For those of you who know me, you are aware that I have two major loves in my life (three if you count sarcasm. Four if you count Trevor): great food and great music. One nourishes my body; the other my soul (I’ll give you a minute to groan over my use of bad clichés).
I often combine my two loves in the kitchen by filling the air with the delicious smell of warm baked goods or rich savoury dishes and the awesome sound waves from my favourite songs. So I’ve decided to pair some of my recipes with some of my favourite songs here for you. After all, the third best place to sing your heart out is the kitchen (the first two obviously being the shower and your car).
Today I am pairing a song that makes me so darn happy with a baked treat that makes me so darn happy: Gooey Almond Butter “Blondies”! These started out as a banana bread type bar and ended up someplace even better!!
For those who know me, you know how much I love banana bread (showcased by the 3 different recipes on this blog!!) The warm fuzzy feeling I get from banana bread stems from memories of my mom’s kitchen (hell, the whole house!) filled with the intoxicatingly delicious scent of her banana bread baking away. For me, the anticipation of the butter-filled, sugar packed treat to come was almost too much to bear (patience has never been a virtue of mine). But it was always worth the wait. So in the name of cherished childhood memories I created my own cleaned up version (fit for my 30-something-year-old metabolism) that was fit for dessert, breakfast or, let’s face it, a combo of the two (cause who doesn’t like dessert for breakfast? No one).
Bananas are one of my all-time favourite snacks. On top of being perfect to take on the go (thanks to its snazzy yellow jacket that keeps it safe in my purse), they are high in antioxidants that provide protection from chronic disease like cancer and heart disease. They also act as a prebiotic, stimulating the growth of friendly bacteria in the bowel and promoting good digestion (bye bye bloated belly). Plus, they actually help overcome depression due to high levels of tryptophan which converts into serotonin – the happy-mood brain neurotransmitter. So you see banana bread will literally make you happier! Huzzah!
And as promised, the perfect happy music to jam to as you make your banana bread is this toe tappingly awesome song by Canadian band Lauren Mann and the Fairly Odd Folk (click to listen).
The Natural Blonde
p.s. if you hear a knock on the door it’s your neighbours come to either ask for a piece of your banana bread OR complain about your singing. However, giving them a piece of fresh banana bread will often quell any complaints about your singing, so there’s no losing here.
Gooey Almond Butter “Blondies”
- 2 large, ripe bananas, mashed
- ½ cup all-natural almond butter (you can use tahini if you have a nut allergy)
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
- ⅓ cup coconut flour
- 1½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- ¼ cup Lily’s vegan stevia chocolate chips (or 70% cocoa if you don’t have these, but if you need gluten-free make sure to check the package)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
Start by placing your dry ingredients in a large bowl and combining. Then in another bowl, mash your banana with a fork, then add the rest of your wet ingredients and mix them together.
Next, add your wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine (I use an electric hand mixer to do this). Once batter is smooth, fold in the chocolate chips and spread the mixture it into the prepared pan.
Bake for 24 to 28 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer the banana bread to a cooling rack (or just set them on your counter!) and let them cool completely before slicing.
These can be stored for a week or so either in the fridge or on your counter (if you can resist the temptation they present from there).