There are always bananas perfect for making banana bread with in my house. If I am going to eat a banana as it is, with no additions, there needs to be some green. Not completely green, because then it kind of coats your teeth in some weird fuzziness that seems to take forever to disappear and also carries the danger of your lips getting stuck to them (your teeth, that is, not the banana. Stop sniggering at the back, I realise how that sentence could sound).
Anyway . . .
If there are a few brown speckles then they are okay for making everyday breakfast waffles with, because they are easier to mash into the batter.
But when they get to this stage:
Or alternatively turn into banana bread.
Now, something happens when you combine sweet rice flour (aka glutinous rice flour) and bananas and bake them. The batter never quite bakes fully, no matter how long you bake it for or how many times you take it out of the oven, stab it with a skewer, huff at the fact that it is still not quite done, return it to the oven and set the timer for another 5 minutes.
When I first made banana bread using sweet rice flour it had an under-baked texture and taste that I wasn’t entirely comfortable with (I think to be honest it probably was underbaked that first time as it sank in the middle as it cooled). I switched to normal rice flour, which gives a more traditional banana bread texture, however I find it also has a bitter undertone.
So back to sweet rice flour and finding a way to make it work.
I avoided any flour that also has a stodgy / gelatinous texture (buckwheat and cornmeal, I’m looking at you) and instead added flours that would provide a more cake-like texture. Add some cocoa powder, vanilla, cacao nibs and chopped hazelnuts and voila!
However there is very little sugar in it – only 1/4 cup of coconut sugar – as most of the sweetness comes from the over-ripe bananas and a splodge of unsweetened apple sauce, plus a smidge of honey, but that could be swapped for liquid fruit sugar if required. Using cacao nibs provides a chocolate crunch without the sugar, although you can replace with chocolate chips if you wish. And there isn’t any of the guilt usually associated with brownies and their high butter content either. I used coconut oil, although again rapeseed oil or canola oil can be used as a replacement (but I love all the health benefits that come with coconut oil and the flavour of coconut doesn’t come through in this loaf as banana is the predominant flavour). The nuts are optional too, I had some that needed used up so I threw them in, but if you don’t want them there or would prefer a different nut, go ahead.
The perfect treat for when you are trying to be good but yet craving something sweet.
Chocolate Brownie Banana Loaf
- 1/2 cup sweet rice flour, aka glutinous rice flour
- 1/4 cup ground almonds
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup gram flour, aka chickpea flour or garbanzo bean flour
- 1/4 cup millet flour
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar, or soft light brown sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 60ml coconut oil, melted, or rapeseed oil or canola oil
- 2 ripe bananas, mashed
- 30ml unsweetened apple sauce
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 30ml honey
- 1/4 unsweetened almond milk, or any other milk of your choice
- 30g chopped hazelnuts, optional
- 20g cacao nibs, or 30g chocolate chips
- Pre-heat the oven to 175 Celsius / 155 Fan / 345 Fahrenheit. Line a loaf pan with non-stick baking parchment.
- Melt the coconut oil (if using) in a large bowl. Mix in the mashed bananas, applesauce and vanilla, followed by the egg, honey and milk.
- Add the sweet rice flour, ground almonds, cocoa powder, gram flour, millet flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Stir until just combined.
- Stir in the chopped hazelnuts and cacao nibs.
- Pour into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50 – 60 minutes, until a skewer comes out more or less clean (there should be a small amount of goo stuck to it, but not much.
- Leave to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack and allowing to cool completely.
- Keep in an air-tight container in a cool place.
© The Pink Rose Bakery 2014