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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Chocolate and Coconut Tarts (using Coyo!)

Vegan, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free

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I hope you’re all ready for part two of the coconut appreciation week! The Coyo train continues. If you aren’t up to date, this week I am experimenting with coconut yogurt in a few of my favourite desserts. Coconut yogurt is thick and tangy like milk yogurt, with a pleasantly sweet flavour of coconut. It works perfectly in desserts because it’s naturally so rich and versatile. (Plus it’s super healthy- check out the benefits here). 

I have a habit of making something that tastes perfect as it is, and then adding a butt-load of chocolate to it. In my mind there’s not a dessert that can’t be made better with chocolate. I’m thinking…I’m thinking….nope. Well, possibly carrot cake would taste weird with chocolate. But then again now that I’ve said that…chocolate chunk carrot muffins? Anybody?!

With these tarts I was so happy with the first tarts I made, my mind naturally came to the conclusion that a chocolate version would be even more amazing. And I was right! These are possibly even easier to make than their fruity friends. The base is a raw walnut, chia and apricot crust with cacao and the filling is plain coyo flavoured with cacao, maple and a pinch of cinnamon. Possibly the best coconut dessert known to humans. (I don’t brag.) 

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I put them in the freezer to make them easier to photograph, and discovered how good they taste almost frozen! The base becomes so chewy and the middle is like a chocolate mousse ice cream, if that’s a thing. PS sorry if the above photo is kind of strange, I had major cabin fever when I was taking these photos and I started to imagine the tarts were my little friends. I had to stop myself talking to this one telling him he was the king tart sitting on his tart castle. 

I made these tarts mini sized, but I think it would work even better as a larger single sized tart. I didn’t want to make a big one because I promised my friend I would give her some, and making a whole tart would imply that I would be giving her that whole tart…without leaving any for me. But a bigger size would be easier to get the ratios right I think. Also I was planning on topping each tart with a cascade of beautiful red raspberries, but have you seen the prices of berries in Sydney lately?! $8.99 a punnet would break the bank! If you are blessed and live in a land of plentiful berries I think raspberries would be really nice as a topping. 

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With Easter right around the corner these would be a pretty epic Easter dessert. I can picture them with cute little dark chocolate easter eggs on top, or oh my gosh marzipan carrots! How cute would little marzipan carrots be! I saw a photo on pinterest the other day of a baby bunny pushing a mini shopping cart of baby carrots. It was so cute I almost cried. I almost cried! Anyway back to the tarts at hand…

Coyo is a completely natural product with no preservatives, so I would suggest not filling the tart until the day you want to eat it. It will last up to 2 or 3 days, especially if you keep them in the freezer. But it will definitely be best on the first day. Start the crust the night before if you want them to be super easy to handle from being in the fridge. Have a great week everybody 🙂 

One Year Ago: Ottolenghi Orange Syrup Cake

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 Vegan Chocolate Coconut Tarts: 

For the base:

1 cup dried organic apricots (use dates if you don’t have organic apricots) soaked in water

2 tbsp chia seeds

1 cup walnuts

1/2 cup desiccated coconut

1/3 cup raw cacao

Crush the walnuts and chia seeds together briefly in a mortar and pestle. Drain and chop the apricots. Put everything in a blender and blend until a smooth dough forms. Line one tart tin, or 6-8 mini tart tins, with paper or plastic. Use your fingers to press the base along the bottom and up the sides, making sure the bottom is thick enough to be sturdy. Place in the freezer until you’re ready to freeze it (this will make it much easier to remove). 

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 For the Filling:

1 tub plain COYO or 750ml coconut yogurt

3-4 tbsp raw cacao, depending how chocolatey you want it

4 tbsp maple syrup (or honey) 

1 tsp cinnamon

Optional: raspberries or other fresh berries, to top

Blend all the ingredients together until smooth. Taste and adjust the cocoa or sweetener until you have the flavour you’re after. Fill the tart with the coconut mix and leave in the fridge to set before slicing. Top with the berries just before serving, to prevent them going soggy. 

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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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Cinnamon Chocolate Mousse with Raspberries

Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free, naturally Sugar FreeImage

 I was so unprepared to go back to uni this year. For starters I didn’t realise we went back a week early until the Saturday before, so I turned up to my first class with a highlighter and a notebook from last year with half the pages ripped out. I sat down in the wrong room, finally arrived to my class 20 minutes late and had to sit by myself in the front row. I’m a smooth operator what can I say. 

