Chocolate Pecan Banana Bread

This recipe originated with my mother, Mary, who typed it out for me, and I made it so many times, the paper became stained with droplets of ingredients. The original version was loaded with refined sugar and butter. This adaptation is plant-based, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free and has no refined sugar. If you love banana bread, this one will surprise you because it's full of flavour while delivering health benefits that the traditional version cannot. Mom's advice: use bananas that are so old that the skins are almost black. 

 

FLAVOUR:  Aged bananas have had time to develop the natural sugars and aromatic flavours that make this a great family favourite. The cocoa gives a familiar chocolate flavour while the sourdough starter imparts richness.

BENEFITS:  Lower in calories and saturated fats with zero cholesterol, this bread can be enjoyed anytime. Substituting chia seeds for eggs increases heart-healthy omega-3s and provides a good dose of potassium. Using monk fruit means no added sugar and adds sweetness without the downsides. No added salt lowers daily sodium intake.

 

Yield: 1 loaf, 10 servings

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Equipment: Loaf pan 8” x 4” (20 cm x 10 cm), mixing bowls, sharp knife, whisk, parchment paper, wooden skewer

 

Ingredients

2 chia seed "eggs" (see note 1)

½ tsp monk fruit or ½ cup
(100 g) sugar

3 tbsp (45 g) almond butter

2 tbsp (30 ml) filtered water

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp (30 ml) plant-based milk (almond, soy, etc.)

1 tbsp (15 ml) apple cider vinegar

3–4 medium-sized aged bananas
(350 g), mashed

⅓ cup (75 g) rye sourdough starter discard (see note 2)

2 cups (276 g) whole wheat pastry flour (see note 3)

⅓ cup (35 g) unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

¼ cup (38 g) crushed pecans

20-25 pecan halves

 

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Or if you are using a dark pan for baking, set the temperature to 325°F (163°C).

In a medium bowl, blend monk fruit (or sugar) with chia seed "eggs". Add almond butter, 2 tablespoons of water and vanilla extract and mix until fully incorporated. Set aside.

Mix vinegar and plant-based milk in a small bowl. After it curdles slightly, stir a few times, then add to the wet ingredients. Add the mashed bananas and sourdough starter and mix well. 

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa and baking soda together. Add to the wet ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined. Do not overmix. Fold in pecans or nuts if using.

Line the pan with parchment paper, even if you are using a nonstick or ceramic pan. It should help the bread release easily.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Push the batter slightly higher at the edges than at the centre. Place the pecans in a design on the top of the loaf. They will move apart as it bakes.

Bake for 1 hour and check doneness with a wooden skewer inserted in the centre. Bake up to an additional 20 minutes, checking at 10-minute intervals. A foil cover can be used after 1 hour to prevent over-browning and burning the pecans on top. Do not overbake.

Remove from oven and let cool for 1 hour before removing from pan and serving.

Note 1: Add 2 tablespoons (20 g) ground chia seeds and mix with 6 tablespoons of warm water. Let sit for three minutes, until it has a gel-like consistency.

Note 2: If you don’t have sourdough starter, just eliminate it and adjust your baking time as the moisture content will be reduced by a few minutes. I use rye starter because it is robust and flavourful, but it is more common for people to have white flour starter on hand and this is useful as well. This is a great way to use sourdough starter discard.

Note 3: Whole wheat pastry flour is used because it is lower in protein thus making the bread less tough where you are not using extracted oil. If you don’t have pastry flour, you can use either white flour or whole wheat flour. White flour does not have the same health benefits. Whole wheat flour will cause the bread to be denser, but it will still taste great and be healthy.

 Flavour with Benefits - Chocolate Pecan Banana Bread with Monkfruit Nutrition FactsFlavour with Benefits - Chocolate Pecan Banana Bread with Sugar Nutrition Facts