I’m a creature of habit. I’m that person who orders the same thing at restaurants. I jog the same route in my neighborhood, shop at the same stores and buy the same products each week. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.
If it isn’t broken, why fix it, right?!
Well, changing our lifestyle to be more healthy has definitely thrown a kink into this idea! I’ve started venturing out of my little box and trying healthier dishes when we dine out and I’ve also had to find alternatives for many of our previous household staples. I now buy coconut oil instead of vegetable oil and coconut sugar and maple syrup instead of white sugar. I’ve had to get really creative with baking grain and gluten free, especially since I don’t have the universal all-purpose flour anymore. Baking with alternative flours is so much more complex than baking with regular flour. Without gluten, (a substance found in certain grains, including wheat, which gives it elasticity) these alternative flours sometimes require special binding ingredients and are still not able to produce the same texture that wheat flour achieves. Baking is a science, and unfortunately for me, I wasn’t the best science student! I really have to do lots of research and recipe testing and tweaking until I get it right.
I decided I wanted to try and tackle my first paleo bread! We’re not strictly paleo, but we try and limit our grain intake when possible. I started reading the book “Grain Brain,” and although I don’t agree with everything the author believes, I do see benefits in limiting our consumption of breads, pastas, rice, etc. I enjoy eating grains and starches, but I can definitely tell a difference in the way that I feel if I eat too much of those types of foods. So, I’m more in the “all things in moderation” camp.
I found a grain-free all-purpose flour combination that I’m happy with, for the moment. It is a combination of almond, tapioca, and coconut flours. The tapioca flour gave the bread the density I enjoy and the banana and zucchini made it moist and delicious. Will this taste just like a bread made with regular all-purpose flour? No. It does have a different taste and texture, but for those of you who must or choose to eat grain and gluten free, it is a tasty alternative.
I added chocolate to enhance the sweetness in this mildly sweet bread. You can use the cacao nibs if you want the chocolate flavor without the extra sugar.
I like to line the bread pan with parchment paper. It’s much cleaner and non-stick; no little bits left inside the pan.
The chocolate drizzle makes for a yummy presentation, but it’s totally optional.
I always opt for more chocolate though…
Just sayin’. 😉
- 1 cup superfine almond flour or almond meal
- ⅔ cup tapioca flour
- ⅓ cup coconut flour
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- pinch of salt
- 3 mashed bananas
- 1 cup shredded zucchini
- ⅓ cup unsweetened almond milk
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup melted coconut oil
- ¼ – ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- or raw cacao nibs
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
- Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients: all flours, flax meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix in bananas, zucchini, milk, maple syrup, and eggs until incorporated. Stir in the coconut oil (I like to stir the coconut oil in by itself so it doesn’t re-solidify.) Then you can mix in the chocolate chips.
- Pour the batter into a greased or parchment paper lined loaf pan. Bake at 350 F for 55 to 60 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
- Let cool 10-15 minutes before removing from the pan. Meanwhile you can begin to prepare the glaze. In a small bowl combine the maple syrup and cocoa powder, mixing until combined. Drizzle over the loaf before serving. Yields: 1 loaf.