So, as I write this, I am 25 weeks pregnant. For the first 3 months or so of my pregnancy, I couldn’t seem to eat anything too rich, too sweet, or at all cake-like. I remember one time when my husband brought home brownies and said, “You have to try these, they’re incredible!” I took one bite, and my mouth was filled with the taste and texture of soil. It was like I had eaten a handful of dirt. It was so bad that I had to spit it in the trashcan and wash it down with water before I threw up. He watched the whole thing, then said, “Oh my god. You’re broken.” Haha.
Now, at about 6 months along, all I seem to want is baked goods. I’ve been baking so much lately, it’s embarrassing! I’ll wake up each day and say, “Today, I am not going to bake anything,” then before I know it, my pregnant monster of an alter ego takes over, and BAM! Cookies. Or cake. Or banana bread. Mmm… banana bread.
I used to make a lot of banana bread before going gluten free. It’s a great way to use up overripe bananas, and you can make it as healthy or as trashy as you’d like. I had my healthy recipe that had just a teeny bit of honey to add to the sweetness of the bananas, and my sinful, more cake-like recipe that I made when I wanted to impress guests, or, well, abuse myself in the most delicious way.
This weekend I was craving banana bread, and decided to experiment with a gluten free version. I wanted something that was maybe somewhere between healthy and sinful. I found a fairly healthy, simple recipe from Pamela’s, and tweaked it. I doubled it, ’cause I don’t like to do all that work for one measly loaf! I added a touch of cinnamon, just to add a depth of flavor, without making it a “cinnamon” dessert. Then I added cream cheese. The addition of cream cheese is definitely a “bad girl” move. And the chocolate chips? I never said I was a role model.
Some things when made gluten free, no matter how good they are, taste like they are gluten free. Cake (save for a few good chocolate versions) is almost always that way. Don’t get me wrong, I can make an amazing cake, but it still never tastes like the “real thing.” I had assumed that banana bread would be the same way. I’m happy to report that I was wrong! This recipe turned out incredibly moist, rich, and oh so very satisfying. My husband who had been eating all sorts of glutenous foods all week while he was out of town, came back and said that he would never in a million years have guessed it was gluten free. I would have to concur.
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (Gluten Free)
Makes 2 loaves (based on the Pamela’s recipe. If you can’t have dairy, you may want to try her recipe.)
1 stick of butter (8 Tb)
1 cup honey
8 0z cream cheese, softened
2 cups mashed banana
3-1/2 cups Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix (or your favorite self-rising gf baking mix)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
1. Beat together honey and butter on high speed until fully incorporated and light in color.
2. Add eggs and cream cheese, and beat again until smooth. (I used the beater attachment on my stand mixer.)
3. If using a stand mixer, switch to paddle attachment. Add bananas and flour mix, and mix on medium speed for at least 2-3 minutes. Mix in the vanilla, cinnamon, and salt before stopping.
4. Add chocolate chips and pecans (or other mix-in of your choice), and mix briefly on low until distributed throughout.
5. Pour into two loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 1 hour, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from pan.
TIP: I line my loaf pans with parchment paper for easy clean up.
As always, let me know if you make this!