Here’s a fun tidbit: February is National Chocolate Lovers’ Month.
There are so many days and months out of the year declared food holidays – but I’m not complaining, I kind of like celebrating the randomness.
The other day, I decided to start checking out the food holidays of February. Besides the entire month being declared a chocolate lovers’ celebration, we also just passed National Carrot Cake Day and National Homemade Soup Day last weekend. And then there’s National Fettuccine Alfredo Day on the 7th, National Drink Wine Day on the 18th, and National Chocolate Mint Day on the 19th…. and those are just the holidays that I can really get behind, I’m leaving out the ones that didn’t appeal to me!
Chocolate is certainly worth celebrating, don’t you agree? Someone asked me the other day if I eat chocolate “since it has milk in it” (even though I do eat dairy here & there)…. and they were surprised when I filled them in that chocolate itself is dairy free until it’s mixed with milk fat, as is the case with all milk chocolates and even in dark chocolates from a lot of the big manufacturers (I’m looking at you, Hershey’s!). Chocolate comes from cacao trees, & after they’re picked, the beans are fermented, dried, roasted, turned into nibs, liquified, and then mixed with ingredients like sugar and cocoa butter. Check out YouTube videos of how chocolate is made, it’s interesting!
But enough of the nerdy foodie stuff that I love so much… onto today’s recipe in celebration of it being National Chocolate Lovers’ Month!
Oh, and did I mention that February 23rd is National Banana Bread Day? So I suppose we’re knocking out 2 food holidays of the month with this recipe.
I absolutely love banana bread, and with this recipe I put a chocolatey twist on the classic banana bread by adding in cocoa powder and chocolate chunks. I like to make my banana bread with a good 4 ripe bananas so that it’s nice and moist, and the addition of almond butter in the recipe made the bread even more can’t-stop-eating-it good.
This banana bread is a bit healthier than your traditional banana bread. Don’t get me wrong – it’s still a treat, but it includes a few of my favorite swaps, including calling for whole wheat flour instead of regular ole white, subbing in Vitamin E and magnesium-rich almond butter instead of vegetable oil or butter, and using less sugar than typical banana breads. It still uses sugar, just not 1 1/2 cups of it as I see with a lot of banana bread recipes! I also used flaxseed eggs in the bread to keep the recipe vegan.
In this recipe I use Enjoy Life Foods chocolate chunks. All of their products are free from the 14 most common food allergies, including wheat, dairy and soy. This post is not sponsored, I just love the brand. I’m always using their mini chocolate chips as well, and love how their products keep the ingredient lists simple and pure.
This banana bread is a wonderful treat to whip up for your loved ones this Valentine’s Day – but let’s be real, I could go for banana bread any day of the year!
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 4 ripe bananas, mashed
- ½ cup almond butter
- ½ cup (dairy free) chocolate chunks, chopped
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 TBSP ground flaxseed meal
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- ¼ cup cane sugar
- 1 TSP vanilla extract
- ½ TSP salt
- ½ TSP baking powder
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a loaf pan with cooking spray.
- Combine the ground flaxseed and water in a small bowl. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the mashed banana, almond butter, vanilla, brown sugar and cane sugar. Whisk in the flaxseed mixture.
- Add in the whole wheat flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder. Stir with a wooden spoon just until combined. Mix in the chopped chocolate chunks.
- Pour the batter into the loaf pan, and bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the center of the bread clean.
- Allow to slightly cool before cutting into 8-12 slices.
Looking for other healthy V-Day recipe inspiration? Check out the chocolate cashew truffle recipe that I just created for Shape!
Tell me… Do you ever celebrate food holidays? Are you doing anything special for Valentine’s Day?
My hubby and I usually just have a nice night at home together & I’ll make a fancy dinner, but this year we have plans to go to a 3-course V-Day dinner at one of my favorite vegan spots. Looking forward to it!