Tag Archives: Banana

Heart Healthy Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread (vegan optional)

Banana Bread flecked with chocolate chunks and walnuts
Banana Bread flecked with chocolate chunks and walnuts
I often find myself with extra bananas past their eating prime, over ripe and brown, which is why I have so many different recipes for baking with super ripe bananas, like these muffins and these cookies or I’ll add them into the daily smoothie that 5 year old Evan often asks for/demands.  But, one of my favorite ways to use extra ripe bananas is, in what else, but banana bread. A slice of banana bread There are a million banana bread recipes out there, but of all I’ve tried, this one is my family’s favorite.  Aside from being super moist, flecked with chocolate chunks and often walnuts, it is lower in fat than many recipes and filled with so many heart healthy ingredients.  I love using bittersweet dark chocolate and even if I use chips I like to chop up the chocolate so you get different size bits with a few chunks.  Honestly, I think even without the chocolate this banana bread would be delicious, but why not indulge a little with chunks of dark chocolate, after all chocolate is a super food too.

Chopped Dark Chocolate

Adapted from Heidi Swanson’s Lemony Olive Oil Banana Bread. Heidi’s recipe calls for a lemony glaze poured over the top of the finished banana bread and while I love the addition of lemon in so many recipes I am not a huge fan of sweet glazes, and I think in this case the banana bread with the addition of great chunks of chocolate and chopped walnuts really stands on its own with no need for an added glaze.  Dry mix for Heart Healthy Banana Bread
Avocado and Olive Oil

The base recipe is fantastic with olive oil and aside from eliminating the glaze I’ve amped up the heart health with the addition of oat bran, avocado and flax.  And if you add in the optional walnuts, you get even more heart healthy benefits since walnuts are a great source of Omega 3’s, aside from adding in a little yummy crunch.  I like the mix of avocado and olive oil, just be sure to really mash the avocado well, but if a few tiny flecks of green remain it’s no big deal. I also like using a combo of one egg plus one “flax egg”.  Egg substitutes are easy to make using 1 Tablespoon of ground flax with about 2 ½ Tablespoons of water per egg.  Mix up the flax and water at the start of putting together the recipe, to allow time for the water to be fully absorbed and gel up a bit.   Again if you prefer, you can always use 2 eggs or go full out doubling the flax and skip the egg altogether. Either way, the banana bread turns out moist and delicious.  Super healthy, Super yummy, what more could you ask for! 
Slices of Heart Healthy Banana Bread with chocolate chunks and walnuts, yum!
Slices of Heart Healthy Banana Bread with chocolate chunks and walnuts, yum!


Heart Healthy Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread 

Author: Sweet Green Kitchen’s Jen Jones
Adapted from: Heidi Swanson’s Lemony Olive Oil Banana Bread
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour – I use whole wheat pastry flour
¼ cup oat bran
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate – from about 2, 3-4 ounce bars or use chips
½ avocado – well mashed
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 X-large egg (or make it vegan, by doubling the flax and water)
1 Tablespoon ground flax with 2 ½ Tablespoons water (double, if leaving out the egg)
3 very ripe mashed bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional (but really good!) ½ cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a standard loaf pan, I use olive oil spray or coconut oil.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flax meal and water, set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, oat bran, sugar, baking soda, salt.  Mix in the chocolate chunks.
Once the flax has absorbed the water, add in mashed avocado, olive oil, egg.  Add in mashed banana, and vanilla.  Mix well.
Add the banana mixture into the flour mix, stir until just combined.  If using, mix in walnuts. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.  Place in the center of your oven and bake for about 50 minutes.  Let cool at least 10 minutes before removing from loaf pan.  Slice up, serve and Enjoy!   
Heart Healthy Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread

Chewy Banana Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate and Walnuts


Chewy Banana Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate and Walnuts

Author: Sweet Green Kitchen’s Jen Jones

I am deeply ashamed to admit it, but somehow I let National Oatmeal Cookie Day come and go without even knowing it existed! It’s true, it was March 19 according to Teresasfamilykitchen, admittedly I did not research this to see if it’s true or not, but really who needs an excuse to make chewy gooey oatmeal cookies anyway, certainly not me. I cut down some of the butter in this recipe and replaced it with Neufchatel cheese, which yields a lovely light, soft and chewy texture to this cookie. I also decided to have a little fun and baked up half the batch in mini muffin tins, this kept the dough from spreading while it baked to lend even more to the already perfect cookie texture.


