{Chocolate Coconut} Peanut Butter Banana Bread

 

Oh man.  I am ready for the weekend.  This week and last have been one of those I-just-want-to-crawl-in-a-hole-as-fast-as-possible weeks.  I’ve messed up what seems like a million times at work this past week or so and it is so frustrating.  I just want to punch myself in the face.  Not really though.

Okay, maybe a little bit.

As a slight perfectionist, I find it quite difficult to make mistake after mistake, especially when you aren’t the only one having to bear the consequences of those mess ups.  My boss is completely nice about it but I hate that feeling of “letting them down.”  And I have a ridiculous time letting it go.  All last weekend my mind would wander toward what I did wrong at work, how I could’ve fixed it, what my co-workers were thinking/saying about me, how I could make it right… My mind would not stop going there.  I was worrying about a situation that I had no current control over, and fretting about mishaps that I couldn’t take back.

It’s true that we have to live with the decisions that we make, or the things we do wrong, no matter how big or insignificant they may be, but there is a point when living with it can cross over to being consumed by it, and I have been consumed.  I find myself being swallowed up by my own thoughts, concerns, future projections, and other’s opinions quite a lot.  I take myself out of the current moment to instead be in a negative space that leads me nowhere.

There is a point where I must remind myself that I am human, I will make mistakes, I will learn as best I can to avoid doing them again and I will let. it. go.

Then I will reward myself with a high five and a slice of chocolate coconut  peanut butter banana bread… whew thats a mouth full.

Let take a quick second to talk about this peanut butter.  Its…  just really delicious.

What could go wrong with chocolate and coconut swirled into creamy peanut butter?  Nothing, thats what.  Absolutely nothing.

Well, except maybe my waning self control once I hold this jar of pb in one hand and a spoon in the other.   I’ll just consider that a tasty mishap.

Okay, here’s the deal.  Quick breads are fantastic for many reasons.  They are very versatile, quick to put together, hard to screw up, and freeze well.  Plus they are delicious.

All you really need are two bowls.  Whisk together your dry ingredients first.  Whisking them before adding them to the wet ingredients ensures that everything is equally distributed.

Next, things start to get wet and wild.  Sugar and eggs are whisked into a lovely mixture.  Add bananas, yogurt, melted coconut oil, and peanut butter.  Things start to get really crazy when the sugar, banana, peanut butter situation invites the dry ingredients into the party.  They mingle and turn into a silky batter ready to be baked.

But first generous dollop of peanut butter gets swirled into the batter.  You can always leave this step out and the bread will still be delicious… but, really, why would you?

Here it is.  A version of banana bread that you will come back to again and again.  The flavors are well balanced, playing nicely and sharing the spotlight.

The peanut butter and banana combo is an obvious win.  The addition of chocolate and coconut are like the moment you get the win, rip your shirt off, and fall on the grass in just your sports bra.

Thats a bad comparison…  does anyone even remember that?

Oh well, make this bread and your tummy will be happy… high five!

{Chocolate Coconut} Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Slightly adapted from Joy the Baker

Ingredients

  • 11/2 cups bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup chocolate coconut peanut butter, or any other nut butter
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon slat
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter one 9×5 in loaf pan or 3 6×3.5 loaf pans (this is what I did).  Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, flax seed meal, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, brown sugar, and eggs until well incorporated. Add yogurt, bananas, peanut butter, and coconut oil.  Whisk to combine.
  4. Pour flour mixture into the banana mixture and stir until just combined.  Don’t over mix!
  5. Pour batter into loaf pan(s), about 3/4 of the way of the pan.
  6. Optional: Put three dollops of softened peanut butter on top of the batter.  Swirl into the batter with a toothpick, skewer, or knife.
  7. Place in oven and bake for 45-60 minutes (if you are just using one large loaf pan it will be more on the 60 minute range.. opposite for the smaller pans!).  Test to see if the bread is down by placing a toothpick in the center and having it come out clean.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for for about 20 minutes.  Run a butter knife along the edges to invert from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Bread will last well wrapped for up to 4 days at room temperature.  Alternately it can be stored in the freezer for a rainy day or just a crappy work week.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

We’re all unsuspecting, really.  We all just have this body, this exterior that we could fool anybody with.  You know what I’m talking about.  Don’t try to act like you don’t!  I know you’ve got a lot going on inside that never quite makes it to the surface.  It’s okay, I do too.

Because inside I’m quite the talker.  Just in my head though.  Or when I have a drink or two. But thats a different subject.  Inside, I have lots of opinions.  Inside, I analyze like nobody’s business.  Inside, I feel totally normal being totally awkward.  Inside, I’m quite curious.. like George.

Inside, I’m a little crazy.  Inside, I think I’m good singer… then that comes out I realize, once again, that I’m not.  Inside, I should myself a lot… I should do this, I should do that.  But inside, I don’t want to do most of those things.  Inside, I’m a nervous… a lot.

Over the years I’ve gotten good at hiding the inside.  I’ve been perfecting the filter that only allows out the things I think most people will approve of.  Wanting approval, acceptance, a place to belong I shove inside the things about myself that are different in order to fit the body that someone else has constructed.  I feel like I’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember.

