loaf pan.
For the Banana Bread
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and sugar. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, bananas, sour cream and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do NOT overmix.
  2. Spoon half of the batter into prepared pan. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar mixture onto the batter in the pan. Top with remaining batter and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar mixture. Pour melted butter evenly over loaf. Bake for 50-55 minutes until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.
  3. While the bread is cooling, make the glaze in a small bowl by combine the powdered sugar, heavy cream and vanilla. Drizzle over the cooled banana bread. Store in an airtight container.
Notes
8-10 servings.

Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread Pieces

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Praline-Apple Bread

Praline Apple Bread

Praline Apple Bread Slice

I am into FAST recipes these days.  But of course they still have to be delicious.  And obviously were in the full swing of fall so they either need pumpkin or apples involved somehow.  Which gives us this super moist, super yummy Praline-Apple Bread.  I love quick breads, especially ones that are topped with a gooey praline topping.  The chunks of apples, bursts of cinnamon chips and crunchy, toasted pecans make this bread perfect for a brunch, snack or after dinner dessert!  I took it to a mommy/baby play date and it was almost gone by the time we left!  I call that a successful recipe!

Praline Apple Bread Slices

Praline Apple Bread Loaf

Enjoy!

Praline-Apple Bread
 
Ingredients
  • 1, 8 oz. Container Sour Cream
  • 1 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 t. Baking Powder
  • ½ t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1 t. Apple Pie Spice
  • 2 c. Finely Chopped, Peeled Jonagold Apples (or golden delicious, granny smith, etc. It ended up being about 3 large apples.)
  • 1½ c. Cinnamon Chips
  • 1 c. Chopped Pecans, toasted
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter
  • ½ c. Dark Brown Sugar, firmly packed
  • ½ t. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x5-inch loaf pan.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sour cream, sugar, eggs and vanilla on low speed for 2 minutes or until blended.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and apple pie spice. Add to sour cream mixture, beating just until blended. Fold in apples, ½ cup of pecans and 1 cup of cinnamon chips. Pour batter into loaf pan and sprinkle with remaining pecans and cinnamon chips, lightly pressing them into the top of the batter.
  4. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean, shielding with aluminum foil after 50 minutes to prevent excessive browning (I missed the tip about the foil and my edges were well done so I strongly recommend doing it.) Cool in pan on wire rack, placed over a baking sheet, for 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack.
  5. Bring butter and brown sugar to a boil in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly; boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and spoon over top of bread. Let cool completely. Store in an air-tight container.
Notes
Serves 10-12.

 

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Baking with Zucchini

Hi friends!  To follow up my majorly delicious (and healthy!) zucchini bread recipe, I thought I’d share even MORE recipes for baking with zucchini!  Just in case your garden overfloweth like so many people I know.  If you see more than you can bake at the moment, not a problem!  Just freeze your grated zucchini and thaw it out at a later time.  And I’ve included a mix of healthy and not-so-healthy recipes so there are options for everyone!

Chocolate-Cinnamon Swirled Zucchini Bread

Chocolate-Cinnamon Swirled Zucchini Bread by Bittersweet Blog

Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache by the Repressed Pastry Chef

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Zucchini Muffins

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Zucchini Muffins by Florida Coastal Cooking

Spiced Zucchini Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Spiced Zucchini Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting by My Baking Addiction

Zucchini Cookie Sandwiches

Zucchini Cookie Sandwiches by The Hall Family Blog

Zucchini Pineapple Cupcakes with Orange Sour Cream Frosting

Zucchini Pineapple Cupcakes with Orange Sour Cream Frosting by Brown Eyed Baker

Whole Wheat Zucchini Nut Muffins

Whole Wheat Zucchini Nut Muffins by Eating Clean Recipes

Zucchini Cookies with Chocolate Chips and Dried Cranberries

Zucchini Cookies with Chocolate Chips and Dried Cranberries by Two Peas and Their Pod

 

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Vegan, Whole-Grain, Pumpkin Zucchini Chia Bread

Whose garden is already being overrun with TONS of zucchini??  I would raise my hand but guess whose zucchini plants didn’t take this year–yeah, mine.  But I must be the only one because I am being blessed by everyone else’s overabundance from their gardens and have already started grating and freezing loads of zucchini.  I did want to use some of it right away though so decided on, what else, zucchini bread.  I love zucchini bread, always have.  I know that people get tired of it but I could eat it all day (uhh, which is NOT good, just fyi).  My favorite is a variation with lots of spices and pieces of black walnuts throughout, just like my grandma always made it.

Coincidentally, my friend Joelle had just posted this recipe and I decided to use it as a base for a healthy version.  If I’m going to use something as nutritious as zucchini in my baking, I have real issues with adding in refined sugar, unhealthy oils and unecessary fats (exception:  this recipe).  Seems kind of pointless, to be honest.  So I went for the extreme opposite and made this as healthy as I possibly could.  And what resulted was the best pumpkin zucchini bread I have ever had.  I really am not joking.  It was so moist and dense and had the perfect flavor.  I really had to pace myself with this stuff because let me tell you I could have eaten it all in a couple of days.

I had read that chia seeds could be used as a substitute for butter in baking which was interesting to me so I went ahead and used them along with some canned organic pumpkin (a million times better than the stuff at Wal-mart) and I really think that it worked even better than oil or butter in the recipe.  Very exciting!  Definitely look forward to experimenting more in the future.

Enjoy!