For another class I have a presentation that I haven’t started due next week, where I’m pretty sure I have to do a standup poetry and video performance in front of the class…lord help. 

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As a result of my study stresses I’ve been making this chocolate mousse on a weekly basis. The only thing standing between me and chocolate mousse every day for breakfast is the price of avocados! I mean come on green grocers. 2 avocados for $10 is not a laughing matter. 

The other day as I was preparing to watch an entire season of Supernatural instead of reading my TORTS cases, I struck upon chocolate mousse gold. It was so amazing I had to instagram it before I’d even eaten it! Noooo way. 

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 I had decided to take it down the Mexican chocolate road and added a pinch of cinnamon, a teeny tiny bit of ginger and the TINIEST little wisp of chilli. It was a flavour explosion in my mouth, all I’m going to say. With a sprinkling of fresh raspberries on top you can’t really get any closer to chocolate heaven. 

I promised myself this week I would try and make something without chocolate for the blog. But then I realised it’s been two whole weeks since I posted a chocolate recipe! That’s not right and it sure isn’t normal, so chocolate mousse get in my belly. Also how cute is my new rose teacup! The family I babysit for gave it to me as a present and I got way overexcited…I might have scared the children a bit. You can play with the flavourings of the mousse to suit your preferences. Even leaving out the spices all together tastes great. My favourite at the moment is just with cinnamon and almond milk, but I can imagine a little vanilla wouldn’t go astray. 

One Year Ago: Fluffy Cinnamon Apple Pancakes

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Cinnamon Chocolate Mousse with Raspberries:

2 medium avocadoes, perfectly ripe

2 medium bananas, perfectly (not overly) ripe and frozen

1/4 cup coconut or almond milk

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ginger, or chilli, or both

3 tbsp cocoa powder

2 tbsp agave nectar or runny honey

Fresh berries, to top. 

Blend everything together and pour into cups. Top with fresh raspberries or other mixed berries. Chill for at least an hour before eating. 

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Chocolate and Blueberry Mousse Tart

Vegan, Sugar Free, Gluten Free, optional Raw

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 Guess what day is right around the corner! It’s……VALENTINES DAY! To celebrate I made a chocolate mousse tart topped with fresh blueberries. It’s the perfect valentines day dessert because it’s rich, creamy and chocolatey, and will win you love from whoever you decide to give it to. It’s also super easy to make and very comforting. It can be eaten with a spoon, by yourself, in your pyjamas. I won’t judge you. 

Valentines Day is always such a weird day. Last year for the first time in my life I actually had a real valentines, so me and my boyfriend went out for dinner. He ordered four dishes all for himself while I got just one…and then could barely move after eating them all. And then the waiter dropped his dessert on his lap and looked like she (he? we never really found out) was going to cry so we had to comfort her (or him) while we waited for a new one. It was sooo romantic.

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 This year I think I’m just going to make him some kind of warm chocolate brownie pudding and homemade ice cream. Because that’s his favourite and eating warm brownies and ice cream is the best way to celebrate any occasion. If someone wanted to make me a chocolate dessert for the special day (hint hint…) it would be this chocolate tart. I’ve been wanting to experiment more with silken tofu ever since I made mango pudding with it. I saw some amazing looking chocolate tarts that used it as a base and got so excited to make a chocolate mousse tart! With fresh blueberries because you should always add fresh blueberries when they’re cheap and in season. Am I RIGHT???

I didn’t want to use all melted chocolate as the sweet component, but I didn’t want to just use cocoa powder and sweetener. So I ended up using a balance of 100g melted dark chocolate with some vanilla, agave and raw cacao powder. I was so so happy with how it came out! The flavour was intensely chocolatey and rich, but the texture was just perfect! Super creamy and light. You’d never guess how light and healthy this tart is.

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 I decided to make a raw walnut and sultana base because I wanted people to have the option of making it completely raw. If you want to, just replace the 600g of silken tofu with two perfectly ripe avocados. You may want to increase the agave as well. It won’t last as long in the fridge, but it will have a deliciously smooth texture and lots of healthy omega fats. Put your hands up for healthy fats! 

The blueberries tasted so good with this tart as they sunk into the chocolatey custard layer, but you could top it with anything you want. Orange slices, strawberries, coconut cream, banana slices, nuts, praline! The list goes on forever. If you’re allergic to nuts, you can also replace the walnuts with a combination of flax and sunflower seeds. I don’t have a powerful blender and I still managed to make this tart in about half an hour, not including freezing time.Just bash up your nuts in a mortar and pestle first and soak your dried fruit so it blends faster. Happy Valentines Day! 

