Chocolate and rosemary are really wonderful partners, and very healthy too. Why not add them to your next banana bread making session? And pour it all into a skillet while you are at it. A great breakfast or healthy snack for the whole family. Naturally gluten-free too.
Do you – like me – often have a bowl of over-ripe speckled bananas hanging around, mocking your efforts to get your five-plus fruit and veg a day?
Nature’s second most perfectly-packaged food (after eggs, of course) is a must for any fruit bowl, helping to ripen other fruits and just generally being happy to play second fiddle to more seasonal fruits. But does it get the love it deserves, having come all the way from Honduras and very likely to be extinct in our lifetime? Certainly not in my house.
Yes, I buy them. I even eat them occasionally, especially before going to the gym. But I really don’t like them that much. I don’t hate them, but there are fruits* I would much rather spend calories on. Cherries, peaches (only perfect ones), pineapple, to name a few.
But bananas have their uses other than just peeling and eating on the spot, or bunging in a gym bag. Deeply blackened bananas destined for the compost heap are, by the on-the-ball cook, re-purposed into a breakfast bread or healthy snack without much effort or skill (yay!). If they aren’t stashed in the freezer for adding to a smoothie that is.
I rarely make plain banana bread, although occasionally I will make my late mother’s old recipe, written in her flawless, elegant handwriting on a precious, now-yellowed index card (with oil splashes).
You might have seen my recent-ish, fancy way with banana bread – this Blueberry and Cardamom Banana Cake (as a bundt cake, with lurid, naturally purple icing). Or, going back much further, my Marbled Peanut Butter and Jam Banana Bread. This current one however, with shards of rich dark chocolate and minced garden-fresh rosemary, is my go-to banana cake. Or bread. I get confused on the nomenclature.
I’ve recently converted some of my favourite, trusty cakes to be naturally gluten-free. Not because I need to but because I really think that changing out the flours is a great way of getting in a wider array of nutrients – or really, in the case of polenta, interesting texture and subtle taste.
I won’t claim polenta has any real impact nutritionally, but for those needing to keep things gluten-free, polenta is a great, natural alternative to wheat flour as well as the sometimes ingredient-heavy gf flour mixes out there – although I do use the latter occasionally when a lighter cake is desired. Ground almonds, ground dried corn (polenta), and coconut flour (not coconut powder: here’s the difference if you need to know) are my most-used wheat flour subs. But I’m getting to grips with buckwheat, teff, quinoa, green pea and, of course, chickpea flour. Because of the lack of gluten, ground pulses, peas and seeds aren’t completely interchangeable with wheat, but it’s fun experimenting with their unique properties. And sometimes it’s even edible!
This is more than edible.
* Fun fact: bananas are both a fruit and a herb. Who knew?
Chocolate and Rosemary Banana Bread
Call me crazy, but I really think rosemary goes a treat with the sweetness of very ripe bananas and the richness of chocolate. If you can’t go there – but at least promise me you will think about it – why not try some grated fresh ginger, especially seeing as they are actually related (!). If you like, make this up for a loaf tin, baking for about 15 minutes longer than stated – 50 minutes should do. xx
**Adapted from a recipe in the new Living Well With Cancer Cookbook, by food writer Fran Warde and Maggie’s London nutritionist Catherine Zabilowicz. A really informative and delicious book, with all royalties going to support the vital support work of the Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres, where I work.**
150-200g dates – my preference is the less sugary Deglet Nour dates, but Medjool are easier to find; I use 150g
2 medium ripe bananas or 3 small ones
3 medium eggs or 3 chia/flax eggs
50g butter, melted
50g coconut oil, melted (or you can use all coconut oil if you don’t mind the somewhat tropical taste)
150g fine polenta
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary (plus a little for the top if liked)
50g best dark chocolate, chopped (plus a little extra to scatter on top if liked)
1. Pop the pitted dates into a bowl and just cover with boiling water. Leave to soak for at least an hour. You will shortly pour the sweetened water in the cake, so don’t go too wild with your measurement.
2. Preheat your oven to 160C fan/180C/350F. Slick a cast-iron skillet with some of the butter or coconut oil OR butter and line a 500g/2 lb loaf tin.
3. Place the dates and their soaking water, along with the bananas, eggs and the fats into a food processor or blender (I use my Froothie Optimum 9400 for the smoothest result in blitzing those dates).
4. Dry whisk the polenta, baking powder and rosemary. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients, mixing well but not vigorously. Stir in the chopped chocolate and pour into the prepared skillet or tin. Scatter over any extra rosemary and chocolate. 5. Bake in the oven for about 30-35 minutes if using the skillet, or until it is starting to pull away from the sides and is getting quite golden. It may take a bit longer, depending on the sugar content of the bananas. If using a loaf tin, the time will be closer to 50 minutes.
6. Remove the bread/cake from the oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes before either cutting straight from the skillet or turning out to cool completely on a wire rack. It does taste great warm, with the chocolate all oozy and gooey! This cake stores very well if wrapped in foil or a cake tin. Eat within five days, or freeze in individual slices.
Disclosure: I am an ambassador for Froothie, and some links on this page are affiliate links. Any purchases through these links pays me a small amount (and doesn’t cost you anything extra) that helps me run food to glow. However, as always, all product reviews and recommendations are based on my honest opinion and personal use. If you’d like to know more about Froothie health products, or this machine in particular, please visit the Froothie website for more details.
