Today is one of those cozy days in LA. It's not quite raining but it looks like it could at any moment and the air smells fresh and of damp flowers (I know this because I walked down the street to get my coffee this morning as we ran out & I forgot to buy more). Maybe it's my Vancouver-heritage but I love these days in LA when I get to wear sweaters, and hot beverages make me feel cozy instead of like I'm melting. Everything just seems a little quieter and I like to imagine people cuddled up inside with tea & blankets. It's the perfect day for things like crafting and baking and good books and homemade soup...
One of my favorite things to make on days like today is a warm loaf of banana bread (if you just laughed at "warm loaf" you're awesome). I love to get up and bake it in the morning so I can have it fresh with my coffee (okay, my 2nd cup of coffee - first cup must be consumed prior to opening eyes).
This banana bread is especially great because it doesn't contain any refined sugar which means you can feel good about pretending it's a breakfast food (unless you add dark chocolate like I do with mine in which case you now have to pretend that chocolate is a breakfast food - but I've never had much of a problem with that). It also happens to be vegan which, again, means you can totally eat the batter. Get ready to not have any leftovers with this one.
You will need:
2 cups flour (I like to use white whole wheat flour)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt (I used sea salt)
1 cup of chopped nuts/seeds (I used a combo of walnuts & sunflower seeds)
3/4 cup chopped dark chocolate - about 100g. (optional)
1/4 cup of milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
6 tbsp. coconut oil (you can also use olive oil or butter)
5 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups mashed, ripe bananas (about 4 or 5)
1.) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
2.) Grease & flour your pan or line it with parchment paper (I used a loaf pan but you can also use an 8x8 cake pan)
3.) In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients & mix well.
4.) In a separate bowl, mix together wet ingredients (I mixed mine in the food processor. If you don't have one you can do it by hand, just mash the bananas separately first or it will be difficult to get rid of the chunks).
5.) Pour wet ingredients into bowl of dry ingredients and gently stir until combined. (When mixing wet & dry ingredients for baking you want to stir them as little as possible because once flour is mixed with a liquid it activates the gluten and the more you stir it the more the gluten develops. Over-developed gluten will make your baking dense & tough instead of light & fluffy).
6.) Now fold in your nuts and/or chopped chocolate.
7.) Pour into your pan and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown & a toothpick comes out clean (or covered in melted chocolate - just not batter).