Coconut and Easter Chocolate Banana Bread (vegan!)

Vegan and Wholemeal

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 What happens when you have a law assignment + Easter chocolate + overripe bananas + desiccated coconut + free afternoon minus any rational thinking?

= The best banana bread in the world. 

It’s scientific and you can’t fight science. 

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 My house right now is like an Easter wonderland. There are so many eggs! Every kitchen surface is adorned with colourful piles of rabbits and caramel balls and chocolate freckles.  It’s beautiful but it’s so overwhelming! My tongue doesn’t even register sweet anymore: everything just tastes like chocolate. 

I put my fancy chocolate Belle Fleur egg to the perfect use this year, making David Lebovitz’ chocolate sorbet. It was so rich and just wow. I’m going to go have some more as soon as I finish writing this. 

But what to do with all the little Easter Eggs? I don’t want to hurt any Easter Rabbit feelings, but those little cadbury eggs you get buckets of every year aren’t exactly top quality. They’re kind of overly sweet and chewy. They somehow TRANSFORM when you add them to a banana bread. 

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 They melt into little pockets of Easter flavoured sunshine. I threw in all the little eggs on the counter, which included caramel eggs and white chocolate eggs. All of them tasted awesome! For a completely vegan bread, obviously use vegan chocolate. Bittersweet eggs went in there too and were amaaazing. 

I halved the amount of flour the recipe asks for and replaced it with finely desiccated coconut. The bread was softer and denser than normal, and in my opinion much better. The coconut gave the bread a slightly buttery texture? If that’s a thing? Super soft and crumbly and moist. (Mooooist.) 

I really recommend making this with your Easter chocolate, even if you have to freeze it for a week or two until you come out of your chocolate coma. I especially recommend making this right in the middle of the time you have allocated to writing your assignment. Trust me, it will make you feel much better.

One Year Ago: Chocolate Brownie Caramel Sandwich Cookies

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 Chocolate Coconut Banana Bread (Adapted from this recipe

Dry Ingredients- 

1 cup (125g) wholemeal or plain flour

1 cup (80g) desiccated coconut

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

100g chopped up chocolate eggs, or normal chocolate

Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and line a loaf pan with baking paper. Whisk together all of your dry ingredients and set aside. 

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 Wet Ingredients:

110g (1/2 cup) brown sugar

110ml (1/2 cup) butter or olive oil, for vegan

2 eggs at room temperature (or 2 tbsp chia mixed with 4 tbsp water)

2 medium bananas, mashed 

80ml (1/3 cup) black coffee

Beat together the oil or butter and sugar until fluffy, Slowly incorporate each egg, until combined. Beat in the banana and coffee, then stir in the dry ingredients until just combined. Pour into the tin and bake for 35 minutes (check from this point, it may take longer) until the top is golden brown and a skewer comes out clean. Enjoy!

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Black Tea and Currant Hot Cross Buns

Wholemeal, Low Fat

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 Is it just me or is Easter kind of the coolest holiday ever?!? You’ve got chocolate by the bucket load, all kinds of exciting buns and spiced cakes in bakeries, holidays galore, it’s wild! 

And don’t even get me started on the Easter Show. I don’t know if it’s just Sydney, but every year here there’s a huge fair with a theme park, food markets, baking competitions, wood chopping and largest animal competitions, which are all somehow very connected to the concept of Easter…

I think it’s super fun but all my friends and family think it’s lame (they’re lame!!) so I haven’t gone in years. Sad face 😦 But this year I might just go with the kids I babysit so woohoo get ready for the biggest chicken weighing competition!!! I know I am.

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My family isn’t actually that into Easter. I never even knew about the whole ‘Easter Sunday Lunch’ thing until I went away one year with my friends family. It was amazing! We ate all the traditional meals like pies and lamb roast and simple fish the night before (well I didn’t because I don’t eat meat but I creepily watched them eating it). And on the celebrated morning, we came down to the dining table which had been completely covered in decorative chocolate nests with Belle Fleur chocolate sculptures for each child. Oh my God. I was in heaven.

We set up an Easter Egg hunt for the little kids, hiding the colourful chocolates in tree branches and under piles of autumn leaves. We boiled eggs and decorated them with paint and glitter, then cracked them open and drizzled olive oil and vinegar in the yolks. We walked through the forest and drove in her older brother’s rally car around the paddock behind the house, then watched the sun set over the trees eating chocolate leftovers.

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After that year I realised how good Easter can be. I decided to start making hot cross buns as my own family tradition, even if the first try was a couple of weeks late. Now the heady smell of cloves and cinnamon, and the calming roll of dough and currants is familiar to me. It makes me think of Easter. It makes me think of hot Autumn rain showers and uni holidays, of early sunsets and browning leaves.

It makes me think of the Easter Show, with the turkey pavilion and the poodle parade and hot curly fries with tomato sauce and mustard. It makes me realise that Easter is a pretty great holiday, whether you celebrate it traditionally or not.