1 cup Unbleached Flour – preferably organic

1 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

1 teaspoon Salt

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

¾ stick of unsalted Butter

4 ounces Neufchatel Cheese

½ cup granulated Natural Cane Sugar

½ cup Brown Sugar – I use organic (for pretty much every ingredient here)

2 Eggs – I use X-large

2 teaspoons pure Vanilla Extract

1 large ripe Banana – mashed – about ½ cup

1 ½ cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats

1 cup Bittersweet Chocolate – from about 6 oz chopped chocolate OR chocolate chips or a combination of the two – I used 3 oz chopped chocolate and ½ cup 60% cocoa chocolate chips

½ cup chopped WalnutsWP_20140402_015


Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a small bowl, whisk together flours, salt and baking soda. WP_20140402_014

In a larger bowl, cream together (by hand) Butter, Neufchatel Cheese and Sugars, until light and fluffy. Add Eggs and Vanilla, mix until combined. Mix in the mashed Banana.

Add the flour mixture into the butter mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in the Oats, Chocolate Chunks and Walnuts.WP_20140402_017WP_20140402_019



Scoop out 1 slightly heaping Tablespoon of dough and place it on a cookie sheet WP_20140402_024or alternatively drop the dough into each cup of a mini muffin tin. WP_20140402_026Bake for 8-10 minutes at 375 F. Err on the side of undercooked and allow the cookies to rest on the baking sheet out of the oven for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

This recipe makes about 3 dozen (36 cookies) give or take. Enjoy!

Recipe Note: A strange thing happens to these cookies when you let the batter rest for a little while, say between baking batches.  The resulting cookie, bakes up a bit thicker and denser, while the unrested version bakes a bit flatter and gooeyer. Now, I have never claimed to understand much about baking science, but I suspect it has something to do with the baking soda’s reaction evolving.  Either way the end result is oh so very yummy.

Click here for printable version

WP_20140402_056WP_20140402_053WP_20140402_043 Oatmeal Banana Cookies with Choc and Walnuts masquerading as a muffin



Banana Avocado Muffins with Chocolate Chips and Walnuts


Banana Avocado Muffins with Chocolate Chips & Walnuts

Makes about 20-22 regular size muffins OR 15 regular size muffins plus 12 mini muffins

This recipe makes A LOT of muffins, definitely enough to share or for a party (unless you have a very hungry muffin loving husband/family).  I know the avocado may sound a bit strange, but you won’t taste it all, it replaces other less healthy fats with good for you fats.  Just make sure you really mash the heck out of it, or you may end up with flecks of green in your finished product.  This is a muffin you can feel good about giving to your kids for breakfast or an afternoon snack and not have to feel guilty about eating a few yourself.  Of course, the chocolate adds just a bit of indulgence.

Preheat Oven to 325

Line muffin tin with liners OR spray lightly with oil.

In a medium bowl, whisk the following Ingredients together:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I use whole wheat pastry flour)

1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

In a large bowl, beat together the following Ingredients with an electric mixer:

1 cup sugar (I use organic, it’s less refined, maintaining some minerals and I just think it tastes better)

2 Jumbo Eggs (or 3 large)

1/2 Avocado – mashed completely

8 oz yogurt (I use a combination of 4 oz vanilla  + 4 oz Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt, but any vanilla, banana or plain will work well here, always use a natural yogurt without any gelatins or artificial ingredients) – you can also substitute soy yogurt or other non dairy to make this dairy free

To the Wet Ingredients, Add in:

3 very ripe Bananas – mashed

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

1 tsp almond extract (optional)

Add Dry ingredients to Wet and Stir together, scraping down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula.

Mix in to muffin batter:

3/4 Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (I use Ghiradelli 60% cocoa chips, mini chips would also work)

1/4 cup (or more if desired) Chopped Walnuts OR leave out to make this nut free

Pour batter into prepared muffin tins, filling about 3/4.

Bake at 325 – about 25 minutes for regular size and about 18 minutes for mini muffins.

Cool on wire rack.

Enjoy! IMG_2816


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