Finn’s Bougie Banana Bread

Banana Bread, I Love Cooking, Finn NiFhaoilain

Bougie Banana Bread Slice topped with Raspberry Chia Jam, Toasted Coconut & Chocolate Heart Melt

I was recently on a trip to Australia and everywhere I went, especially in Byron Bay, all I could see was banana bread! Since so much of it wasn’t gluten free I wanted to put my own spin on it that was not only gluten free, but also vegan (also covering dairy- and egg-free folks as well). This is a great snack on the go or a sweet little breakfast, spread with some almond butter and washed down with an iced coffee.

Finn’s Favourite Banana Bread

Makes 1 regular loaf tin, about 12 slices – gluten-free, dairy-free & vegan

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1½ cups gluten free self-raising flour, Doves Organic is my favourite
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 1/2 baking soda
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon or 1/2 tsp allspice & 1/3 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 large or 3 smaller ripe bananas
  • ¾ cup sunflower or coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • ½ cups maple syrup or coconut blossom sugar
  • Desiccated coconut or an extra banana to decorate if you wish
  • Chocolate heart melts
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp almond butter
  • A few squares of your favourite dark chocolate or 3 tbsp of vegan dark chocolate drops

Other toppings:

  • Almond butter
  • Homemade raspberry chia jam (2 cups frozen raspberries, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 2 tbsp maple syrup)
  • Slice banana
  • Toasted desiccated coconut

Method Banana Bread

  1. Set the oven to 180˚C and line a loaf tin with baking paper. In a cup, add the chia seeds and water, stir and set aside – this will turn into a jelly-like consistency that will be our “egg”. Magic!

2. In a mixing bowl, add the flour, ground almonds and baking soda, baking powder, spices and stir.

3. In another mixing bowl, add the bananas, oil, vanilla extract and maple syrup – if you like a chunkier consistency to your banana bread, mash the banana on a plate first using a fork before adding. If you’re a little lazy like me, add it all together and blend with an immersion blender (the stick one you use for soup!). Add the chia seed mix and stir.

4. Add the dry bowl to the wet mix and stir in, then add your pecans, walnuts or whatever nuts/seeds you like or have handy in the press. I’ve suggested 1 cup here but if you like a crunchier texture, feel free to add more or even some dried fruit too if you like extra sweetness.

5. Pour the mix into the loaf tin and bake in the oven for about 30-40 minutes. Some ovens may vary, this time is for a fan assisted oven, add a little more time for an oven without.

6. If its for an occasion, or you just wanted your food to look extra lovely, take the tin out after 15 minutes and sprinkle with desiccated coconut or very thin slices of banana and pop back in the oven for the remaining time.

7. This banana bread keeps well in an airtight container. It also freezes very well and can be pre-sliced and grabbed each day to pop in a lunchbox on the way out the door!

Toppings Method

Chia Raspberry Jam

Defrost the raspberries and cook them in a small pot and add maple syrup and chia seeds. Let cool, they will take and hour or two to “set” (the outer coating on the chia seeds turns to a gel and give the mix a jam like consistency).

Chocolate Heart Melts

Add the chocolate, coconut oil, almond butter and maple syrup to a bowl and melt in the  microwave or over a bain marie. Mix well and pour into heart shaped silicone moulds and pop in the freezer for an hour to set.

Toasted Coconut

Heat a pan to a medium high heat and dry fry the desiccated coconut until golden brown, stir continuously to prevent burning. Do a big batch this is delicious over porridge, curries… the options are endless!

To Serve

I like to layer up a toasted slice of banana bread – spread on some nut butter of your choice, a dollop of chia jam, a sprinkle of toasted coconut and top with the chocolate heart melt!

Getting to know Finn….

Banana Bread, I Love Cooking, Finn NiFhaoilain

Finn Ni Fhaolain is a marine scientist, speaker and best selling author. She holds a BSc in Earth & Ocean Science, an MSc in Marine Biology and a Certificate in Culinary Arts. 

Passionate about the ocean and environmental protection she works freelance for the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group and is an ambassador for Clean Coasts and An Taisce’s Climate Change Program.

In 2017 she released her bestselling cookbook with Gill Books. Finn co-created Burro Burro (a Mexican burrito bar) in 2019 and received a McKenna Award for Milish the zero waste gluten-free business that she created in 2019.

On her website www.saltwaterstories.me and Instagram page (@salwaterstories.me) she writes about sustainable living, going plastic-free and low impact travel.

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