Short and brutally honest story about how this recipe was born
I am all for food trends, and I love trying them. At the beginning of the pandemic it seemed like everyone was making banana bread. However, I did not take part in this trend. Why not? Well besides knowing I have a sensitivity to bananas, the idea of taking part in this nation-wide stress bake-fest seemed to just make my anxiety about the pandemic worsen. Cooking and creating in the kitchen is my happy place. At times, it can be an escape. Why would I want to bake something in my happy place that just serves to remind me of the ever worsening pandemic growing right outside my door?
There was something about baking that banana bread that made me feel that if I baked it, I would be submitting. Giving up. The whole rhetoric behind people baking banana bread during the pandemic, in my twisted brain, went something like “Well, I’m stuck at home while the world crumbles around me. I may as well bake some banana bread.” And I didn’t want any part in that. I needed to stay strong.
Long story short, the year anniversary of the last time I picked my kids up from school for the day…our last normal day came and went. I grieved. Hard. Then, shortly after, one of my daughter’s Wednesday night (zoom) church teachers gave the class an assignment to bake some banana bread as they were learning about hospitality. She sweetly dropped off all of the ingredients on our porch in a brown paper sack, but, of course, with our family having a gluten and dairy allergy, I couldn’t use the provided recipe or ingredients so I decided to make my own.
With my daughter’s help, we mashed and mixed and tested and finally came out with a perfect loaf. There was something strangely cathartic about the process. More importantly, it allowed me to see my sin. I had been thinking this whole time that I could control a little piece of how the pandemic was affecting my life by not making banana bread. It sounds silly when I say it aloud, but it’s true. The fact is that I’m not in control. I never was, nor will I ever be, and I’m thankful that even through something as seemingly inconsequential as making banana bread, God was able to show me that He cares for me so much more than allowing me to fool myself into thinking I could control a situation in which He is in complete control. And more than that. Despite what my human eyes see on the television and on social media, He is good.
About the recipe:
This recipe was a little bit of a trial and error process, but it turns out, well worth it. Banana mashing tip: use a whisk! Mash and whisk, mash and whisk. It works way better than a fork and is less messy than a potato masher. I love to use dark brown sugar in this recipe. Dark brown sugar has more molasses than light brown sugar, and it just adds a bit of depth and complexity of flavor that is super delicious in this loaf. As with a lot of other loaf-type recipes, it is best to let this bread cool before slicing into it (I know, so hard!). A note about the amount of banana listed: 3 medium bananas. If the bananas are large, just use two and a half instead of 3. If they’re really small, use 3 and a half. I know baking is a science, but lets let ourselves live on the edge for this shall we? I have tested this many times, and the recipe is forgiving in regard to a teeny less or a teeny more of banana mash.
Gluten and Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
- 2 cups gluten free flour (xanthan gum included or add 1/4 tsp xanthan gum)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 ripe bananas, mashed (3 small or 2 medium)
- 2/3 dark brown sugar (light can be substituted)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup of dairy free milk (I have tested this with both coconut and oat milk)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup dairy free regular or mini chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a loaf pan with parchment or spray with baking spray.
- In a medium bowl, mash 3 ripe bananas (I use a whisk for this) and add 2 eggs, 2/3 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup dairy free milk, and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract.
- In another medium bowl, whisk together 2 cups gluten free flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon fine salt, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
- Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and blend with a rubber spatula just until no white patches of flour remain. Fold in 2/3 cup dairy free regular or mini chocolate chips.
- Pour batter into the loaf pan and bake for 1 hour to one hour and 5 minutes or until a cake tester comes out of the middle clean.
To make this recipe with dairy or gluten: use a regular wheat-based flour and regular dairy-based chocolate chips