Tag Archives: Chocolate
It’s back to school time, but summer’s not over yet and there’s still plenty of summer squash available at the market. These chocolate chip zucchini mini muffins are packed with good for you oats, yogurt and zucchini, but enough chocolate to satisfy and fool the kids into happily eating their veggies. They make a perfect breakfast treat, lunch box snack or afternoon pick me up. 6-year old veggie hater approved and adults love them too!
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. 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.
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.
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!
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.
A flourless, chocolaty, rich, moist and fudgy treat. But, this is no ordinary brownie, what I have for you here is a big dose of super foods disguised as a delicious decadent treat. Avocado, almond and cocoa give you antioxidants, fiber and healthy fats, serving up a treat you can feel great eating. I promise, you will not taste or even see the avocado at all, but it adds moistness and yes, fat, while replacing more traditional and less healthful fats.
I adapted this recipe from Elana’s Pantry Paleo Brownies, mine are no longer fully paleo as I’ve replaced Elana’s dates with brown sugar, which may actually be better for those following a low FODMAPs diet who have difficulty digesting certain fruits. I also like that brown sugar is something most of us always have on hand, which makes this a recipe you can throw together easily without much planning, as long as almond flour is one of your pantry items and a ripe avocado is on hand! And speaking of avocado, I’ve swapped that for Elana’s coconut oil, which gives you a healthful fat plus some added fiber.
Since this recipe was already, gluten free and dairy free, I decided to give it a test drive going completely vegan by swapping out the eggs for flax. I give you the recipe both ways, so if you have no issue with eggs and like the idea of getting a little extra protein and vitamin D, go with the eggs, otherwise, swap out the eggs for flax and get yourself a little extra Omega 3’s with your chocolaty treat.
I’m no stranger to subbing flax for eggs in recipes, but until now I have never made the same recipe side by side, one with eggs and one with flax, and I have to say the results were interesting and a little surprising to me. The egg version batter mixes up moister and bakes up with a little more rise, while the flax version actually bakes up a little bit moister, even though the batter looks drier before baking. Either way, both versions are a treat I wouldn’t turn down and I will say there were no complaints from my family of tasters when two pans of brownies came out of the oven!
Since I did end up with two batches, I found they stayed perfectly moist and yummy for several days, just wrapped on the counter. Although, I didn’t try freezing these, I think they would do well individually wrapped if you’d like to stash a few for a future treat.
Double Chocolate Flourless Super Food Brownies
Author: Sweet Green Kitchen’s Jen Jones
Adapted from Elana’s Pantry Paleo Brownies
Makes 16 Brownies
1 cup Almond Flour
½ cup Cocoa Powder (I use raw organic Cacao)
½ cup Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Instant Espresso Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
¼ teaspoon Salt – I use a heaping amount of Flaky Sea Salt
2 Eggs – I use Extra Large OR 2 Tablespoons Ground Flax + 5 Tablespoons warm Water
½ Avocado – well mashed
2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
½ cup Dark Chocolate Chips or Chunks – Bittersweet or Semi Sweet
Optional: extra Flaky Sea Salt for sprinkling on top
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8 x 8 inch baking dish (I use coconut oil for greasing) OR line with parchment.
IF using Flax instead of Eggs, mix together the Flax with the Water in a small bowl and set aside to thicken up.
In a medium bowl, sift in the Almond Flour. Note: As long as most of the Almond Flour gets through the sifter, it’s fine to dump the remaining bits that stubbornly won’t go through the mesh, right into the bowl. Sift in the Cocoa Powder. Next add in the Salt, Baking Soda and Brown Sugar. Mix well, being sure to break up any of the Brown Sugar clumps. Stir in the Chocolate chunks or chips.
In a separate bowl, mash the Avocado until it’s really smooth and creamy. Add to that the Eggs or gelled Flax and the Vanilla Extract. Mix well.
Add the Avocado mixture to the Almond and Cocoa mix. Stir to fully combine.
Pour the batter into your prepared baking pan and smooth out so it fits evenly in the pan.
Bake at 350 F for 18-22 minutes. Now the hard part: best to let the brownies cool right in the baking pan for about 2 hours before slicing through. Cut into 16 squares. Enjoy!
I keep my almond flour in the freezer which tends to make it a little lumpy. So I don’t end up with a brownie filled with unmixed lumps of almond meal, I like to sift it into the bowl. It’s definitely worth the effort even though I never seem to be able to get it completely through the mesh of the sifter, so I just toss in whatever remains behind, which adds a nice bit of nutty texture to the finished brownie.