1.5 from 2 reviews
Vegan, Whole Grain Pumpkin Zucchini Chia Bread
 
Ingredients
  • 2.5 c. White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 t. Aluminum-Free Baking Powder
  • 1 t. Aluminum-Free Baking Soda
  • 1 t. Sea Salt (I prefer pink himalayan)
  • 1 T. Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ t. Allspice
  • ¼ t. Nutmeg
  • ¼ t. Ground Ginger
  • ¼ c. Almond Milk
  • 1 c. Honey (or Agave)
  • 1 c. Pumpkin Puree
  • 6 T. Chia Seeds, soaked in ½ c. Water
  • 3 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c. Shredded Zucchini, wrung with paper towels to rid excess liquid
  • ⅓ c. Black Walnuts, chopped
Instructions
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and ginger.
  3. In a medium bowl combine almond milk, honey, pumpkin puree, chia seeds that have been soaked in water and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Add to dry ingredients and gently fold in until everything is just combined. Add zucchini and walnuts and mix until evenly distributed throughout batter. Pour into loaf pan and bake for 45-55 minutes checking periodically to see if a tester comes out clean. Cool completely.
Notes
Serves 12

 

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Easiest, Yummiest (Healthy!) Banana Bread

 

Happy New Year!!  I hope you all had a fabulous weekend!  I’m sure that you celebrated to the max and are now on to thinking about all those New Year’s resolutions, one of which is most likely to lose weight.  Now, that’s all good and everything and I believe in you, I really do, but don’t go thinking dessert can’t fit into a healthy diet…in moderation, of course!  I mean, you have to have a little treat every now and then or else you’re bound to get so deprived that one day you snap and go to the nearest gas station, raid the candy bar aisle and have a total diet meltdown inside the confines of your car in a very dark parking lot somewhere and find yourself buried in a heap of wrappers and half-eaten Snickers…

Ummmm, ok.  Ahem.  Where was I??  Oh yes!  New Year’s resolutions.  I am not going to go totally health conscious on this blog but do want to support all of you out there in your healthy eating endeavors and in order to do so, I am making my very first post of the new year an uber-healthy one!  This banana bread is seriously delicious and seriously healthy.  I don’t mean low-fat, low-calorie healthy (although it is that also), I’m talking about chalked full of NUTRITION healthy.  There is ZERO oil in this bread and a healthy dose of Greek yogurt which is packed with tons of protein.  I also used wheat bran, thick cut oats and white whole wheat flour to give it some extra fiber and nutrients.  The edges got just a little well done, as you can see, but the bread turned out fabulous and I’ll definitely make this a staple in our household.

Enjoy!

Easiest, Yummiest, (Healthy!) Banana Bread
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ c. White Whole Wheat Flour
  • ½ c. Thick Cut Oats
  • ½ c. Wheat Bran
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • 1 t. Salt
  • ½ t. Cinnamon
  • 1 Large Egg, plus 1 Egg White
  • ½ c. Fat-Free Greek Yogurt
  • 1⅓ c. Mashed, Fully Ripe Bananas (3 bananas)
  • ¾ c. Honey
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, wheat bran, oats, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. In a large bowl, stir together egg and egg white, honey, vanilla, Greek yogurt and bananas. Add flour mixture to wet mixture and stir until just moistened. Pour into loaf pan and sprinkle with oats.
  3. Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack and cool completely.
Notes
Serves 16.

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Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Ok, confession time.  See, I have this feeling that I give off the impression on my blog that everything that emerges from my oven is perfect and beautiful and rainbows and puppies and all that cute stuff.  But the truth is, it’s not.  Every now and then I have some serious baking failures and not-so-perfect baking days.  Usually when it happens, I can immediately look back and realize what I’ve done wrong or need to do differently.  I didn’t go to a fancy, schmancy pastry school (I wish!) or get trained by some world renowned pastry chef; I’m just learning as I go.  So, in light of this revelation, I’d like to start off this post for a most delicious chocolate zucchini bread (more like cake, who are we kidding) with a short list of things I did “wrong”:

1.  Forgot an egg.

2.  Took it out of the oven prematurely, thus causing the middle to collapse upon itself.  Lovely.

3.  Didn’t line the pan with parchment or foil, thereby making the removal of the bread to a serving plate in one piece, a feat worthy of Houdini himself.

So, there it is.  Now, I can’t say that forgetting the egg made any difference and I did manage to throw the bread back in the oven and get it on the more cooked side as opposed to raw and inedible and getting it out of the pan only took one VERY large spatula and some sideways tipping maneuvering.  All in all, a good time in the kitchen.  Just ask my husband who has to listen to the choice words coming from that part of the house.

Needless to say, this cake…err, bread is one of the most delicious things I have every tasted.  It was incredibly moist and dense and formed a beautiful crust on the top.  And I loved the hint of cinnamon blended into the chocolate.  Also, I used mini semi-sweet chocolate chips both in the batter and on top and they kind of disappeared into the batter so next time I’ll use regular size or maybe chocolate chunks.  And there WILL be a next time.  Cause it was that good.

Enjoy!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Snack, Dessert
10-12
 
Ingredients
  • 1⅓ c. Vegetable Oil
  • 1 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 c. Dark Brown Sugar
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c. Grated Zuchinni, squeezed dry (I processed mine in a food processor; just be sure and remove any large seeds first)
  • ½ c. Cocoa
  • 2 c. AP Flour
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • 1 t. Salt
  • 2 t. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 c. Sour Cream
  • 1, 12 oz. pkg Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5x4½" baking pan or, if removing from pan, line with foil or parchment paper and grease well.
  2. In an electric mixer, beat oil and sugars on medium speed until well combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla. Beat in the zucchini.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.
  4. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the sour cream to the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry. Fold in one cup of the chocolate chips.
  5. Pour batter into pan and sprinkle the remainder of the chocolate chips over the batter and press down lightly.
  6. Bake for 1½ hours or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

 

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