Banana Bread: Gluten-Free & Protein-Packed!

In my early teaching days, one of my colleagues had a habit of stress-baking. At the time, I never understood how baking could alleviate stress — I just envisioned extra dishes and a big mess in my kitchen…which would lead to more stress. One morning, she brought a tray full of beautiful scones to school, and we all knew her stress-levels had to be through the roof. Unfortunately, we were right. Fortunately, BAKED GOODIES!!!

My sweet toddler had lots in store for me today. After I swept up a pile of glass (he wanted to load the dishwasher) and cleaned up a handful of less dangerous messes, I felt the urge to bake. Suddenly, I understood her plight. I scoured a handful of my favorite gluten-free blogs for a banana bread recipe — because the browning bananas on my counter were adding to my stress. I couldn’t find one exact recipe that fit the ingredients hanging around in my pantry, and I really wanted my stress-baking to involve hemp protein powder and chia seeds. You know, so I could enjoy guilt-free eating. I used Southern-In-Law’s banana bread recipe as my base, and tweaked and twerked (ok, not that last part) until I created something to fit my specific needs.

3 browning bananas
2 eggs
3 tbsps. coconut oil
1 1/2 tsp of honey (or maple syrup, more if you want it sweeter)
1 tsp of vanilla
1 1/2 cups of gluten-free pastry flour
1/4 cup hemp protein powder
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
Pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped almonds (pecans, walnuts, whatever)

Pre-heat your oven to 350 and grease two mini-cupcake pans (I spray them with coconut oil). In a large mixing bowl, smash bananas and add wet ingredients. Stir in dry ingredients, except chocolate chips and almonds, then mix with a hand-held electric mixer. (Feel free to lick the beaters if you don’t so much care about raw eggs.) Add the chocolate chips and almonds last, and stir those in by hand. The batter itself isn’t incredibly sweet (which fit my desires perfectly since I’m breaking up with sugar), but the chocolate chips make up for that. Add more honey if you want a sweeter treat.

Spray a spoon with coconut oil, then spoon the batter into the mini-cupcake pans. (Yields approximately 36 mini banana bread bites.)

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, switching the pans from top to bottom racks halfway through. Let them cool just enough not to burn your fingers and mouth, then slather them in grass-fed butter. Enjoy!

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