A lot of bakers will tell you that in order to make their bread, you need to pull out the scale. You need to measure twice, and be precise. I am not that baker. A few weeks ago, I was asked to provide some advice for people trying out grain-free baking for the first time. A list of "shoulds" and "should nots" ran through my head, and I thought Are any of those things realistic?
Ok, maybe you guys have way more patience than I do, but I've had plenty of late night baking sessions where measurement went out the door. For some ingredients, throwing in a bit extra is not a problem. When was the last time you said, "Man, this cookie has too many chocolate chips"? (If you have ever said that, we need to chat).
Sometimes, a little experiment can lead to wonderful things. This Paleo Banana Bread with Cacao Nibs started as an experiment, but now I think it's my favorite Paleo banana bread recipe to date. While traditional banana bread features walnuts, this version has cocoa nibs. The sweet crumb is the perfect match to tannic cocoa nibs. A big, thick slice of this loaf is dense, sweet, and full of flavor. But it never would've happened if I had decided to stick to a recipe.
My advice: Don't be afraid to try test things out. Even if it doesn't work, you'll learn more about your ingredients by giving it a shot. Sometimes things will fail--it's ok! Earlier this week I decided to make a Blackberry Crumble that came out of the oven looking more like warm blackberries drizzled with almond butter. It's wasn't a total fail... turns out that saucy blackberries drizzled with gooey almond butter is pretty damn good, too.
Yields: 1 loaf | Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil or butter, softened or melted, plus more for greasing your pan
- 4 eggs
- 4 very ripe bananas (if you are using bananas that are solid yellow (i.e., they do not yet have brown spots), you may wish to add 1-2 tablespoons of honey to this bread to increase it’s sweetness)
- 1/2 cup cacao nibs
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a standard 9-inch loaf pan with coconut oil (alternatively, you can line the pan with parchment paper).
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, until no clumps remain.
- In a separate bowl, cream together the bananas, coconut oil, and vanilla. Once they are fully combined, stir in the eggs until incorporated.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring it in with a spatula or electric mixer until a consistent batter forms. It may have a few small clumps but should be mostly smooth. Fold in the cacao nibs.
- Spread the batter into an even layer in the loaf pan. Optionally, sprinkle the top of the load with cacao nibs. Then, place the pan in the center of the oven. Bake for 45 - 55 minutes until golden on top, and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the loaf. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before slicing.