This espresso banana bread laced with rich coffee flavor and chunks of 70% dark chocolate is perfectly sweet and indulgent while still providing a solid amount of fiber from the whole grain flour and flax. Disclosure: this is an entry for a contest hosted by Manitoba Milling Co. Flax. I was not compensated for the post, but I received free product for participating. As always, all opinions shared are my own.
I don’t know about you guys, but for me banana bread is total comfort food. It’s quite possible this is because the house smells amazing during baking, but at the end of the day who cares as long as there is BANANA BREAD in the house.
Earlier this month, one of my favorite brands (Manitoba Milling Co.) announced a recipe contest and I immediately knew I wanted to put a fun twist on banana bread. You know how I roll, I can’t just make something the normal way and call it good. This had to be special, but also have some sort of redeeming nutritional qualities too. Luckily when working with flax, this is a simple thing to accomplish!
Flax Facts & Nutrition Information
Flaxseed Meal vs. Ground Flaxseed
Before we get into the recipe, I wanted to share some more information on flax and highlight some of the nutrition qualities since it’s a total staple in my kitchen.
First, did you know there’s actually a difference between flaxseed meal and ground or milled flax? Up until recently I didn’t. The terms tend to be used interchangeably and most stores only carry 1-2 brands so I’ve never thought to compare.
Flaxseed meal is a byproduct of making flaxseed oil. Because the oil has been extracted, the seeds lose the heart-healthy fats.
Whole-milled flaxseed refers to flaxseeds that are instead ground into a powder. Because nothing is extracted, it still contains those beneficial ALA fats. The texture is also a lot lighter and fluffier with less grittiness. This is the type of flaxseed that Manitoba Milling Co. produces.
Nutrition Benefits of Flax
From a nutrition perspective, flax is an easy way to add a “boost” to things you already eat on a regular basis. Overnight oats, smoothies, and baked goods all come to mind, but the options are endless. Here are a few of the most notable nutrition benefits:
- Rich in essential omega-3 fatty acids (ALA). In fact, flax is the richest in ALA of any whole-food source! ALA is considered “essential” because the body does not synthesize it and it must be consumed through food.
- Contains heart-healthy fiber, both soluble and insoluble (4 grams per serving)
- Richest dietary source of precursor lignan, a type of polyphenol found in plants which may aid in the prevention of several chronic diseases.
Noteworthy Banana Bread Ingredients
Now let’s get to the part where your mouth starts to water. For this espresso banana bread, I used a few key ingredients in addition to the flax to make it indulgent while still packing some nutrition punch. I like to treat quick breads as a snack (vs. a dessert) so I always try to make sure there is some “bulk” to it and it’s not just a cake in disguise.
Here are a few of the noteworthy ingredients:
- White whole wheat flour. My go-to flour for most baked goods because it’s light like all-purpose flour but has the nutritional benefit of being whole grain. Win/win.
- Brown bananas. The bananas pictured above were the perfect level of ripeness. It might be tempting to use a less ripe banana because it’s what you have on hand, but this makes a big difference in the level of moisture/sweetness so I recommend waiting.
- Instant espresso powder. I used this instant espresso powder (affiliate link) that I purchased for a recipe several months back (dirty chai spiced pecans – they’re EPIC). Besides using it to make an actual espresso, this works beautifully in recipes because it has a superfine texture and an intense flavor.
- Flax “egg”. For this banana bread, I used what’s referred to as a “flax egg” instead of real eggs. Just mix flax into liquid (1:2 ratio), then let it sit for a few minutes. The result is a cohesive, gel-like substance that acts similarly to an egg! It’s a great option for vegan baking, or when you run out of the real thing.
- Dark Chocolate (70%). I used a 3 oz bar instead of a bag of chips/chunks here for two reasons. 1) I prefer it chopped into irregular-sized pieces, and 2) the chocolate is higher quality and you can more variety in cocoa content.
It took a couple of tests to get right, but I love everything about the way this espresso banana bread turned out! It’s perfectly moist and has a rich and complex flavor. I also kept the ingredients very “vegan-friendly” so if you prefer a 100% plant-based bread, just be sure to use a milk alternative and be mindful when choosing the chocolate.
Enjoy this fun take on a classic!Print
Espresso Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread
Whole grain banana bread laced with notes of espresso and dark chocolate.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 55 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
- Yield: 10 slices 1x
- 1/4 cup whole-milled flax (I used Manitoba Milling)
- 1/2 cup milk or milk alternative
- 1.5 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup instant espresso powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 small-medium overripe bananas (284 grams)
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- 2/3 cup cane sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 oz dark chocolate bar, chopped (I used 70%)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9X5 loaf pan and line with parchment paper.
- In a small dish, combine flax with milk and stir well. Let sit at least 5 minutes.
- In another small bowl, whisk together the flour, espresso powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork (or whip using stand mixer). Add flax/milk mixture, melted coconut oil, cane sugar, and vanilla extract. Stir until well combined.
- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just combined (be careful not to over mix!). Fold in the chocolate chunks.
- Transfer batter to loaf pan and bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean.
- Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing.
Melt coconut oil before measuring (if you don’t have coconut oil, use canola oil or vegetable oil)
To store banana bread, wait for it to cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap followed by foil to keep it fresh.
Best eaten with 3 days.
Keywords: vegan banana bread, vegan baking, flax egg, coconut oil, whole grain bread
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