maple sweetened dark chocolate + pecan banana bread


It is the one baked item I remember the most growing up, well besides the classic chocolate chip cookie (which I am in the mid stages of developing a twist on an old classic, hopefully coming here soon). It was my favourite thing to bake probably because I loved the raw batter, maybe even more than the end bread, I am kinda weird like that, honestly I feel the same way about chocolate chip batter and most matters to tell you the truth. Please tell me I am not alone?

Banana Bread is such a classic comfort, whether it is baked on a rainy day in the middle of fall or on a spring Sunday morning filled with light and sunshine there really is no wrong time to bake banana bread.

I have used the same recipe for years and years, I got it from my Mom, where she got it from I am not sure but I never remember it changing much. In recent years I have tweaked it here and there to take out refined sugars and add in some dark chocolate. My Mom actually never ever put chocolate in her banana bread but Paul's Mom did and when I would make it in the early days of us dating he never said much but one day I was making a loaf and he asked if I could but some chocolate in it. Of course I had seen and probably had banana bread with chocolate in it but it felt so unnatural for me because it was just not what my family did. Apparently my world was turned upside with the notion...


But Pauls love for chocolate is strong and his convictions even stronger so I thought why not give it a try and I added in some chocolate chips, pretty much I have not turned back since then. He converted me in one go to a chocolate banana bread lover. Now years ago it was chocolate chips that I would use but now I use a deep dark 75% or more pure chocolate that I chop up myself. It definitely gives the banana bread a different feeling than using regular chocolate chips, more of a sophistication, plus when you chop up the chocolate yourself the pieces are uneven, some are big, some are small and some are just chocolate dust and all of it combined melts and makes it way into almost all the crevices of the loaf. It truly makes a difference. 

The only other big changes from my Moms recipes is the addition of using part spelt flour instead of using only all-purpose. I love the flavour spelt flour gives baking, it comes with a little nuttiness and a lot more nutrients than all-purpose as it is high and protein, minerals and fiber. It can also be easier to digest because of its high water solubility. But it does still contain gluten so if you are gluten intolerant you will need to use a different flour. 


And my last change is the sugar used. If you follow me on my blog you will have read a few times {maple pear tarte tatin, date paste cinnamon buns, honey pumpkin pie} that I don't like to use white or brown sugars in my cooking or baking. I pretty much only use maple syrup, dates, honey and occasionally organic powered sugar (very occasionally). I will also use coconut sugar sometimes but that is rare too. I actually love the flavour of the naturals sugars in baking, I can really taste a white or brown sugar now as things baked them with are a LOT sweeter in my opinion and even a little grainy. 

For the ratios of a natural sweetener to work because honey and maple syrup are both liquids you are using less than you would use of a white or brown sugar. Baking is all about the balance of the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Some recipes take a lot more time to figure out than others, some work and some don't work and some just take trial after trial to get it just right. Maple syrup and honey are also sweeter than a white or brown so you need to use less naturally anyway but somehow it still equates to less sweet baking even with them being sweeter. 

My taste buds have definitely changed since switching out my sweeteners, and like I said I can really taste when something has been made with a white or brown sugar. But if you are just starting out switching your sweeteners don't be alarmed if you think your baking could use more, eventually you will come to the point where it tastes much better and maybe like me you will really be able to taste an artificial sweetener but until then you can always add a little something on afterwards. 

A piece of banana bread with a dollop of butter and a touch of honey never did anyone any wrong. 


maple sweetened dark chocolate + pecan banana bread


1/2 cup melted butter

1 cup maple syrup

1 egg

3-4 ripe bananas

1 tsp vanilla

3 tbsp of almond milk (or regular milk)

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup spelt flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

100 grams chocolate

1/2 pecans (or you can use walnuts)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the inside of a loaf pan and set aside.

Melt the butter on the stove on low heat, you don't want it to brown or start to bubble. In a large mixing bowl whisk the butter, maple syrup and bananas together. Add in the egg, whisk until combined and add in the vanilla and almond milk lightly mixing again.

Roughly chop the dark chocolate bar and walnuts, leaving both with some smaller and larger pieces.

In a small bowl combine the flours, baking soda and salt. Stir to combine and then add the dry ingredients to the wet only stirring until just moistened. Fold in the chocolate and pecans (saving about 2 tbsp of each for the top).

Scoop the banana bread mixture into the loaf pan and sprinkle evenly with the remaining chocolate and pecans. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Let the loaf cool in the pan for at least 5-10 minutes and then turn out onto a cooling rack.

Best served slightly warm with a dollop of butter.