Monday, August 14, 2023

Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Banana Bread

When the freezer rains bananas, I know it's time to make a banana bread. 

We buy bananas just about every week, eat most, but inevitably have one hanging around long enough to turn brown. I hate food waste, so I usually tuck the little fella into the freezer. There's got to be a dozen bananas in there right now, in every available crevice. Sometimes they throw themselves at me when I open the freezer door to grab an ice cube or ponder the evening's dinner possibilities. The other day, three different bananas suicided themselves, so I put them on the counter to thaw. 

When frozen bananas thaw, they become rather liquidy, which makes them perfect for smoothies. But also banana bread. Most recipes call for very ripe bananas which need to be mashed with a fork. Personally, I prefer using near-liquid banana. It doesn't need to be mashed, just stirred in, which produces sweet little pockets of soft fruit in the finished product. If you're a fan of a more homogenized texture, then by all means mash some never-frozen but overripe nanners for this recipe.

Oh yeah, the recipe. I usually put walnuts and chocolate chips in my banana bread, but I've been craving chocolate recently (I probably need more magnesium). I consulted the Google and found a chocolate chocolate banana bread recipe that was essentially Martha Stewart's non-chocolate recipe, with a couple of random tweaks. I happen to think Martha's recipe is the very best, so I consulted her web site and used her recipe, with two changes. Her recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of AP flour, but I wanted to make this gluten-free and add cocoa powder. Cocoa is fairly similar to flour in heft and texture, so I swapped out a half cup of flour for a half cup of cocoa. The rest of the flour was replaced by oat flour. You may use any gluten free flour you wish, but I strongly suggest adding 1/4 teaspoon of xantham gum per cup of gf flour. You may leave it out, but the gum makes a big difference in the texture of the bread. Honestly, I cannot tell that I didn't use regular flour. I'm not your mother, so do as you please, but don't come crying to me afterward. The one other thing I changed was to add more sour cream. A quarter cup is good, but a half cup is better. It makes the texture outrageously moist. (Greek yogurt works here, too.)

If you make this, let me know in the comments. I'm going to go cut myself another slice to go with my coffee.

GF Double Chocolate Banana Bread

1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup oat flour
1/4 t xanthan gum
1 t baking soda
1/4 t kosher salt
1/2 cup butter, or dairy-free butter substitute, melted
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 t vanilla extract
3 super-ripe bananas, mashed if fresh, thawed if frozen
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350ยบ.

Spray the inside of a 9 x 5 loaf pan with Pam or similar release spray. Borrow a tablespoon or so of the cocoa powder and sprinkle it over the Pam, shaking and banging the sides of the pan to make sure every surface is coated with both release spray and cocoa. Knock out any excess cocoa.

Combine the rest of the cocoa, oat flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, and salt and stir well with a fork to distribute ingredients. If you're fussy, you could sift it, but I don't see the need to dirty a sieve or sifter.

In a large bowl, combine the melted butter, sugar, eggs, sour cream, and vanilla. If your bananas were frozen, you can basically pour them into the bowl, otherwise, scrape in the mashed bananas and give it a good stir.

Dump the dry ingredients into the wet and stir well. You don't want any streaks of flour. Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts. 

Scrape batter into baking pan and bake for 1 hour, or until toothpick comes out clean. You might have to try a few spots, in case you stab a melted chocolate chip.

Cool in the pan on a rack for 20 minutes. Run a paring knife around the edge of the pan to loosen bread, then turn over onto the rack. Put another rack on top and flip the bread over, so the top is...on top. Allow to cool completely before slicing. You can, of course, ignore this direction, but I can't guarantee the bread won't fall apart when you slice it.

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