Dark chocolate lovers this one’s for you. A healthy double chocolate banana bread. And it’s vegan too! Yep, this is what my ideal snack looks like. Okay, not that it happens every week or anything, but sometimes it’s nice to have something chocolatey to give you a boost when that afternoon slump hits.
I guess chocolate banana bread is a no brainer, right? Okay, mostly this means chocolate chips are added to your favorite banana bread recipe. Yes, a good idea. Bananas and chocolate. Dreamy. Chocolate covered bananas, banana splits bathed in melted chocolate OR… a merging of chocolate and bananas in a double chocolate banana bread. Lovely idea, right? And because this is a dark chocolate banana bread, the banana flavor is quite subtle. Chocolate is the star of the show here. But this chocolate banana dream is healthy! It’s full of fruit (yeah, banana bread!) and just enough whole grains to make you feel good about it. There’s also a little unrefined mascobado sugar for its caramel undertones and pure maple syrup which transforms raw cacao powder into something glorious.
A chocolate banana bread with three types of chocolaty flavors
Not only does this banana bread have raw cacao powder, but there is also little chocolaty bits scattered throughout — dark chocolate bits. Then there is a sprinkling of raw cacao nibs over. I love cacao nibs, but of course they are an acquired taste. I find they have a wonderful rich earthy roasted bittersweet chocolate character. What I particularity love is that they are crunchy (kind of like roasted coffee beans) and because they are made from dried and fermented cacao beans they don’t melt like processed chocolate so you still get the crunch after the bread has baked.
Using spelt flour in baking
White spelt is more water-soluble and more easily digested than white all-purpose wheat flour which is why it is my first choice in baking – that is if I am not going for gluten-free. Yes, spelt contains gluten! But it is worth noting that it can be tolerated by some people with gluten sensitivities. Of course, whole grain spelt flour is the healthier choice, since white spelt flour has the bran and germ removed, but I sometimes I like to use a mix since with some baking it seems to get better results than using 100% whole grain spelt. Plus, the whole grain version is nutty, with a slightly sweet flavor which may or may not be what you’re going for. Apropos…it’s important to note, since spelt has a very fragile gluten structure, it is crucial not to overmix it. This will only breakdown the gluten, which may result in a bread that has a crumbly texture. All-purpose flour on the other hand has a gluten structure that strengthens when you continue to mix it. So be gentle with your spelt flour!
2 tablespoons chia seeds
6 tablespoons luke warm water
3 very ripe brown-spotted bananas, mashed with a fork (up to 315 g peeled weight)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (125 ml)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla powder
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (250 ml)
1 1/4 cup white spelt flour (Type 630) (150 g)
3/4 cup whole grain spelt (100 g)
2 teaspoons baking powder, aluminum free
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons soft brown sugar (I recommend GEPA organic raw cane sugar Mascobado)
4 tablespoons organic raw cacao powder (stark entölt)
generous pinch of sea salt
50 g dark chocolate, chopped (70% cacao) (*see notes)
1/2 cup flaked almonds (50 g)
cocoa nibs to garnish (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C and grease a ceramic loaf pan with coconut oil and dust with flour; tapping out any excess. Alternatively, line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Place the chia seeds and water in a small bowl and let stand for about 5 minutes (or until it takes on a gel-like texture).
3. Meanwhile, mash the bananas in a mixing bowl with a fork. Add the maple syrup, vanilla powder and almond milk. Whisk together until combined. Once the chia seeds have formed a gel, add them to the bowl, whisk to combine and set aside.
3. In second mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, cacao powder, and salt.
4. Add the wet mixture to flour mixture and mix/fold gently with a spatula just enough to combine. Be careful not to over mix! Add the chopped chocolate and almonds and gently fold in to combine.
5. Pour the batter into prepared loaf pan and level gently with spatula. Sprinkle with cacao nibs (if using).
6. Bake for about 1 hour and 25 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Check after 1 hour and 20 minutes for doneness.
7. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack to cool for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the chocolate banana bread from a loaf pan and place on the cooling rack to completely cool before slicing.
8. Store covered or wrapped in parchment paper (in a cool dry place) for up to 5 days. Enjoy!
For this recipe, I use a ceramic loaf pan (30.5 x 13.5 x 8.5 cm) – this one to be exact.
I use a vegan, organic pure dark chocolate bar with sea salt (70% Cacao) from GEPA cause it tastes awesome. Feel free to use your favorite brand of chocolate and an extra pinch of salt. I do however recommend choosing a high-quality brand that uses whole cane sugar rather than refined sugar. I you like things really chocolaty, go ahead and increase the dark chocolate to 100 g.
Cacao nibs can be found at your local organic food store. For the best value for money, I recommend buying them online.
I have also made this recipe with 2 large ripe bananas (235 g peeled weight) and it takes slightly less time to bake — 1 hour and 15 minutes. Chia seeds are great at absorbing moisture which gives you the flexibility to make the bread using more banana.
If you prefer a non-vegan version: bake the bread using 2 large ripe bananas and replace the chia seeds and water with 2 large eggs, lightly beaten. If preferred maple syrup can be replaced with honey.
PS) unsweetened coconut flakes are a nice addition too! Like in this coconut cacao nib banana bread recipe. :-)