I’ve been horrible. I’ve been eating naughty foods, nary a fruit or vegetable to be found on my plate for days. I had a bunch of legumes for lunch, but the chickpeas were doused in masala and cradled in a pillowy blanket of fried dough.
So as penance I’ve baked a nutritious breakfast, which freezes well and can be easily transported to work and munched quickly near a keyboard and mouse. I figured the only thing that is staving off obesity is my habit of healthy morning meals often baked in double batches, ready to go each psychotically harried morning, with a second helping frozen for the following week. This concoction is based on a recipe from one of my indispensable cookbooks, The Joy of Cooking. The unusual mixing method produces a tender, cakey, moist loaf with hardcore banana flavour. To make it my own, I’ve added even more banana and some good morning goodies, like cranberries and a shot of instant espresso powder. I figured eating your coffee while drinking it is sure to wake you up. Also the espresso powder makes the cocoa taste even more chocolatey. And it’s a good way to use up overripe bananas, which I store in the freezer for spur of the moment banana bread hankerings. Also I’ve omitted the butter (sacrilege) to make it healthier, avoiding the saturated and artery-clogging fat. I’ve also replaced half of the sugar with honey, known to be slightly better than refined sugar given its trace amounts of vitamins and antioxidants. Cinnamon, nutmeg, dried fruit and coconut round out the saintliness. See. I told you I was trying to be healthy.
Banana Chocolate Jolt Breakfast Bread
Preheat over to 350 degrees F. Grease a 6 cup loaf pan or cover it with parchment paper, which makes for an easy cleanup.
Whisk thoroughly in a large bowl:
1 1/2 cups flour — you can use white all purpose, but given my lust for healthiness I used about 1 cup white and 1/2 cup brown flour.
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
In a large bowl or mixer beat on high speed for about 3 minutes:
5 1/3 tablespoons of canola oil
1/3 cup white or brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
Beat in the flour mixture until just blended and the consistency of brown sugar.
Gradually beat in:
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Then peel and mash about 3/4 cups bananas in a small bowl. It amounts to about 3 large bananas. I used 2 large and 2 small frozen bananas which I thawed in the microwave for about 45 seconds, peeled and squished with my hands.
Mix into bananas:
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
Fold in until just combined using rubber spatula:
1/3 cup cranberries
1/3 cup sweetened dried coconut – optional (Sorry coconut haters. Since I started this blog I’ve eaten more coconut than I ever have in my life. Suddenly I’m obsessed with the stuff). Walnuts or pecans would also be a good substitute.
Scrape the batter into pan and spread evenly. Bake until a knife inserted in centre comes out clean. About 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes. It really depends on your oven. Start checking at the 55-minute mark.
Let cool in pan on a rack or directly on granite counter top for about 10 minutes. Safe to unmold at this point and eat. If storing it for later munching cool on counter for at least an hour before refrigerating in a container with tight-fitting lid. Stays moist and tasty for a week in the fridge or freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in fridge beginning on Saturday morning and should be defrosted come Monday.