Strawberry Banana Loaf
I grew up in Ontario, Canada where the strawberry season lasts only a few short weeks and the winters stretch on for endless months. We would go berry picking every year and we had to stay until we had enough berries to freeze for the entire winter. I have memories of sitting in strawberry fields stuffing my mouth full of berries, watching my mother pile baskets to over flowing with perfect red fruit.
Last week, I chaperoned a trip with my daughters kindergarten class to Underwood Family Farms, and all of these memories came flooding back. The thing about living in Southern California is that the strawberry season seems endless, so the pressure to pick enough berries for hibernation doesn't exist. Still, we came home with more than enough berries for eating and for baking, so I decided to get creative with our Banana Muffin recipe to see if I might come up with something new and delicious.
Originally I was planning to make strawberry muffins, but truthfully, I didn't feel like washing out those mini muffin molds on this particular morning, so I decided that turning the batter into a loaf was good enough. Turns out this loaf was perfectly moist, full of natural sweetness and had just a touch of crunch, thanks to a sprinkling of chia seeds. The recipe makes 2 loaves, and it's a good thing too, since the first loaf disappeared instantly!
STRAWBERRY BANANA LOAF by CHARLIE + LOU
4 ripe bananas
5 tbsp. coconut oil
2 eggs (or 1 egg + 2 tbsp ground flaxseeds)
1 capful of vanilla
11/2 cups spelt flour*
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3-4tbsp. chia seeds
2-3 handfuls of fresh strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup carob chips, OR chocolate chips (optional)
1. In a medium bowl, mash bananas and stir in wet ingredients.
2. Add dry ingredients to the bowl and mix completely.
3. Stir in a few handfuls of sliced fresh strawberries and carob chips (if using). As you can see in the picture below, our batter was thick and not runny and had a nice amount of strawberries mixed in. If your batter seems too thick to mix, try adding 2-3tbsp of coconut water or unsweetened nut milk.
4. Grease 2 loaf pans with coconut oil and divide the batter. Spread evenly and decorate with a layer of sliced strawberries. **
5. Bake at 350F for 35-40min, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool, slice and serve.
* If you are gluten-free and can't use spelt flour, try using 1 cup almond flour + 1/2 cup coconut flour. Do not use only coconut flour or you will end up with a batter that resembles something like dried-out clay!
** This recipe works beautifully as mini muffins. Simply spoon batter into mini muffin molds and bake at 350F for 15-20 min.
In addition to making this Loaf, we have also used this recipe to make mini muffins and even a super festive Canada Day Cake! Our interpretation of the Canadian Flag was created with sliced strawberries and coconut flakes. Get creative and send us your pics!