Cocoa Butter Banana Bread

Banana Bread

  • Servings: 1 loaf
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup cocoa butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup vanilla sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup flax, ground
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8 oz. dark chocolate, broken into small chunks
  • 1 cup pecans, crushed

Directions

Mash the bananas with a fork until mostly smooth. Mix the melted cocoa butter, bananas, eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder, then stir in the flax and salt. Stir together the dry and wet ingredients until the dry ingredients have just been moistened. Stir in the chocolate and pecans, then pour into a prepared 5″x9″ loaf pan. Bake for 75 minutes at 325ºF until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean.

And now for the details…

Before getting into the full story, I should probably mention that this banana loaf was much more in the crumby cake side of texture as opposed to the more typical ultra moist banana bread. This is a texture I prefer, but if you like the super smooshy type of banana bread, this is not the loaf for you.

As far as where my inspiration came from, it was from, as usual, meandering around my grocery store. I randomly found some raw cocoa butter on sale. I stood in front of the shelf for quite awhile with the bag in my hand. What was I going to use it for? No idea. It’s supposed to be really good for you. But what are these purported health benefits of this fat compared to most others? And how would I use it? I think I melt it down as a fat replacement in meals? Surely I can figure something out. Hadn’t I heard of people putting it into smoothies at the very least? If I used it for cooking, would it make everything taste like chocolate? But most importantly it’s on sale… how could I say no?

Well, I took it home… and it sat sad and lonely in my pantry closet for months. So yeah, it was on sale, and I bought it, and then I almost forgot about the gorram thing.

So months went by and one day I had some uber ripe bananas that clearly needed a home in a baked good. Which I suppose is not saying a lot for me… once a banana has one brown spot on it, it’s too ripe for fresh eating, and is officially a baking banana. I do thoroughly enjoy me some banana baked goods, however, and a good banana bread is a pretty delicious snacking option. And then, I remembered *ba-ba-da-baaaaaa* cocoa butter! Now could be its big break!

Looking into the cocoa butter since I bought it, the health benefits that I’d thought I’d heard or read about seemed… weak. Does it provide a good fat source for folks functioning off a keto diet? It sure does… like pretty much any fat source out there. Is it quite high in phytosterols, which have claim to lowering LDL cholesterol? Yes it is… like many vegetable oils. But… I don’t follow a keto diet, and while I try to maintain an overall healthy and balanced diet, phytosterol intake is not something I am monitoring. Sure hope this stuff is delicious, cause that’s the main thing I am now focused on. Worse case, I suppose, I could slather it on my body instead and have an expensive, but delicious smelling moisturizer!

Let’s get to cooking.

My mistake when making this was to start with mashing the bananas. What I really should have started with was getting the melting process of the cocoa butter going. Cocoa butter is clearly a winner from a shelf stability perspective. It’s melting point is higher than coconut oil or butter, and it takes quite bit longer to melt down to a useable liquid than most other fat options I have used. One of my favourite parts, though: when a little bit of the melted butter smashed onto my hands while stirring, and I rubbed it into my skin instead of wiping it off. Seriously, great moisturizer if nothing else.

Before we get to the next step, preheat the oven to 325ºF.

Once you have the butter melted and the bananas mashed, mix the two together, than add in the eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla. I used vanilla sugar in the recipe, which I have in my pantry by throwing a used vanilla pod into some sugar in a hermetic glass jar in the pantry. Regular sugar would do just just fine, just increase your vanilla addition to about 1.5 teaspoons.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, flax, and salt. You can buy flax pre-ground, but I buy the flax whole and grind it just before you use it. I have a separate coffee grinder that I keep specifically for grinding seeds and spices, which I used to grind the flax.

Next, mix the dry and wet ingredients until they are just combined. Next is to add the chocolate and pecans, and stir into the batter until fairly evenly mixed in.

Grease the loaf pan, and line it with parchment paper. Turn the batter out into the prepared pan, and place into the preheated oven. Bake for around 75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the loaf comes out clean.

Remove the pan from the oven, let it cool, then cut and enjoy!

Happy eating.

Passionfruit Chia Pudding with Berry Compote

Passionfruit Chia Pudding with Berry Compote

  • Servings: 5
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup strawberries, cut in small pieces
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 + 1 tsp vanilla
  • 800 ml coconut milk
  • 1/3 passionfruit purée
  • 2 Tbsp turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 cup white chia
  • 4 Tbsp shaved coconut, toasted

Directions

Wash and cut strawberries into small chunks. Wash raspberries and add both to pot. Cook on low-medium heat, until cooked down (~10 minutes). Add 1 tsp vanilla and honey, cook until honey is dissolved. Cool and place in containers. Mix together milk, purée, 1 tsp vanilla and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Add the chia seeds until just mixed, and pour over the compote. Let set for a minimum of 30 minutes in the fridge. Top with coconut and serve.

And now for the details…

I’ve been needing a good breakfast option lately, and have gotten into the bad habit of buying it at my coffee shop on the way to work. The option I have been purchasing frequently? Chia pudding with a fruit compote. And every time I buy it I question why I buy instead of make. It is relatively easy to make and WAAAAAAY cheaper for me to make it at home and take it to work instead of purchasing. Not to mention, I would be producing way less waste by making it in a reusable container instead of throwing the bought plastic into the recycling bin every day.

And so… I made some! In this recipe, I chose to amp up the pudding with some passionfruit purée, and made the compote from strawberries and raspberries that I had in the fridge, which were starting to look a little rough.

We start with our compote. Wash and trim the strawberries and cut into small chunks. These strawberries had seen better days and I needed to trim around the brown spots as well.

Place the strawberries into a medium sized pot and set them on the stove at medium-low heat. Wash the raspberries and add them to the pot with the strawberries.

Let the berries cook, stirring regularly to avoid the fruit from burning on the bottom of your pot, until they have softened and are breaking down into an almost jammy consistency. Add the honey and 1 tsp of vanilla, stirring until completely mixed in. Then allow to cool completely.

Next we will mix our pudding. Start by mixing the coconut milk and passionfruit purée together. The passionfruit is going to balance the creaminess of your coconut milk by adding a tart, fruity, and slightly floral flavour to your pudding. Passionfruit purée… where do I find it, you may ask? There are a few options. You could buy fresh passionfruit from a grocer who offers them, hope you have waited the right amount of time for them to ripen enough (unripe passionfruit are quite tasteless, make sure the fruit skin is super wrinkly), scoop the pulp to a blender, add a bit of water, purée, then strain and separate the liquid form the seeds. You could do that. Or… you can find it at your local latin market in the freezer section! You might be able to tell which option I prefer…

Add your sugar and vanilla, and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved. Finally, add your chia and stir until completely blended. Try to avoid stirring too much, which can make the pudding “tough”.

To get the pudding ready to serve, start by pouring your compote into your containers. I used a pastry bag made from parchment paper (a trick I learned by binging on Anna Olson shows) to help me avoid slopping up the sides of the container while I was pouring.

Next, pour in your chia pudding. Be careful to do this gently so it does not end up mixing into the compote and all ending up as one big blended mess!

And now? Put a lid on it! Bahahaha I’m so funny. But seriously. Cap your puddings and put them in the fridge to set. The chia seeds will soak up the liquid from the coconut milk and passionfruit purée and turn into more of a pudding texture. Once you are ready to eat (leave it at least overnight), top your pudding with some toasted coconut for texture (bake your coconut on a cookie tray at 350ºF until they are golden brown and cool), and eat!

Happy eating.