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These hot cross buns are the best I’ve made so far. They’re classic of this blog made with wholemeal flour and a good dose of cinnamon, but still rich and soft from butter and lots of dried fruit. I steeped the currants in tea for half an hour before adding them in, and it made the buns taste lovely and complex. You can always skip this step if you don’t like tea, or use a different flavour if you’re feeling adventurous.

I originally got the recipe from Poires au Chocolat, because she is my bible for all English/traditional buns and cake recipes and I trust her yeast expertise with my life! Also, you may have noticed I forgot the crosses. I know, I know! I’m sorry!

For a vegan version, I’m planning on adapting these Coconut Scones, swapping the vanilla for cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves and adding in sultanas for that traditional flavour. If you want to give it a try before me, please tell me how it goes!! I hope all of you have a happy Easter 🙂

One Year Ago: Apple and Cinnamon Cupcakes with Honey Icing

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Black Tea and Currant Hot Cross Buns: Adapted/Copied from Poires au Chocolat
50g unsalted butter
225g whole milk (I used light and it worked fine)
300g strong white flour
150g wholemeal flour
7/8g instant yeast
50g caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp each nutmeg, ginger, cloves
1 egg, cracked and lightly beaten
110g (1 cup) each sultanas and black currants
1 cup of strong black tea

Method: In a saucepan, heat the butter and milk until the butter melts and the milk scalds (this will keep the buns extra soft). Place in the fridge or freezer to cool down, it needs to be room temperature otherwise it will kill the yeast!
Steep the dried fruit with the tea until the fruit is soft, then drain and dry the fruit well with paper cloth.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together the flours, spices, sugar and dried fruit. Mix in the egg and milk (it has to be room temperature or slightly lower!!) until combined. Mix on medium for 6-7 minutes until the dough is elastic and bouncy. Put into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Leave for an hour to an hour and a half until doubled in size (I take a photo of it with my phone so I can work this out).

Pour out onto a floured surface and punch down. Cut into 14 pieces and roll into balls. Working quickly, place the balls on a lined baking tray and cover with plastic wrap for 45 minutes until puffy. Preheat oven to 200C (390F) and bake the buns (take off the plastic!) for 15-20 minutes, until risen and golden. Drizzle a little honey or marmalade over for a glaze. Enjoy! For a cross, mix flour and water and use the back of a spoon or piping bag to mark a cross on before you bake them. Enjoy!

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Fudgy Cocoa Banana Bread with Chocolate Chunks (vegan)

Vegan, Refined Sugar Free

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 Tomorrow is me and my boyfriend’s two year anniversary! Two years ago this week I’d been waiting for him to properly ask me out for four months, and he kept texting me but never actually asked! So finally I just thought this is ridiculous, and invited myself over to watch a movie. I got lost on the train and was an hour late to the station, but I made it! We watched the Hangover. His favourite line is when Alan says “that’s how I’ve managed to stay single this long”. He drove me home at 2 in the morning because the last train had left. We’ve been together ever since. 

I made him a chocolate banana bread because he loves dark chocolate, and he loves banana bread. His ultimate dessert is probably brownies but I’ve made so many of those recently I don’t think I could face them again for a while. So this here is a rich, fudgy and very very chocolatey banana loaf. (Definitely more on the cake side of loaf). 

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I was inspired to make this after seeing Smitten Kitchen‘s amazing banana chocolate bread last week. I adapted my classic vegan banana bread to make a chocolate version, because I wanted the cake to be healthy too. (I’m that sick kind of person that thinks ‘whole-grains’ and ‘healthy fats’ in a cake make a better present than delicious sugar and butter…I know). So there is raw cacao powder as well as the rich dutch-processed kind, chia seeds, maple syrup and of course lots of banana 🙂 

I wasn’t expecting this to come out so moist and chocolate flavoured. The espresso really brings out the chocolate flavour, so don’t leave it out even if you’re a coffee fan! When I was in year 9 I did a term project which involved baking a chocolate cake every single week using different rising agents. It got to the point where I didn’t need a recipe, I didn’t need a scale, I probably could have made it blind-folded. I don’t have that recipe anymore but I remember the strong smell of warm coffee that would come out of the oven as it baked. It was such a good chocolate cake! And not coffee flavoured at all despite using a whole entire cup. 

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 This cake freezes really well (although I don’t think it will have to it’s so popular). Just cut into slices and wrap well with plastic wrap. You can eat it with ice cream and chocolate sauce if you want a crazy good dessert, or just slice it up with tea. It’s a very versatile cake. It only takes about an hour to make from start to finish too! So really, what are you waiting for???

Also, I’ve put chocolate chips as ‘optional’ in the recipe. That was a lie. There’s not really an option is there. Especially not if this cake is for someone you love!

