Healthy eating: Tahini adds nutritious twist to this banana chocolate chip bread

Banana tahini chocolate chip bread

I enjoy baking during the holidays. I find it calming and a great way to de-stress. Some folks find baking nerve-wracking. I understand the fear because baking is really a big chemistry experiment. But if you can follow a recipe you can bake and have tasty results!

Of course there are always bad recipes floating around (ahem TikTok…) but for the most part if you read, follow the directions and wait until the baked good cools then you should be golden.

This recipe is a great snacking cake and makes a wonderful house gift for the holidays. Although it doesn’t stick around our house for very long, this loaf stays fresh if wrapped well. The recipe includes yummy tahini — -a favorite ingredient of mine. Tahini is an ingredient used in the cuisine throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa in many recipes, including hummus, halva, baba ghanoush and salad dressings. It is a seed butter made from hulled sesame seeds that have been ground.

While you can make tahini homemade, I would definitely recommend buying it — it’s much easier! You can find it at your local supermarket. You will need to stir it thoroughly before using it as the oil rises to the top. I tend to have ripe bananas frozen in my freezer and use them for this recipe.

Tahini is relatively low in calories but high in fiber, protein and an assortment of important vitamins and minerals. Tahini is an especially good source of copper, a trace mineral essential for iron absorption, blood clot formation and blood pressure. It’s also rich in selenium, a mineral that helps decrease inflammation and promotes immune health, as well as phosphorus, which is involved in maintaining bone health. Tahini and its components may help improve heart health, reduce inflammation, and prevent the growth of certain types of cancer cells. Best of all, tahini is versatile and easy to use, which makes it a great addition to a healthy diet.

I hope you will take a moment to bake up several loaves and perhaps share with your friends, family and neighbors.

Banana Tahini Chocolate Chip Bread

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 ripe yet firm bananas (about 1 cup) mashed
1/3 cup melted unsalted butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons smooth tahini paste (remember if there is oil on the top, mix it thoroughly before adding it)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease an 8 inch-by-4-inch and line with a sheet of parchment, leaving parchment coming up the sides so it’s easily removable. (A 9-inch-by-5-inch loaf pan will work too, but the loaf will be a bit stouter in shape!)

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, white sesame seeds, black sesame seeds, and salt until combined.

In a large bowl, whisk together the mashed banana, melted butter, sugars, egg, vanilla, tahini and baking soda.

Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture, stirring just until the flour disappears. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to get any bits of flour that might be hiding. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Give the pan a couple of moderate smacks on the counter to even out the batter.

Transfer to the oven to bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the center has risen, the edges are golden brown, and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
Allow the bread to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then invert the loaf and cool it on a rack. I recommend waiting to cut it until it is cool. The banana bread will stay delicious and moist for three to five days when wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.

—  By Deborah Binder

Deborah Binder lives in Edmonds with her family. She is “dancing with N.E.D.” (no evidence of disease) after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009. She is a foodie who loves to cook from scratch and share her experiments with her family and friends. She attended culinary school on the East Coast and freelances around town for local chefs. Her current interest in food is learning to eat for health and wellness, while at the same time enjoying the pleasures of the table. As Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation including butter.” Deborah can be contacted at jaideborah@yahoo.com.

 

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