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 Vegan and Gluten Free Chocolate Berry Mousse Tart: Inspired by Baking = Love

For the Base:

2 cups walnuts or sunflower and flax seeds, bashed into crumbs in a mortar and pestle

1 cup sultanas, soaked briefly in warm water (about 20 minutes)

3-4 tbsp cocoa powder

For the Filling:

600g (21 ounces) silken tofu, drained

100g (3.5 ounces) dark semi-sweet chocolate, or more or less depending how rich you like

3 tbsp raw cacao powder

1 tbsp agave nectar

1 tsp vanilla extract

500g (1 pound) blueberries

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Start recipe a day before. Line a 20cm tart or cake tin with plastic wrap of foil (not baking paper as this will disintegrate when you freeze it). Blend together the walnuts and sultanas, adding the cocoa powder as you go to reach a thick, cookie dough like consistency. You may need to add a teaspoon of water or milk if it’s too crumbly. Press with your fingers into the tart tin, pushing the dough out to make an even layer on the bottom and sides of the tin. Keep in the freezer for at least 4 hours, until ready to fill. 

To make the filling, blend the drained tofu with the melted chocolate until smooth. Sift the cocoa powder well, and blend in, tasting as you go to reach the desired chocolatey flavour. Blend in the agave syrup and vanilla to sweeten, adding more if it’s too bitter. Pour into the tart tin and keep in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. Top with the berries when ready to serve. Lasts well in the fridge for a day or two. 

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Orange and Cinnamon Chocolate Truffles

Raw, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Vegan

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There’s something about chocolates in the shape of a ball that is seriously addictive. It’s like eating grapes. Who ever saw a bunch of grapes and thought, oh…I’ll just have one. I’ll just have one grape please. Who does that? No one. It’s obligatory that you have at least five. I feel the same way about chocolate balls. Maltesers, M&Ms, Smarties, Jaffa Balls, all the balls. It’s impossible to show any kind of self control and just have a single malteser! Plus, people would think you were weird. Who only eats one ball! Ok,  time to move on from the subject of balls… these chocolate orange truffles are pretty much where it’s at with addictive chocolate. 

I go all kinds of crazy in Christmas season (who doesn’t, please.) and bake/ice/eat at a velocity of 1000x more intense then the rest of the year. Last year I made three kinds of ice cream, a Christmas fruit cake, gingerbread men, custard and sugar cookies all for Christmas Day. And I was not assigned to dessert. Christmas lunch at my family’s house is always an intense eating marathon that we all look forward to for the entire lead-up. 

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Lunch is always AMAZING! Heaps of seafood and ham and prawn cocktails. But I never fill up on these trivial things. I just sip my water and eat my tasty salad patiently, waiting for the big guns. Dessert. Oh my gosh. I dream about it. My grandma always makes a multi-layered trifle covered in cream and passionfruit that makes me weep with joy. We always have a prune pudding (do not judge! It is the food of the Gods!) and ice cream and fruit skewers and more cream and custard and wow. It’s really a beautiful moment. 

And at the end of the day there’s always a box of chocolates on the table, usually one of the many Christmas gifts received over the previous weeks. These chocolate truffles are for that moment. They’re the perfect Christmas gift because they’re full of Christmassy flavours like cinnamon and orange, and they look nice and ‘rustic’ and homemade. You can feel the love right? 

ImageChristmas is a little bit sad this year because I’m not with my family to celebrate. I’m going to miss seeing all my beautiful cousins and aunts and uncles! And my hilarious grandpa wearing his cute little Christmas paper crown. But then again, hopefully by that point in my travels, I’ll be celebrating Christmas with my boyfriend in an apartment in Paris! So I doubt I’ll be that sad.

These chocolate truffles are super healthy and easy to make for all your family and friends this year. They’re similar to the chocolate coconut balls I made, but with a seasonal twist. Made out of dried organic apricots and walnuts, they are packed with protein and potassium and vitamin C from the orange juice! Way healthier than the usual standard truffle, keep these in the fridge or freezer for a yummy snack or wrap them up in cellophane and send around the Christmas cheer 🙂 IMG_7634

Orange and Cinnamon Chocolate Truffles
1 cup walnuts
1 cup dried organic apricots
juice of 2 oranges
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
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Soak the apricots for half an hour in the orange juice. Drain them, reserving some juice, and cut into strips. Pound up the walnuts and throw in the blender with the cinnamon, cocoa powder, and apricots. Blend until smooth, adding a teaspoon or two of orange juice as you go if the paste is too thick. Scoop into a bowl and use two teaspoons to roll out even balls. Pour a little cocoa powder in a small bowl and drop the balls in the bowl. Use your fingertips to roll the balls around until evenly coated. Once dusted, place in a container and keep in the fridge until they firm up. Happy holidays!
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Healthy Chocolate Banana Fudge Cakes

Gluten Free, Vegan, and Sugar Free

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 The other day I was looking after the kids I babysit every week. The youngest boy was playing video games and singing to himself. At first I was just tuning him out and trying to read my book, and then I started listening to what he was singing.

