Let’s not eff around: Erin Ireland makes the best damn banana bread in the world.

I could try and replicate hers, but she puts Callebaut chocolate and macadamia nuts on top ($$$), and while her slices are immaculate, I do find her loaf a bit on the oily side. So I think I have made the next best thing.

The great thing about banana bread is that there are a million ways to make it, and you can find the best one that works for your preferences. And it’s SO easy to make this vegan- no butter or eggs are needed, and you can use the non-dairy mylk of your choice.

While I’ve made many a banana bread on the dry side (including this recipe), I can’t ever remember a time when the taste has been bad. There’s just something about those sweet-enough bananas and chocolate chips that melds well, like amicable cousins at a family reunion.

I came across this recipe from The Desserted Girl that suggested 1/4 c nut butter, and as you know I love to hazelnut butter both my granola and anything that just needs impressing, so this was no exception.

Ingredients:

2 c whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1/8 tsp nutmeg powder
1 tsp cocoa
4 ripe medium to large bananas, mashed
1/2 c maple syrup
1/4 c melted coconut oil (can use olive too)
1/4 c nut butter of your choice
1/2 c + 4 tbsp rice milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c vegan chocolate chips (plus more for topping)
Optional: 1/4 c walnuts, chopped

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix in the spices and cocoa and set aside. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan (or a pan for 12 muffins) and preheat oven to 350 F. In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas well. Add the maple syrup, oil, and nut butter and mix well. Add the rice milk and vanilla and mix until combined. Fold in the flour mixture until just combined- do not over-mix. Fold in the chocolate chips. The batter will be thick but spreadable.

Spoon the batter into the loaf tin and smooth the top if required, sprinkling on  more chocolate chips and walnuts, if using. Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no wet batter. If the top is browning too quickly, cover the top loosely with foil in the last 10 minutes of baking.

Allow the cake to cool before slicing and serving. The banana flavour intensifies the next day. It’s better to store the cake in the fridge after the first day of serving. In cooler areas, it can last up to 3 days at room temperature. Yields 8-12 servings or more if pieces are smaller.

Tips:

  • Cocoa is optional – I added it for fun (and extra zinc!).
  • The original recipe had 1/2 c brown or coconut sugar, but I’m using maple syrup as I found the bread to be a bit on the dry and crumbly side, despite all the liquid used. (The Desserted Girl’s photos slices don’t look completely smooth either, so I don’t feel that bad!)
  • The original recipe had coconut milk (or other milk of choice) but I’m using rice milk as this is what Erin McKenna typically uses in her recipes which always turn out great.
  • If you’re not a fan of nut butter, you can omit that but IMO using hazelnut or peanut butter takes this to another level!
  • I love walnuts for texture, but use the toppings you love the most. I recently discovered Blue Monkey Coconut Chips in Chocolate – fire! If I wanted to impress I’d serve with vanilla ice cream and crush and sprinkle some of these on top of it all. YAS! 
  • I’ve also tried this with gluten-free flour and it works just as well. You can experiment with the recipe as you see fit!

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