Banana Bread

 

A loaf of vegan banana bread

If you or someone you love follows a Gluten-Free diet, you won’t want to miss this amazing event! Today at the Highland Park Sunset Foods, we’re hosting a Gluten-Free Expo with over 40 gluten-free vendors. Stop by and sample some of their delicious products – and pick up favorites to take home.

While preparing for the expo, we thought what could be better than to experiment with some of these vendors products in our kitchen? We were thrilled with the results – and we are certain you will be too! This week’s recipe was easy to whip up and made the entire kitchen smell phenomenal! And would you believe, it’s gluten-free and vegan?!

This week’s recipe: Gluten-Free, Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

What you need:

3 c. gluten-free oats, plus 3 Tbs

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

3 very ripe bananas, mashed

1 Tbs olive oil or coconut oil

1/3 c. brown sugar, plus 1 Tbs

1 tsp vanilla extract

2/3 c. vegan chocolate chips

Why we like it:

This bread is unbelievably moist and surprisingly full of flavor. The trick is to use gluten-free oats – they help the bread retain moisture without the need for excessive oils or fats. And the natural sweetness comes from bananas – the older and riper, the better. If you want to keep this recipe vegan, be sure to check the labels when purchasing your chocolate chips. We used Callebaut for our recipe; Guittard is also vegan, but they use the same machinery to manufacture their milk chocolate chips.

As always when we prepare a recipe, we like to make sure we have all our ingredients ready to go:

Banana Bread ingredients

Mmm, looks like breakfast! (Truth be told, we could eat this bread at any time of day, it’s so delicious!!)

Before you begin mashing and mixing, you want to preheat your oven to 350°F. Take a 9x5-inch loaf pan and spray it well with cooking spray. (We used a foil pan, and that worked just as well.)

Now that your pan is ready, you can begin mixing. First, you need to take the 3 Tbs of oats and 1 Tbs of brown sugar, combine them in a small bowl and set them aside. This will be your streusel topping that you sprinkle on the bread right before baking.

Next, you need to make oat flour! Before you throw your hands in the air and walk away, we’re here to tell you just how easy it is to make your own flour – especially from oats. All you need are oats and a blender. Yep. That’s it!

Place the 3 cups of gluten-free oats in the blender and process for 1-2 minutes until the oats resemble flour in texture. You may need to stop the blender, stir the oats around and restart several times – or else process in smaller batches. When all the oats have been blended to the desired consistency, measure 2 cups of oat flour into a mixing bowl. Save the rest for a future recipe!

Processing oats to create a flour

Whisk in the baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a separate large bowl, beat the masked bananas, 1/3 cup brown sugar, vanilla extract, and oil for 1-2 minutes – until the consistency is smooth and creamy. You can do this by hand, or using your electric stand or hand-held mixer. We used pure muscle, as you can see ☺

Combining the sugar, bananas, and oil

Once the banana mixture is nice and creamy, you will add your flour mixture to it, and stir until just combined. Finally, fold in the chocolate chips, then pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan, smooth the surface out, and sprinkle with your streusel topping.

Folding the flour and chocolate chips into the bananas

Banana batter in a baking pan

Now, have you ever wondered how professional bakers get their bread to crack ever-so-perfectly down the middle of the loaf? Here’s a neat trick.

Take a plastic bowl or bench scraper and dip it in oil to coat the sides. Then stick it in the center of the loaf where you want it to crack and remove it. When the bread bakes, it will have that tell-tale crack, just like the pros!

Creating a crack in the banana bread loaf

Place the pan in your preheated oven and bake for 35-40 minutes – until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the bread cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes before inverting and removing from the pan and slicing to eat. It will be touch to resist the temptation to tear into it immediately, but its worth saving yourself the scalded tongue, we promise.

If you’re not a fan of chocolate chips, try adding walnuts or coconut flakes to the bread. Or bake without any add-ins. It’s just as delicious. We recommend serving a nice thick warm slice with a little bit of vegan butter and a mug of tea. Makes these chilly October mornings easier to wake up to, now doesn’t it?

The bread will keep for up to three days at room temperature if wrapped really well. You could also bake and freeze multiple loaves for the holidays!

Slice of banana bread

Banana bread ready to be served

 

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