I’ve been slowly waking up to this reality that I don’t know who I am exactly.  Or more correctly, that I don’t know how to let it out.

My best friend came to visit last week.  I was continually noticing the ease with which we interact.  The walls were down and the inside flowed to the surface.  We have a transparency with one another that I don’t feel with most people.  But it brought to light how much I want and need that in my life.

 It also brought to light how much cookies aid the process to transparency.  Give a girl a cookie and she’ll open up a little bit.

Give a girl a chocolate cookie with peanut butter inside and she’ll divulge all the craziness going on inside.

And its awesome.

These cookies, too, are unsuspecting.  Much like the people you run into everyday, their exterior only conveys so much.  Chocolate.  That is undeniable.  But whats inside is the treat.  The treasure to this cookie lies right in the center.  Slightly salty with just enough sweetness, the peanut butter surprise offers just that..  a surprise to your taste buds.  And one that I assure you will be welcomed.

Chocolate comes in two forms in this cookie.  Powder and chip.  Double the chocolate, double the fun.  This cookie crisps on the edges and softens as it centers around the peanut butter filling.  It might take a bit or two to get to the center but it’s an enjoyable trip to get there.  And finally, chocolate and peanut butter unite once again to form a delicious union!

I totally suspected that would happen.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

Recipe from Martha Stewart

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used minis)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter

Directions

  1. Mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda.  Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer or using a hand mixer, beat together butter granulated sugar and 1 cup brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated.  Add in vanilla.
  3. On low speed slowly add dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for about 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
  5. In a small bowl, stir together peanut butter and remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar.
  6. Remove dough from refrigerator.  Using a 1 1/4 inch scoop or heaping tablespoon, drop balls of dough onto baking sheet about 2 inches apart.  The cookies will spread quite a bit so be sure to give them ample room to grow.  Using your thumb, make an imprint in the center of each ball.  Place 1 teaspoon of peanut butter filling into each thumbprint.  Scoop a second ball of dough, flatten it with your fingers, and mold it over the peanut butter filling.
  7. Bake until firm, about 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool on pan for about 3-5 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack to continue cooling.  Repeat process with remaining dough and filling.

~The dough started to be tough to work with when I was molding the tops onto the bottom.  If this happens to you just put a little bit of flour on a plate and dip your fingers in the flour before flattening the dough.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars

Isn’t it crazy that we all make hundreds of decisions every day?

So many things going on in our heads.  So many choices before us.

And not only having all those choices before us, but realizing that each one of them can influence our day, our mood, or our outlook on a given situation.

I’ve been thinking about my choices and decisions a lot the past couple days.  Thinking about how my mood is affected by the choice I make.

I’m in school right now, and not particularly fond of the classes I’m taking or the amount of homework I have to get done.  My attitude has been less than stellar since week one.  Not wanting to read, write papers, go to class.  Forcing myself into doing them all.

But when I got to thinking about it the other day, I realized how blessed I am to be in this position.  Granted, my interest isn’t particularly piqued with the classes that I’m taking right now, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t beneficial at all.

And more than that, how many people would love to be in my shoes right now but can’t because they don’t have the time, money, opportunity, etc.?

I have been keeping such a negative mindset, choosing to be pessimistic for the last 6 weeks and it’s definitely not making my life more enjoyable.

Sometimes- well many times- in life we get put into situations that we don’t want to be in.

Things happen that are unexpected.   I thought this term was going to be a breeze.  Then after week one I was depressed.  Not really.  I wasn’t depressed, but I definitely wasn’t excited.

But, again, I made a choice to think the worst about it.  I made the decision that I was going to have a hard time.  I let the clouds cover the blue sky.

And there is always a blue sky underneath those clouds.  Thats so cheesy!  But I know it’s true.  There is the choice to make the most of the circumstance that you are in.  It probably won’t be easy to get through, but when it’s all said and done, making the decision to embrace it and learn as much as you can from it will ease the difficulty.

And if the situation seems too difficult.  The choice to be positive is too hard to make then set it aside, and make these peanut butter chocolate chip oatmeal bars.  They might help with the situation!  At least your tummy will be happy.

These bar are loaded with good things.  Whole wheat flour, oatmeal, peanut butter, and dark chocolate.  This is a great sweet treat if you’re watching your kcals.  A little square is hearty, not overly sweet, and completely satisfying.

And if you end up eating the whole pan because you’re craming for finals or stressed about work?  Well, at least you’re getting a lot of fiber!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars

Makes 9 squares

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups peanut butter (I used Adam’s crunchy, but you can use creamy!)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare an 8×8 baking dish by spraying it lightly with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl mix together flour, oats, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Using a stand or hand held mixer, cream together the peanut butter and brown sugar on high until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add vanilla and mix until combined.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined on medium speed.
  6. On low speed incorporate the milk into the peanut butter mixture.  Mix until dough forms.
  7. Stir in chocolate chips.
  8. Roll dough into a large ball.  Place dough in the center of the prepared baking dish and press out into the dish, pushing dough to all the corners.
  9. Bake until set and the top is golden brown, about 18-20 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and let cool completely.  Cut into squares.
Enjoy!