** If you are reading this from the website Easy Low Cal Recipes, this is published without my permission – as are all other posts of mine on this site. **
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47 thoughts on “Chocolate and Rosemary Banana Bread (a naturally gluten-free recipe)”
This looks amazing!
The rosemary is an interesting ingredient with banana bread! I’m eager to try this recipe out! Your pictures are beautiful btw.
My sort of cake . I must try this with the over ripe bananas lurking in the fruit bowl!
An interesting flavour combination x
Chocolate and rosemary! A curious flavor combination at least for me, but this looks scrumptious!
oh cool never heard of that combo before!
What a great recipe. I didn’t know you could use polenta instead of flour. I will definitely try your recipe. Thank you 🙂
Finely milled polenta is wonderful for cakes and breads. I have quite a few polenta cakes on my Index if this intrigues you.
It actually does intrigue me thank you. I am always looking for gluten free bread and cake recipes to cook for the celiac sufferers in our family. Can’t wait to explore your recipes 🙂
That’s lovely to read. Thank you. Have a great weekend. 🙂
You’ve inspired me to experiment more with rosemary. I can’t wait to start with your recipe.
Thanks Ellie. I hope that you do. It grows like weeds around here so I use it quite a lot. It has quite a few interesting medicinal properties too. 🙂
Brilliant pairing of chocolate and rosemary!!!
Ummmm, interesting combination, I will make the cake to try the taste of this curios combination!
It does sound quite curious but I think it is a really good one.
Sure I think too
what a lovely combination for using up black bananas. We always have a few at the cafe as the environment is so warm. I’ll give this a go tomorrow in a normal baking tin as we don’t have a skillet as our gluten free fans are also usually in on saturdays and besides I am rather liking using polenta more. I also like rice flour or rather ground rice. Thanks for sharing x
Thank you Urvashi. I would love to see your spin on this idea.
Yep, bananas sitting in the fruit bowl going speckled, all the time! My boyfriend is the banana-eater in this house but he won’t touch them if there’s even a hint of a brown speckle, so he tells me to do something with them. This is next on the list, thanks!
That’s funny that he won’t eat them with a speck of brown. I bet his mum/granny would be appalled 😉 But it’s good that he is fine with them in something. Like cake. Thanks for stopping by, Cathy. 🙂
I love this combination! Never thought of pairing chocolate with rosemary, but it sounds so interesting. I’m sure it’s delicious too! 🙂
Thanks Andrea. I’m not sure if anyone else does this combination but I have tried it out at work and it was happily eaten. It does sound odd though!
I don`t think I have ever tasted something like this. Great recipe!
Seeing an huge batch of overripe and speckled bananas definitely call for banana “nice” cream or banana bread! The rosemary probably smells amazing with the bananas and chocolate–I don’t think it’s crazy at all! Lavender and mint would probably taste amazing too!
This cake looks amazing! I would never have thought rosemary & chocolate would work together but I’m definitely going to give this a try. Thanks Kellie.
Oh goodness, this looks and sounds fab – I have a banana and chcolate loving boy who would love this – AND he’s growing rosemary in his herb plot!
I certainly would never have thought of this combination but now you have me intrigued.
This looks just glorious Kellie! Rosemary sounds absolutely intriguing with chocolate and banana, very very curious now.
This looks delicious – I do adore banana bread and can imagine chocolate and rosemary working so well in it. Love the skillet baking idea too!
What a unique recipe! I never would have thought to put chocolate and rosemary together, but it sounds delicious.
What a brilliant combo – superb!
Hi, my rosemary plant is a rather sad specimen so I user a couple of drops of culinary rosemary oil and the result was awesome, I am going to try it with culinary lavender oil next time.
I can say this is one of the mouth watering recipe, it looks attractive. No one stop himself to taste this recipe. This is one more unique recipe. The flavour combination is interesting.
Reblogged this on Chef Ceaser.
Sure sounds like an interesting cake; l may end up trying the recipe very soon given the look of the bananas on my counter!
I hope you get to bake with other gluten free flours; my current favorite is teff.
Have a nice Sunday!
Weirdly I’ve literally just made teff blondies! They were awesome. Naturally malty flavour – mmm
Did you use teff flour only or a mix of different flours? I have been using an combination of rice and teff flour, along with tapioca starch (not flour) for optimal taste to make gluten-free fillo leaves. They taste amazingly good!
I used 2/3 teff and 1/3 ground almonds. Your phyllo leaves sound interesting!
If you are interested, they show up on my French blog as “feuilles de brick maison”, with a video link. They take a little patience to make because you have to wait after each leaf is made for the skillet to cool down (unless you have two and can alternate) but they are really worth the time spent. I was tired of eating dry rice sheets and was so pleased when I finally came up with the recipe, I have been making them on a regular basis, filling them with all kinds of ingredients before frying them (not deep fried, mind you) or baking them in the oven.
Should I post the recipe on my English blog?
I can push translate I think. I’ll look it up soon Joëlle. I’m not gluten free but I like to mess with alternatives. 😊
Great recipe. Looking forward to more great recipes.
I made this recipe today and although I had to adjust quantities and do some guesswork to translate to US measurements, the end result was amazing! Who would have thought this flavor combination is so delicious!
This sounds lovely! Would never have thought to put rosemary in banana bread!
Looks tasty! 🙂 Love everything gluten-free! <3 Check out our shop. We offer variety of gluten-free treats 🙂 http://www.InspiredBeacon.com 🙂