What do you do with an annoying sister

What do you do with an annoying sister

What do you do with an annoying sister

(This is where he turned to me and locked eyes intensely)

Stick a fork up her BUM HOLE. 

Where do kids get stuff like that?!? I blame free TV! No, seriously. Kids amaze me sometimes. Their little brains just work on a completely different, fascinating level. The other day I caught myself debating with them what would happen if people’s faces got transplanted to their bums and their bums transplanted to their faces. It got ugly! I think all this babysitting is turning me into a giant kid.

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If, like me, you find yourself staring at a fruit bowl one day humming to yourself “what do you do with a million bananas, what do you do with a million bananas…” I can now tell you a decent answer. You make these little gluten free, sugar free, optionally vegan heart shaped cakes out of them. It’s just that obvious. On my birthday recently a family friend made us the most amazing flourless chocolate cake. It had raspberries scattered on top and we ate it with vanilla ice cream! Oh mercy. It was beautiful. The nicest cake I have ever had. Today with these little chocolate cakes, I wanted to do something along the chocolate and almond theme. 

But healthified. 

The recipe is the same one from Petite Kitchen that I used in these orange fudge cupcakes. Instead of orange though, I used banana! I was worried that the difference in fruits would make the recipe come out really strange and possibly lumpy…but my fears turned out to be futile. 

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As soon as a had my first peak in the oven I knew good things were happening. They smelled amazing! And the tops looked so crispy and light. I had no idea how long they’d take to cook so there was a bit of oven door opening going on, but I worked out a decent time in the end for you lovely people. But by then some of the hearts had cracked. They looked so sad! 

The cakes came out really moist but light as well. You could put in some chocolate chips to make them more chocolatey, but to be honest they tasted amazing as they were. These cakes are so rich and dark you could make them for dessert. Serve them with some serious vanilla ice cream or custard, or chocolate ice cream if you’re anything like me. They’re also great for any other time of day as well, including breakfast if you know what I’m sayin! 

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Also the REALLY exciting news! I got a new lens for my camera! It’s a 100mm 1.28L IS USM macro lens (I have no idea what I just said…) I think, and it’s the most amazing thing EVERRRR. I’m still learning how to use it. Only half the photos in this post are taken with it because I love me an overhead shot, and I’d seriously need a ladder with this thing to get the whole cake in the frame. It is so close! The detail is just amazing. 

I’ve been watching the CD instruction manual and reading up on the internet and it is actually starting to make sense. I’m so excited to start putting way more effort into each post when I get back from overseas! Making one post a week gives you so much more time to think and plan, rather than three or four posts a week which I’ve been doing recently. (I’m speaking to you from the past if that made no sense…hellooooo!! spookyyy). These little cakes may be simple, but they’re a total winner. I was so happy with how they turned out. So make them! Especially if you have some bananas lying spare.

I have to admit I used eggs instead of chia seeds here because we had a lot of eggs and no chia…but I’ve made this exact recipe with oranges and chia, and it turned out great. Denser, but great. So try what suits your needs and tell me how it goes!

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 Vegan and Gluten Free Banana Chocolate Cakes: Adapted from Petite Kitchen

300g (2 cups) almond flour

35g (5 tablespoons) cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

90ml (6 tablespoons) maple syrup or agave nectar

5 tablespoons chia seeds mixed with ten tablespoons almond milk OR 5 eggs

3-4 bananas, mashed to make one cup

Optional: chopped nuts or chocolate chips

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Preheat the oven to 170C (340F) and grease ten muffin or friand moulds with coconut butter or oil. Mash your bananas well, and mix with the chia seeds and almond milk to form a smooth paste. Blend all the ingredients together thoroughly until combined. Pour until 3/4 full in to each muffin mould. 

Bake in the middle of the oven for about 15 minutes, checking after 12. Makes ten to twelve chocolate cakes. Dust with cocoa powder and serve warm with ice cream for the best chocolate cake experience ever. 

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