Monday, February 13, 2012

Flowers and Chocolate...Need I say more?

This is my attempt at a Happy Valentine's Day post...well, sort of. It's also my excuse to post this really yummy recipe for Chocolate Banana Bread, from Gluten-Free Girl.

Since I live with my sister, sometimes we decide to buy ourselves flowers, just because we want to. Well, this weekend, my sister was sick, and so I went to the grocery store to pick up a few needed items. I am under the assumption that the flowers at our grocery store must be re-stocked on Thursday or Friday, because there were some of the most beautiful flowers out. The roses, of course (due to Valentine's day) had doubled in price, but the cheerful tulips were faithfully the same price as always. So I bought these beautiful flowers, as a Get Well Soon/ Happy Valentine's day gift.

Nothing says "spring" to me quite like tulips. Last Sunday, it was perfect spring weather outside, and I set to work raking my leaves and cleaning my windows inside and out. Then this Sunday, it snowed...So maybe spring isn't quite here yet, but I like to at least sometimes pretend it is (and enjoy the tulips along the way!).

On another note: chocolate! I've never really been a huge fan of chocolate bread. Chocolate chip muffins and pancakes...I've never really seen what all the fuss is about.
But I've been curious lately.
Curious about grains. Although I still try to limit some of my grain intake (meaning I can't have corn tortillas twice a day every day!), I've been curious to try grains like amaranth and teff. Hopefully these grains will make their own feature posts soon. I've been reading Shauna Ahern's book, Gluten Free Girl, and in one of the chapters, she specifically talks about some of the grains that are naturally gluten free. Reading her recipe for chocolate banana bread intrigued me, as it contains teff. Teff is used quite a bit in Ethiopia (and other countries), and the Ethiopian bread, injera, is made with teff flour (like Indian roti is often made with wheat flour).

So, running across teff flour at a nearby grocery store, I decided to take a plunge. And I will definitely be coming back to teff again soon (next stop: homemade injera bread!). This bread was so moist, and even though I'm not a huge chocolate bread fan, I really liked this one. And while there is a slightly different recipe in her book, I made this one from this post on her website.
(I used a new whole grain flour mix for this recipe, too (makes a large batch):
175g. each - almond, teff, brown rice, and sorghum flours
150g. each - white rice flour and potato starch)

So this version is whole grain, gluten free, refined sugar free (and only 3/4 c. at that)--so it can't be that bad for you! :)

Chocolate Banana Bread - from Gluten Free Girl

1 c. gluten-free flour of choice
1 c. teff flour
3/4 c. sugar (I used coconut palm sugar)
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
6 T. high-quality, unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Hershey's)
2 t. cinnamon
3 overly ripe bananas (I used 2 large, and it worked fine), mashed
1/4 c. plain yogurt (or sour cream)
2 large eggs
6 T. melted butter
1 t. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350° degrees. Move the rack to a position in the lower half of the oven. This will prevent the crust of the bread from burning (I still covered the bread with aluminum foil when it had about 10 minutes left). Grease the pan you intend to use.

Stir together all the dry ingredients, making sure to tame the lumps of cocoa powder with a fork. Set aside.

With a standing mixer or hand mixer, beat the eggs lightly. Then, add the yogurt, mashed bananas, vanilla extract, and melted butter. When this assemblage is completely mixed, then gently add in the dry ingredients. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the dry ingredients until they are just mixed.

Scrape the dough into your pan. Pat down the top to make a flat surface. If you wish, toss a few pecans or walnut halves onto the top. Place into the oven and bake for about forty minutes, or until the knife you insert gently into the bread comes out again clean. Let the bread sit in the pan for five to ten minutes, then turn it over onto a wire rack. Serve warm, with cream cheese, if you wish.

That's it...Hope you enjoy, and have a great week!

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