Growing up, I can remember many times my mom baking my favourite banana bread recipe. I would eagerly wait as she pulled the steaming hot and wonderfully smelling loaf from the oven and placed it on the counter to cool. She would always say, “Sarah…WAIT for it to cool down before cutting it”. I never listened and would end up eating half the loaf throughout the evening. And not much has changed. Banana bread is one of those great simple pleasures for me. It’s so easy, yet never fails to satisfy my taste buds.

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This Chocolate Zucchini Banana loaf is my take on a classic. I added cocao powder and cocao nibs for a rich chocolate flavour. Butter, white sugar, and white flour has been replaced with coconut oil, coconut sugar and spelt flour.  There is a perfect subtle flavour of coconut and caramel that comes from the oil and sugar. Zucchini makes this loaf super moist while also reducing some of the sugar. Finally, this loaf would not be complete without the crunchy walnuts.

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I recommend doubling the recipe and keeping one loaf in the freezer for when your sweet tooth emerges or if a guest pops over at a later time. If you want to get a little fancy, garnish each slice with a sprinkle of coconut shavings and a light drizzle of good quality honey.

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Enjoy with a steaming cup of your favourite tea!

Ciao,

Sarah

Chocolate Zucchini Banana Loaf

Makes: 1 Loaf (approximately 8-10 slices)
Prep/Cook Time: 75 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1 ¼ (300 ml) cups spelt flour (or flour of choice)
¼  (60 ml) cup cocoa powder, sifted
2 tsp (10 ml) baking powder
½ tsp (2.5 ml) baking soda
½ tsp (2.5 ml) salt
½ tsp (2.5 ml) cinnamon
½ cup (125 ml) coconut oil, melted
¾ cup (190 ml) coconut sugar (or sweetener/sugar of choice)
2 large eggs
1 very ripe banana, mashed
1 cup (250 ml) grated zucchini
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
¼ cup (60 ml) cacao raw nibs, or chocolate chips
½ cup (125 ml) walnuts, chopped

Optional garnish: coconut flakes and honey

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 330 degrees F.  Grease a 9” x 7” loaf pan with coconut oil.

2. Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl.

3. In a large bowl, mix the melted coconut oil, sugar and beat briefly until blended.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the mashed banana and zucchini.  With a large spoon stir in the  vanilla extract, cacao nibs and walnuts.

4. Add the flour mixture, a third at a time, stirring just until combined, after each addition.

5. Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

6. Cool for about 15 minutes in the pan and then invert onto a serving platter.

7. Cut some generous slices and enjoy the fruits of your labour!

Optional garnish: Sprinkle with coconut flakes and lightly drizzle with good quality honey.