In honor of the upcoming holiday that celebrates sugar, here it is: a recipe with flour, sugar, and butter. Unlike our normal habit, we didn’t try to make it gluten-free or naturally sweet. It’s lightly adapted from Deb at Smitten Kitchen, though admittedly we did health-ify it a bit by adding a walnut topping and removing the chocolate chips. What results is a lightly-sweet, moist, dark chocolate-y bread that should definitely be consumed as a dessert. We tried it with a bit of maple mascarpone and it was delightful. And if you’re looking for decadence, chocolate chips would be divine.
We made this recipe before I decided to spend the last week fasting from sugar. Yes, fasting from sugar. Even as a self-proclaimed healthy eating advocate, I was finding ways to slip in sweets every day: chocolate in the evening, drowning my oatmeal in maple syrup. Though much of it was natural sugar, I realized I was becoming a bit too dependent on the sweet stuff to get me through the day, rationalizing that I had a long day at the office and deserved it.
Last week, I ate only vegetables and whole grains. Here’s what surprised me: #1. The food was delicious, and I did not feel like I was depriving myself. Once I was in the “cold turkey” mindset, I didn’t keep running back to the chocolate drawer (yes, I have one — err, had one). #2. I now feel great, lighter somehow, and less dependent on my fix.
This is not a rant to convince you to go on a sugar fast. In general, Alex and I focus less on deprivation and more on moderation, which we find helps us eat the way we want without becoming legalistic and setting ourselves up for failure. But all that moderation is a slippery slope. For me, one piece of chocolate per night was becoming two,three, four pieces of chocolate, with various other random snacks thrown in. It was constant, and I couldn’t shake it.
There’s research out there about sugar being an addictive substance. I used to find it a little sensational, but I’ve realized maybe my “moderate” relationship with sugar was becoming a little too friendly. I’m not planning to set up new rules for the future, but cleanse has definitely given me a new perspective.
So it’s a bit ironic, but here’s a sweet recipe…after a week without sweets!
How about you – what are your thoughts on sugar?
- ½ cup walnuts
- 3 to 4 very ripe bananas (1 cup total)
- ½ cup butter
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
- Chop ½ cup walnuts.
- Mash 3 to 4 bananas in the bottom of a large bowl, enough for 1 cup. Melt ½ cup butter, then whisk it into the bananas along with ¾ cup brown sugar, 1 egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
- Add 1 teaspoon baking soda, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, 1 cup all-purpose flour, and
- /2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder to the bowl and stir together with a spoon.
- Pour the batter into the loaf pan and top with chopped walnuts.
- Bake 55 to 65 minutes, until a tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and invert it onto a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. The bread keeps up to 4 days at room temperature wrapped in foil.