The Ultimate Hot Chocolate

Is it too early to talk about chocolate?  Valentine’s Day is a month away, but oh what the heck.  Chocolate never goes out of style, is never passé, and no one will ever says “Chocolate is so yesterday!”

One year when the season of Lent was approaching, I was wondering what I would give up for 40 days.  Christians observe Lent by going through a season of self-denial to make room for the presence of God in our lives, and as a preparation for Easter.  One should give up something that will be missed, something that will hurt a little.  And so I gave up chocolate for 40 days because it had become something I had to have every day.  It did hurt, but it made me aware of how much I thought I needed it.  Was I on my way to becoming a chocolate addict?  This might be overstating it, but I want to live a life where I am free to choose.  And the act of giving up chocolate was a stark slap in the face, that is – I wasn’t free to choose chocolate as it had become something I had to have and not something I “get” to have.  Once Lent was over, that first bite of chocolate tasted divine!

My relationship with chocolate has since become more balanced, and I don’t have to have it everyday.  When I do have it, it should be really good.  So, as I  think about some food related highlights from 2014, I feel that visiting Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France with {Kale} was one of them.  You can read about our visit here.  We had the drinking chocolate and I have been meaning to make a version that was a little less rich, but no less satisfying.  As a result, here is my ultimate hot chocolate!

Hot Chocolate 1 kake2kale

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Banana Coconut Bread with Chocolate Chunks

One summer when I was a teenager obsessed with my macramé handbag and wearing bell bottoms, our family went on a road trip to the Eastern seaboard and stopped in Boston.  Whilst there, we visited the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and as usual went into the gift shop afterwards.  And there my Mom bought me the most beautiful cookbook I had ever seen, it was a cookbook that compiled recipes of dishes made for special functions at the museum and along with the recipes were pictures of the art from the museum.  Appealing to my love of art and food I consider this cookbook one of my treasures.  The recipe that I made the most often from it is a banana bread.  It is the only banana bread recipe I’ve seen where the bananas are not mashed but sliced, which to me is less work. Mom and I have made this recipe many times, always to spectacular results.

These days I have been baking a lot with almond flour; I love it, but not the cost.  So I decided to add coconut flour to the mix, because coconut flour, though not cheap, is still less than almond flour. By adding coconut flour I am not only bumping up the fiber and nutrition but I also get more of a dense, pound cake-like texture.  This banana bread, which I’ve renamed to include coconut, can be eaten any time – as a quick breakfast that gives you lots of energy or an afternoon snack to stave off junk food cravings. My recipe is inspired by Elana’s Pantry.

Superfoods in it are:

Almonds: Good source of vitamin B’s, magnesium, vitamin E and zinc. It also contains some Omega 3’s. The B’s and magnesium both help with feeling calm and collected because they help the body produce serotonin, which is sometimes called the happy hormone. Serotonin affects many functions of the body like, sleep, appetite, aging, memory, just to name some benefits.

Coconut:  Contains protein, vitamins A and E, lauric acid which is in mother’s milk and help to fight off infections.  It’s fat is in the form of MCT’s which are medium chain-triglycerides which has been proven to be turned into an immediate source of fuel and not stored as fat.  A bonus for all you fiber lovers like me, a tablespoon of coconut flour has 5 grams of fiber!

Bananas:  Contains Vitamin C, fiber, a significant amount of potassium. High potassium intakes are also associated with a reduced risk of stroke, protection against loss of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density and reduction in the formation of kidney stones.

Dark Chocolate: High in vitamin B’s and magnesium, both of which supports the nervous system. It also has phenylethylamine, which stirs up happy feelings, and releases stress.

This recipe is gluten free, dairy free and does not have added sugar.

Gluten Free Chocolate Banana Cake

Banana Coconut Bread with Chocolate Chunks Serves 12

  • 2 ½ cup almond flour
  • ½ c. coconut flour
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • ½ t. sea salt
  • ¼ c. melted coconut oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2-3)
  • ¾ cup chocolate chunks, coarsely chopped

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350F, then line a 9-inch pan with parchment paper, set aside.
  • Into a large bowl, combine the flours, baking soda and salt.
  • In a medium bowl, mix the coconut oil, eggs and vanilla extract.  Then mix this into the dry ingredients.  Then fold the bananas and the chocolate into the batter and pour into lined pan.
  • Bake for 35-45 minutes until golden brown and when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out cleanly, it is done.  I don’t usually wait for it to cool, because it is soooo darn good warm out of the oven!!  Let cool, if you have patience.

Eat well, feel great! – {Kake}

Gluten Free Chocolate Banana Cake 2