Chocolate Chip-Espresso Banana Bread

_MG_0569

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!

_MG_0572

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.

 

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

Banana, Oat & Quinoa Bars

Lately I’ve been doing more healthy baking and noticing that I feel like I’m using the same ingredients over and over again for a lot of the new recipes I’m trying.  You’d think that everything would taste the same using the same ingredients repeatedly, but it’s truly amazing the different variations you can get just with a few simple ingredient swaps.  For instance, I’ve done Cinnamon Apple Pecan Oatmeal Bars which have really similar ingredients to these and I’m discovering the quinoa can be used in lots of healthy dessert recipes, yet somehow these Banana, Oat & Quinoa Bars are still unlike anything I’ve made.

They remind me of a cross between banana bread and oatmeal bars and are very homey and good.  The original recipe called them 4-Ingredient Banana Oat Bars but of course they had more ingredients than that after I was done with them so the name changed a bit.  They could also be considered gluten-free (although there is debate whether oats are truly gluten-free, so please use your own judgement) and have very little added sweetener, which is nice.  All in all a great recipe and one that I’ll make over and over again.

Enjoy!

Banana, Oat & Quinoa Bars
 
Ingredients
  • 3 Large, Very Ripe Bananas, Mashed
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ c. Raw Honey or Agave
  • 2 c. Rolled Oats (I used 1 c. thick-cut oats and 1 c. rye oats)
  • ½ t. Cinnamon
  • ¼ t. Nutmeg
  • ½ t. Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
  • 1 c. Cooked Quinoa (or just use another cup of oats)
  • ½ c. Pitted, Chopped Dried Dates
  • ¼ c. Chopped Nuts (optional--I omitted just because)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9x9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Place the mashed bananas, vanilla and honey in a large bowl and stir until combined.
  3. In another large bowl whisk together the oats, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Add to the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in the quinoa, dates and nuts (if using).
  4. Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 30 minutes. Cool completely and cut into squares. Store in an air-tight container.
Notes
Makes 12 bars.

 

Continue Reading

Bakery Review – Sara Sara Cupcakes in Oklahoma City

Jeremy and I took a whirlwind trip to Oklahoma City this weekend.  The original purpose of the trip was to visit a little candy shop I have been eyeing online for what seems like forever called Pinkitzel.  From what I had seen of their website, this place seemed like a candy lovers dream and their decor was right up my alley–pink, white, black and Rococo everywhere!!  I was absolutely in love.  I had to go.  NOW.  So we decided to do it and after realizing it would take nearly 5 hours to make the drive, we booked a hotel.  Well, at least I thought we had booked a hotel. Jeremy surprised me by booking a B&B just outside of the Tulsa area.  It was so sweet…I think I’ll keep him. 😉

So knowing that we didn’t have to rush back and could just do whatever on Saturday, I immediately looked up other places around OKC we could get our sugar fix at.  I found a few cupcake places and narrowed it down to one and then also discovered another candy shop and a chocolate shop.  Fun!

We set out early (5:30!) Saturday morning and made it just in time for our first destination to open up.  Sara Sara Cupcakes is located in an old, historic party of Oklahoma City…and it is SO ADORABLE.  The house is quite aged, probably built in the early 1900’s which of course only adds to the charm.  They’ve painted the doors pink and the inside is totally white and clean/modern looking.  I loved it.

 As for the cupcakes, they were HUGE which made sense since they were $3.59 each.  I kind of freaked out about the price (however would I be able to try  my regular half dozen?!), but then I was informed that on that day they were 3 for $9…not bad!

So it was decision time…I hate this part!  I am HORRIBLE at making decisions, especially when it comes to dessert and I was struggling.  I can’t tell you how many times the employees at these places stare at me like I’m crazy while I stand in front of their bakery cases looking constipated and Jeremy is flitting around taking pictures.  Yeah…we probably look insane.  But oh well, all in the name of research!  So I managed to decide, with some input from Jeremy, and we came up with the following delightful cupcakes:  Coconut Cream, Crimson & Cream and Judge Joe Cannon.  I will say up front that these cupcakes are delicious and straightforward.  They were all homey and just good.  Nothing fancy or over the top.  Cake and frosting.  That being said, here’s the breakdown of each one.

Our least favorite was the Crimson & Cream.  And not because it was bad!  It definitely was not bad, it was just not our favorite.  The red velvet cake was the perfect buttermilk, red velvet cake…so moist and the cocoa was just barely noticeable.  Like red velvet should be.  Topped with a delicious, not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting and chocolate shavings.  We liked it a lot.

Our next favorite was the Judge Joe Cannon, a banana cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting and chunks of Snickers.  I personally LOVED this banana cupcake because it was actually a super thick and dense banana bread.  Oh, it was soooo good.  However, the frosting was totally a let down…it was not a buttercream but more like a whipped topping that was greasy and slightly grainy.  I was really bummed about it because I loved the cake part so much.

And our absolute favorite was the Coconut Cream.   A delicious and moist chocolate cake topped with a milk chocolate frosting and yummy toasted coconut.  Loved it.

 

 Such a great start to the weekend!  If you are in the area, definitely pick up some cupcakes from them!

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Bring On The Weekend: Saturday Morning Breakfast

Needing some inspiration for breakfast tomorrow morning?  Me too!  As I was researching some seriously sweet breakfast recipes, I came across so many I couldn’t decide which ones I wanted to share, they all looked so good!  So I thought, why not share them all?  For me, there is nothing better than actually having time to cook or bake on a Saturday morning and filling your whole house with delicious smells of a homemade breakfast.  And since Saturday is usually our “cheat” day around our house, it’s a great time to try one of these not-so-healthy, but oh-so-delicious recipes.  Yay!

Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!

Banana Bread by Whipped

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes by Recipe Girl

Homemade Pop-Tarts by Smitten Kitchen

Apple Cinnamon Buns by What Katie Ate

Monkey Bread by Gimme Some Oven

Chocolate Chip Waffles by Tasty Kitchen

Overnight French Toast Casserole by The Girl Who Ate Everything

Red Velvet Donuts by Taste and Tell

 

Continue Reading