One Year Ago: Plum Jam Swirl

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Chocolate Banana Bread with Chocolate Chunks:

2 very ripe bananas, mashed well

80ml (1/3 cup) brewed coffee

110g (1/2 cup) sunflower oil or butter for non-vegan

100g (1/2 cup) brown sugar or 1/2 cup maple syrup

3 eggs, or 3 tbsp chia seeds mixed with 6 tbsp water to make gel

120g (1 cup) plain white flour

120g (1 cup) cocoa powder, half cacao powder optional

2 tsp baking powder

optional: 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp cinnamon

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Method: Preheat oven to 180C (356F) and line a loaf pan with baking paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour and baking powder. In a large bowl whisk the oil and syrup or sugar until well combined. Add in the vanilla if using, and the chia or eggs. Whisk well until combined. Add in the espresso and mashed banana and mix the wet ingredients well. Sift in the dry ingredients and stir just to combine. Stir in the chocolate chunks. Pour into the tin and bake for about 30 minutes, checking five minutes beforehand to stop it overcooking. Lasts 4-5 days, serves about 8-10. 

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Wholesome Vegan Banana Bread

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 I had a friend in high school who bought a slice of banana bread from the canteen almost every day. Cruelly in year eight they stopped making the chocolate chip banana bread, as if removing that sprinkle of happiness would really make a difference to the health of the banana bread! But that’s not the point. Lot’s of people stopped really buying it after that, but not this friend. I remember it clearly because every time she bought a piece she’d get attacked and harassed by her friends until she’d given them at least half. And by her friends, I mean me. It was good banana bread, it really was.

But as we grew older, we learned to read the ingredients list. And with knowledge becomes great responsibility. It wasn’t a very appetising group of products they squeezed in there. One of the ingredients was beef lard, all I’m gonna say. After that I became a believer in home-made banana bread. Just as delicious without the beef lard! This banana bread today is one of the family recipes that makes the best banana bread (in my humble opinion). 

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 I know the title makes it sound a little…bland. But it really isn’t! The recipe is from the Moosewood Cookbook, which is one of my favourite cookbooks ever. So many childhood staple meals came out of that book. Vegetable ratatouille, Cheesy polenta, Bean Burritos, all the old classics. And this banana bread. I’ve mentioned it when I made these delicious banana choc chunk muffins. The recipe says to coat the pan in sesame seeds to stop it sticking but I used baking paper because we didn’t have sesame seeds. Also I had a feeling it would probably come out looking like a lizard bread, something I don’t think would photograph well. 

Can you believe I’ve had this blog for seven months and this is the first Banana Bread recipe I’ve put up? What is that about! Well partly the reason is that muffins are way easier to serve and photograph. I’ve adapted lots of breads before, like the sticky Banana Caramel Muffins that were originally going to be a loaf. Loaves have benefits that muffins can’t really trump, because you can toast them and put toppings on them. What is a banana bread without peanut butter and banana slices? Or ricotta and honey? You tell me. You tell me friends. 

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This banana bread is way healthier than your classic shop-bought plastic wrapped slice. It’s light but still moist and fluffy. The crust is super crispy and maybe my favourite part, because it’s so thin you don’t get that terrible hard edge that takes away from the squishy middle part. I adapted it to make a vegan version with vegan butter and chia eggs, but you can sub in normal eggs and super soft butter, or even olive oil. 

You can tell hippies wrote the recipe because there are a few rather strange instructions. Or rather lack of instructions. (I love hippies! But you can’t deny they can be vague! ) I should have known that hand whisking soft butter and eggs would end in lumpy egg-butter, but I tried it anyway. The result was a super sore arm from about an hour of trying to get the butter pieces small enough to combine with the other ingredients. And I couldn’t heat it up so the butter would melt because that would cook the eggs! So I’ve kindly amended the instructions out of respect for your arms. 

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As I’ve mentioned, this banana bread is great toasted and served with jam, nutella, peanut butter, butter, honey, ricotta, banana slices, mashed banana, melted chocolate, desiccated coconut, coconut cream, ok you get the picture. I could go on all day. But it’s also great plain and fresh from the oven. It freezes really well, lasts wrapped really well, and can be fancied up with chopped nuts, chocolate chips, coconut, seeds, anything you like really! 

 Here are some delicious banana bread recipes I’ve been drooling over this week on other awesome blogs:

Check out the amazing banana bread photography at The Munch and Crunch

Cookie and Kate’s amazing looking banana bread looks like it could feed multiple athletes

Almond Banana Bread by Bakerita looks amaaazing. 

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Wholesome Vegan Banana Bread: Adapted from Moosewood Cookbook

2 medium bananas (2/3 cup) mashed well

80mls (1/3 cup) brewed black coffee (NOT GRANULES – LIQUID)

3 tablespoons chia seeds mixed with 6 tablespoons water and stirred well (OR 3 chicken eggs for non-vegan)

110ml olive oil or 1/2 cup vegan butter, very soft

100ml (1/2 cup) maple syrup or 1/2 cup brown sugar

125g (1 cup) white flour + 120g (1 cup) wholemeal flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp each cinnamon and allspice

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Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) and line a loaf pan. Beat together the soft butter and sugar until fluffy, then add in the eggs, one at a time. If using oil and honey, just mix all these ingredients together. Stir in the mashed bananas and coffee well. Sift the flours, salt and raising agents, then gently fold into the wet mixture. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until brown on top and a skewer comes out clean. Enjoy! Serves 8-12

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