Et finalement, tout va bien.
Sometimes, you start out aiming for one thing, and end up with something different but nonetheless great. This is one of those times. We’ve had a few hot days in Australia this past week, which means that all the fruit on my fruit platter was ripening too quickly. I love bananas, but once they get too ripe, there’s only one thing to do with them: make banana bread.
This was what I set out to do yesterday. I always feel like banana bread should be healthy, so I wanted to make a dairy-free version that I could snack on without feeling like I was ingesting heaps of butter. I started throwing some ingredients together, but while I was stirring the mix I could already tell that it was too thick to produce the kind of fluffy banana bread I was after. So I made some last-minute adjustments: I spread the mix into a brownie pan, scattered a bunch of cocoa nibs on top, threw it into the oven and hoped for the best. Thirty minutes later I had a fragrant, dense slab of banana slice, which held together nicely when cut into bars. My experiment had a happy ending!
To give these bars some texture, I used 1/3 cup coarsely ground oats. There is some debate as to whether oats are suitable for people with gluten intolerance/Coeliac disease. I buy certified gluten free oats, which are produced in a facility that does not handle any gluten products whatsoever, and I eat them all the time without issue. But then again, I’m gluten intolerant, not a Coeliac, so I can’t comment on whether these oats are suitable for anyone else. If you’re unsure, it’s probably best to substitute the 1/3 cup oats with some toasted quinoa flakes, or even some ground almonds or chia seeds. You’re the best judge of what works for you, and if you’re operating on dietary advice from an accredited dietician or physician, stick to what they’ve told you is safe.
Sprinkling cocoa nibs on top of these bars gives them a nice chocolatey crunch, but you could also use crushed nuts or some seeds. Whatever takes your fancy!
Baked Banana Bars with Cocoa Nibs (Dairy free)
makes approximately 15 bars
1.5 cups gluten free plain flour
1/3 cup + 2tbsp soft brown sugar
1/3 cup certified gluten free oats, coarsely ground (substitute quinoa flakes or ground almonds if you can’t get gluten free oats)
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup grapeseed oil (or other vegetable oil)
1/4 cup water or non-dairy milk
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 medium bananas, mashed
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2tbsp cocoa nibs
- Preheat oven to 160ºC. Grease and line a brownie or swiss-roll pan with baking paper.
- Combine flour, sugar, oats, baking powder, xanthan gum and spices in a mixing bowl and whisk well.
- In a separate bowl, beat eggs with the oil, water and mashed banana. Fold the dry mixture into the wet mixture and stir through the walnuts. [Note: The mix should be quite thick, and won’t resemble a pourable batter. If it’s really too thick to stir, you can add a tablespoon or two more of water to make it more manageable.]
- Spread batter into prepared tin, and smooth over the surface of the mix with a spatula. Scatter cocoa nibs generously over the top. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the mix comes out clean. Allow to stand in tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack and allowing to cool completely. Cut into bars, and store in an airtight container.
Note: Because the weather has been so hot where I live, I stored these bars in the fridge. However, if you live in a milder climate, they should keep well enough in the pantry. Keeping time: 2-3 days.