I know, I know, it’s like I couldn’t make up my mind about what on earth this is. It’s a loaf and works as a bar, so… yep. That’s as big as my brain can go at the moment! With lesson prep for school, a new kitty to integrate (see below!!), and general life to organize, it’s difficult to stay afloat sometimes without a little help. Chocolate helps. Bananas help. Onward ho for munchies!What a week, and it’s basically done! Giving a few classes here and there is very strange since I spend ages freaking out over it, planning obsessively, imagining all sorts of horrors, and then having it all done in less than an hour when it comes down to it. This is of course interspersed with expert procrastination, involving lots of series and Pinterest, so my brain is pegged up in tatters like laundry in the wind! That being the case, I needed something super easy but comforting and indulgent to get me to the end of the week with zero melodrama. This loaf bar effort really is the work of a few minutes!I actually have loads more to do than what I’m currently freaking out over, including the upcoming History segment of my teaching practicals where I get to take over an entire class until exams (yay?). I had planned to prepare lessons well ahead of time but instead am daydreaming about all the amazing YouTube clips I can show the kiddos about the French Revolution to really get them into the spirit of things. Except, how much spirit is actually allowed when they need to write a summative assessment on my teachings? Not much, methinks. Still, I’m angling for this 😀Anyhow, my immediate boss lady is off for the week on a field trip so I decided to make some treats to take into work and share with my work pal, and this is what emerged from the oven. SO soft and delicious, not overly sweet but still something to spoil yourself with 😀
LAYERED CHOC BANANA LOAF BARS
Ingredients (serves 8 – 10)
banana bread layer:
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 2 bananas
- 2 tsp vanilla
- pinch salt
- 2 TBSP sweetener
- 1/2 cup dates, soaked (keep the water! You can add more dates depending on your tastes)
- 1 cup cannelini beans
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 of banana bread mix
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 2 TBSP date soaking water
- 1 banana, sliced
- 1/4 cup almonds, measured then crushed
- Cinnamon and/or cocoa to sprinkle
- Preheat the oven to 180C and line a loaf pan.
- Blend the bananas and dates together until relatively smooth, then add the rest of the banana bread layer ingredients and blend til smooth.
- Scoop half of the dough into the loaf pan and even it out with the back of a wet spoon.
- Blend the added choc layer together with the remaining banana bread ingredients until smooth.
- Spread the choc layer on top of the other one in the loaf pan and mix in the almonds gently.
- Slice and distribute your banana slices and crushed almonds as desired and sprinkle cinnamon on top.
- Bake for 30 minutes, then pour 1/8 cup of the date soaking water (mixed with optional 1 – 2 tsp coffee) on top, and especially around the cracks caused by the banana slices.
- Let it cool completely before slicing and serving.
- Store in either the freezer or fridge.
Yum yum! Seriously, I could kick back and munch on this for every meal of the day! It’s not ridiculously sweet but the dates really do shine through after a day or so in the fridge, and it becomes overall super fudgy and delicious. You know by now I love me some fudgy business!If you have patience you can always stick it under the grill for a few minutes towards the end to get a more caramelized banana slice top, but I quite like the pop of a baked banana slice as I sink my teeth into the chocolate layer. The beans really are amazing for density and to make each slice filling and nutritious!
If you like you can always make some date syrup flavoured with either coffee, liquor or whatever else captures your fancy. I took these to work so I didn’t want to make them too heavy or sweet, with the end result being that I find myself quite often in the kitchen staring at the bars and my watch, waiting for teatime or lunch to kick in so I can feast! When stuff like this is in the house or at work, I find that this notion of “intuitive eating” takes a backseat to “WANT”, which is perfectly fine when the ingredients are pretty much as natural as you can get!Oh, and in happy news, in case you haven’t seen on Instagram, we got another cat! Or rather, Man-thing surprised me last week with Atlas, after I had been mooning over him. We met at the shelter during one of my shifts and he totally blew me away with his love and cuddles, but the idea was to wait a while before getting another kitty. I did, however, make Man-thing come inside the back cages and pet him, so I guess he fell in love as well! I don’t usually approve of surprise animals, but since we foster, have a dozen cat beds, blankets, bowls and toys, and are therefore pretty much cat-crazy, it’s a truly magical experience to come home to this amazing creature! He and his sister were trapped and set to be euthanized for some awful reason until our shelter manager put a stop to it, and it’s clear from his personality and habits that he was once someone’s cat, which makes it all the more heartbreaking. Anyway, I came home and went into the “War Room”, or Man-thing’s play/work area, and saw cat bowls and paraphernalia lying around – I thought he’d brought in the foster cat, but when I crouched under the table this gorgeous beauty was snuggled on Man-thing’s lap, looking very content. <3! He’s super sweet and has the fattest cheeks ever, and is also pretty huge – our other two are runts and Atlas barely fits on my lap – the perfect winter cat! xxAlas, Atlas and the other kitties are not best friends by far, and there’s been some expected hissing and what not, but no fights luckily. We decided to put them all on mild cat calming pills for a week or so just to take the edge off, since Freyja went on a hunger strike and didn’t groom herself for a few days. Gatsby is being a super champ, and although he lets out a hiss now and again if cornered, he’s the least fussed of the lot. It’s a long weekend ahead so I’m so happy to get to spend it with my awesome family of cats and Man-creatures! ❤ Happy Friday!