I am not sure when I switched from being a baker, to falling in love with savory foods. When I was little and began my love affair with the culinary world, I was obsessed with baking. Pastries, breads, cakes, brownies. I loved to make them all. It could be that even though I acted like a thirty year old most of my life, they were still sweets, and I was an 8 year old.
I started dabbling with easy things when I was 8-9 years old. Before we moved to the house my parents are still currently at, we lived in a large two story home. At the time, it seemed like we were living in a mansion. You walked in, and it was like you were transported back in time. Broccoli colored carpeting trailed all throughout the expansive living room, which was surrounded in ancient, drafty windows. Pushing open the antique french doors led you out onto an unfinished slab patio where I would sit and read, staring out into the woods that covered the property.
Shuffling into the dining room you would find an ancient, but charming chandelier that always made me feel like royalty. Rows of floor to ceiling windows stretched against the backdrop of the old, wood dining table. It was the hallway in between the dining area and the kitchen that I would hang out on the phone with my best friend at the time. Dishing all the latest third grade gossip of course.
The rest of the house contained a first floor office area (where my brother and I once lost a garter snake), and the semi-winding staircase that led up to the four large bedrooms and second bathroom. If I wasn’t in the kitchen, or the porch, I was in my room. Adorned with door beads (tiny disco balls thank-you-very-much), a bean bag chair, posters of the Doors, the Beatles, and Leonardo DiCaprio (I had range). I spent many a days spinning in that room to either the Spice Girls, the Doors, or Fleetwood Mac.
When I wasn’t touring music of the 70’s, I was in our claustrophobic kitchen. Tucked in the back of the house, I always wondered if it was actually meant to be a family kitchen. Barely enough counter space to place a carton of eggs, it was almost like a studio. I always though whoever built this house wasn’t cooking for themselves.
But in that tiny, dark kitchen, I learned how to make an egg, help with mixing pancakes, and my first baking project: cookie dough. Yes, it was from a tube, but I cannot tell you the immense satisfaction I received sitting in front of the oven window watching them rise, then fall and turn golden brown. The obsession began quickly after that.
My first from scratch project was shortly after we moved to our forever home. I was 10, and like most things (even to this day), I was quite ambitious. So I tackled cinnamon rolls. Then sugar cookies. Then cream puffs (the ever legendary WI State Fair treat). I loved it. So did everyone else.
I would scurry to the kitchen any chance I could get. This went on for years, to everyone’s delight. My aunt even gifted me two gigantic bins of baking supplies. An assortment of cookie cutters, pastry bags and tips, cake pans, cans of frosting. You name it, I had it. For a time there, I thought I wanted to be a pastry chef when I grew up. Nothing made me happier than baking a tray full of warm cookies, or sliding a warm pan of coffee cake from the oven. I knew how much work went into those treats, and I loved how much it brought everyone together.
Until I entered the savory world (a few years later), I was perfectly snug in the world of sugar (which is ironic now as I am not a big fan). One of my absolute comforts was baking banana bread. It was something my dad and I loved to make. I would carefully watch to see if we were going to eat up all of the bananas during the week, and the minute they turned to a dark yellow/light brown I would yell to my dad “banana bread time!”.
There is something so satisfying about a slice of banana bread. Moist, sugary but not cloyingly sweet. Dense but at the same time, light. Perfect with a smear of butter, or just by itself with a cup of coffee (or at that time milk). The kind of dessert that sticks to the roof of your mouth, and you wouldn’t have it any other way. My banana bread is no different, just a little healthier, and filled with lots of extras.
I started making this specific banana bread back in 2011. It was the year Jake and I moved out together. One of the reasons I made this sweet treat almost twice a week (other than it being delicious), was because we did a majority of our grocery shopping at a place called Woodman’s. An amazing grocery store that was known for its discounts and higher quality products (and an amazing allergen and organic section). They used to discount their browning bananas to two dollars for a large brown paper bag full.
So I knew the minute I saw those bags I was making banana bread. This recipe is so old, I tweaked it a little, but it didn’t need much work. I used to use flax “eggs” to make it vegan, which you can totally do, but it isn’t necessary. The pomegranate seeds give the bread little pearls of juicy bits that give the loaf an interesting bite. Like nuts almost. The dark chocolate chunks play off of the seeds, creating that rich, stick to the roof of your mouth texture. It is gluten-free, but it doesn’t taste gluten-free. The combination of the almond flour and coconut flour create the same grain like consistency you expect in a banana bread.
Low in sugar, high in good for you carbs, this bread is quite addictive. I suggest waiting until it cools down completely before devouring, but if you take a fork to it right out of the oven, I won’t tell.
Dark Chocolate Chunk Pomegranate Banana Bread (GF)
Author: Allie Brendel
Rich, decadent, moist banana bread with pockets of melty dark chocolate and tiny, juicy, pomegranante seeds.
Makes: 8 servings
- 4 overripe bananas
- 1 tablespoon of water
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1.5 cups almond flour
- 1/3 cup of coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil melted
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1.5 cups dark chocolate chunks (Enjoy Life is my favorite allergen free chips)
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
- Optional: Pecans for top of loaf
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan. Set aside.
- Mash bananas and 1 tablespoon of water together until smooth and liquid.
- Mix eggs, coconut oil, and sugar into the banana until well combined.
- Mix the baking powder, coconut flour, and spices into the mixture.
- Fold in the almond flour until combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks, and pomegranate seeds.
- Fill the loaf pan, and top with additional 1/2 cup of chocolate chunks. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the middle is set and sides are brown. Ovens will vary so begin checking after 30 minutes!