Banana Ginger Bars

I figured with a few extra days this Memorial Day weekend I would start experimenting with a few out-of-the-box ingredients I picked up on Vitacost. A great place for the health conscious or dietary restricted, I grabbed a bag of coconut flour and brown rice flour for gluten free baking, cocoa nibs for a bitter chocolate chip alternative, unflavored Protein powder for my morning smoothies, and matcha green tea powder for morning lattes.

After a bit of research I learned that coconut flour requires a careful hand and can be tempermental when making certain baked goods. I found this recipe for Banana Ginger bars from Empowered Sustenance, a health food blog run by Lauren, a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, who works with food as a means of healing. Her site has great recipes for dietary restrictions or simply healthy alternative to otherwise indulgent foods.

Since I have developed a lactose intolerance and struggle to define my relationship with gluten, hers and other recipe sites have helped me create delicious foods that don’t come with the guilt or discomfort.

The Banana Ginger bars are a great starting point for baking with coconut flour and I could easily see how these could be adapted to include other flavors or toppings. I whipped this up in my blender in less than 20 minutes and it made for a quick Sunday morning treat.

Most recipes, I have learned require about 1/3 as much coconut flour as you would use regular flour, so while it can be more expensive, it’s a great way to convert your favorite baked goods to gluten-free friendly ones. It also does not have an intense coconut flavor, so if your family is as adverse to coconut as my dad is, they can still enjoy these.

Here’s the recipe:
(via Empowered Sustenance)

2 large or 3 small very ripe bananas
1 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup raw honey or real maple syrup
6 eggs
1 1/2 Tbs. fresh grated ginger
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9×9 (I used an 8×8) baking dish, or line with parchment
2. In food processor (I used by Vitamix), blend together everything except the baking soda and vinegar until combined. Add the baking soda and vinegar, blend quickly. Pour into dish.
3. Bake for 30-40 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

Mine seemed to have turned out just like the recipe, and they have a delicious moisture to them without that standard bland gluten-free flavor. There is a subtle banana flavor like a traditional banana bread, but the contrast of the spices and maple syrup for sweetness makes it more like a spice cake. I would love to try this again as a loaf or muffins adding carob or chocolate chips, or maybe add a crumble to the top for a coffee-cake feel.

How would you adapt this recipe? What are your favorite rich recipes that you would like to see converted to gluten-free alternatives?

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