This chocolate banana bread recipe in Episode 2 of What the Fudge will make your Valentine’s Day morning all the more sweet. It checks all the boxes: It’s full of nutritious ingredients, it’s moist and delicious, it’s super easy to make and, most importantly, it has chocolate in it. Katie Higgins from Chocolate Covered Katie has a knack for creating healthy desserts that are so delicious they taste like a major splurge — and this recipe is no exception.
Watch Katie make this recipe in Episode 2 of What the Fudge:
Katie confesses that one of the reasons she started her healthy dessert blog was because she found herself eating chocolate cake for breakfast. She knew she needed to find a more nutritious alternative.
“With this banana bread, it tastes like you’re eating dessert, and you can eat it for breakfast because it’s so healthy! It’s full of wholesome ingredients,” she says.
The perfect banana for baking
The banana is the star of the show for banana bread, of course, so it’s important to use one that’s overripe — as in brown and mushy. The uglier, the better.
“When you buy bananas at the grocery store, they’re usually not the perfect ripeness for making any kind of baked good,” explains Katie. “If you get bananas that aren’t ripe enough and you try to use them in a recipe like banana bread, you might get an earthy banana taste.”
The natural sweetness of super-ripe bananas replaces much of the processed sugar in the recipe.
Banana ripening hack
What do you do if you have a major banana bread craving but your bananas aren’t quite ripe enough?
“If you only have yellow bananas, just stick them in the oven for a few minutes,” says Katie. “The sugars will all caramelize and will turn this lovely shade of dark brown. I know it doesn’t look all that appetizing, but they taste so much better.”
Why you need vinegar in this banana bread recipe
Add two cups mashed bananas to a mixing bowl, along with vanilla extract, baking soda, and a surprising ingredient: apple cider vinegar. Don’t worry: You won’t taste it. Katie explains that the vinegar reacts with the baking soda to help the dough rise and form that perfect loaf shape.
Marvelous maple syrup
Katie cuts down on refined white sugar by using maple syrup, which gives the bread a sweet and rich flavor. She then stirs in almond milk, but says you can use any milk variety (like soy, oat, coconut or good ol’ cow’s milk). Mash the bananas with a fork and stir the mixture, ensuring no large chunks are present.
Now, mix in the dry ingredients, starting with flour. Katie uses spelt flour in her recipes.
“I like to use it in baked goods instead of whole wheat flour to keep them whole grain, but also make them lighter and fluffier,” she explains. She points out that you can use all-purpose and oat flours, too.
Finally, it’s time for the chocolate. Katie adds half a cup of regular unsweetened cocoa powder, plus two tablespoons of Dutch cocoa powder. “Dutch cocoa powder will give it that brownie taste,” says Katie. “If you don’t have Dutch cocoa powder or you can’t find it, just use regular cocoa powder.”
And a little more chocolate…
Add in a quarter cup of sugar (or Stevia, if you prefer) — and then half a cup of mini chocolate chips to give it some extra-chocolatey flavor. Stir the ingredients and then pour into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper.
But you aren’t done yet. “One last thing: Extra chocolate chips on top. People eat with their eyes first, so just seeing that chocolate on top makes people think that they’re eating a decadent dessert — and they’re already excited about the recipe before they’ve even tried it!”
Healthier banana bread everyone will love
Katie recommends this recipe when you’re expecting a crowd.
“I serve this often when I have guests stay over for the weekend. You can make it the night before, and then, when company arrives, you’ll have the breakfast ready to go the next day!”