Caramelized Banana Coconut Chocolate Bread

You read that right – banana’s, coconuts, AND chocolate! When I see a recipe that combines all of the two Caroline’s very most favorite flavors I pretty much drop everything, turn on the oven and make that dessert with a quickness.  My sister 1.0 discovered this one and seriously, it did not disappoint.  I healthed it up slightly by adding some flax and wheat bran, but you can link to the original if you’d like.  I thought the few changes I made turned out incredible, it had such complexity of flavor with the unique caramelized bananas and the earthy sweetness that’s natural in whole grains like wheat bran and whole wheat flour then theres this melty chocolate and coconut giving you awesome texture and such a great flavor combo.  Yes, caramelizing the bananas is an extra step from regular old banana bread, but trust me, all that dark gooey goodness makes for an incredible loaf of sweet bread.

4 over-ripe bananas 2 tablespoons honey
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup whole wheat flour (I used the trader joes “white whole wheat” and it was fantastic)
1/4 cup wheat bran (or wheat germ)
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup coconut milk (I used the almond coconut milk combo because that’s what I had around and it worked great)
2 tablespoons greek yogurt (or sour cream)
1/2 cup coconut oil (you could sub with any vegetable oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4-5 ounces chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
1/2 cup sweetned flake coconut (toast if you would like by putting in your hot oven for about 4-5 minutes until lightly brown)
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes for the top

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (you could also use a silpat but parchment is handy for getting all the delicious bits into your bread dough).  Peel the bananas and lay them flat on the baking sheet.   Drizzle each with honey and then sprinkle with cinnamon.  Roast them for 20-25 minutes or until the tops of the bananas are very golden brown and caramelized.  Remove from the oven and let cool 5-10 minutes.  Once cool enough to handle, mash the bananas and set aside.  Reduce oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a 9×5 loaf pan thoroughly with nonstick spray. In a small bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, wheat bran, flax, all-purpose flour, baking soda and salt, whisking thoroughly. Set aside.

  3. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and brown sugar until smooth. Add in coconut milk, yogurt (or sour cream) and coconut oil, whisking until combined. Stir in mashed bananas and vanilla until mixed. Slowly stir in dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the chopped chocolate and toasted coconut. Pour batter into the greased loaf pan and sprinkle with the remaining unsweetened coconut flakes.

  4. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until center is set. If the top begins to brown (mine did after about 45 minutes), you may want to tent the bread with aluminum foil.

  5. Remove and let cool a solid 20 minutes before cutting, if you can handle it, the smell is incredible and the taste will rock your world!  Keeps for 3-5 days covered.

Recipe adapted from Half Baked Harvest Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chunk Roasted Banana Bread

Dark Chocolate Chunky Cookies

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dark chocolate chunky cookies by twocarolines.com

Like any rational human, I sometimes have a deep and urgent desire for something intensely chocolate.  At these times, a chocolate chip cookie is not going to cut it, not even a cake, I need a lightning bolt of chocolate flavor, and these cookies are the PERFECT remedy for intense chocolate emergencies of all kinds.  They are not only a super amazing chocolate experience, but they are the perfect texture, packed with chunky bits of nuts and chocolatey goodness.  I found the recipe years ago at my Mother-In-Law’s house, they had a very unappealing name in the book (chocolate chubbies) but I read the ingredients – which included a combined total of 24 ounces of chocolate! Plus, the intro bragged of the recipe being from a famous restaurant in SoHo so I copied it to make once I got home.  It took me forever to do it because there is some serious chocolate chopping involved, and the recipe has a few more steps than your average cookie, but don’t be intimidated, it’s easy to follow and so special when you’re done.  This makes 2 dozen cookies – next time I will half it, because having that many of these dark chocolate chunky cookies around is guaranteed to spell trouble, they are irresistible!

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes
9 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate finely chopped
1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 large eggs (room temperature if possible)
1 1/4 cups sugar (they called for superfine, but normal sugar worked fine for me)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups (5 1/2 ounces) coarsely chopped pecans
1 1/4 cups (4 1/2 ounces) coarsely chopped walnuts

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper (or silpat, or baking spray if you have neither of those)
  2. Melt the butter and chopped chocolate (semi-sweet and unsweetened) either in a double boiler or with my preferred method of melting them slowly in a microwave, either using defrost, or in 20-30 second intervals until the chocolate chunks start to lose their shape and you can whisk them to a smooth texture – melt SLOWLY or your chocolate will burn.  Let the melted chocolate mixture cool slightly, about 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
  3. Mix (or sift if your fancy) the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl.  Whip the eggs in the bowl of a heavy duty stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium-high speed until the eggs are foamy and lightly thickened, about 30 seconds.  Increase speed to high and gradually add the sugar, then the vanilla.  Whip until the eggs are very thick and pale yellow, about 3 minutes.  Reduce the mixer speed to medium and beat in the tepid chocolate, making sure it is completely incorporated.  Change to the paddle attachment and reduce the mixer speed to low.  Gradually add the flour mixture. Remove the bowl from the mixer.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in the chocolate chips, pecans and walnuts making sure the chunky ingredients are evenly distributed at the bottom of the bowl.
  4. Using a 2-inch diameter ice cream scoop, portion the batter onto the prepared pans, placing the cookies about 1 1/2 inches apart.  Bake the cookies immediately–if you wait, they won’t be shiny after baking.  Bake about 15-18 minutes.  You can check done-ness by seeing if the when you lift a cookie from the pan the edge release easily, if they do, they’re done, even if they still don’t look baked at the top.  Cool and enjoy!
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dark chocolate chunky cookies by twocarolines.com

I wish I could remember the book I copied these out of to give them credit, if this looks familiar and you know where they came from let me know!