Delicious Chocolate Chip Cranberry Banana Bread

Delicious Chocolate Chip Cranberry Banana Bread

I love banana bread. It’s one of the great uses for bananas that have ripened a little too far. The one thing that makes it better is adding chocolate… hence, chocolate chip cranberry banana bread.

Banana bread and banana ice cream are the two reasons I keep so many bananas in my freezer. Either recipe can use frozen bananas. You just have to defrost them for a while to make banana bread. Defrosted bananas are even mushier than overripe bananas, but that’s fine for this kind of recipe.

You can, of course, also simply use overripe bananas without freezing them first. The only reason I use frozen ones as often as I do for this recipe is that I’m not always in the mood to make something when I realize my bananas are overripe. You know how fast that happens.

You can freeze bananas in their peels if you’re making banana bread out of them. Don’t do that for banana ice cream, though. Sliced frozen bananas work for either recipe, so if I have the time, I usually slice the bananas before freezing.

Banana bread is definitely not necessarily healthy. While it has bananas, it also has a lot of added sugar. It still makes a pretty good breakfast as well as a dessert.

You want about 3-6 overripe bananas for this recipe. That’s the other reason I love using frozen bananas – it’s not always easy to get that many overripe bananas when I want to do this. There are times when I buy bananas and for some reason my family ignores that whole bunch, but most of the time I only get one or two overripe bananas at a time. That’s not enough for this bread.

The exact number of bananas you’ll need for this recipe depends on how big the bananas are and how much banana flavor you want in the bread. Aim for about 2 cups of bananas after they’ve been mashed if you really need a measurement. I’ve gone as low as three bananas with good results.

overripe bananas

The chocolate chips in the banana bread aren’t strictly necessary, but they are good! You could also add nuts if you like. I don’t because one of my kids absolutely hates nuts. Not allergic, thank goodness, just doesn’t like them. The dried cranberries give a nice extra flavor to the bread that goes very well with the chocolate.

If I want to improve things just a little, I replace some of the regular flour with whole wheat flour. This doesn’t change the taste that much so long as it’s less than half the total flour, but I like to think that it’s a little bit healthier.

Start out by defrosting any bananas that need to be defrosted. This may take an hour or so. Flip the bananas over occasionally as they defrost – it goes more quickly that way.

When you’re ready to get started, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Peel all the bananas you’re using in the recipe and place in a bowl. Defrosted bananas will just kind of slide out of their peels. They’ll look unappetizing, but the taste is just fine. Mash the bananas and put aside.

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Stir gently to combine. No mixer yet unless you need a cloud of flour all over your kitchen.

In another bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Add the eggs, vanilla and mashed bananas and blend. Pour this mixture into the flour mixture.

Do not overmix this part. You just want to moisten the entire flour mixture. Stirring with a spoon or spatula may go better than using your mixer.

Add the chocolate chips and cranberries, and stir in with a spoon.

banana bread - add chocolate chips

Pour into a lightly greased loaf pan. Bake for 60-65 minutes in the oven. Check for doneness with a toothpick. It should come out clean… unless it hits a chocolate chip. Melted chocolate doesn’t mean the banana bread isn’t done, of course. Test the banana bread in a couple places if you aren’t sure that it’s done.

Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before moving the loaf to a wire rack to finish cooling. Or be lazy and serve the chocolate chip cranberry banana bread straight from the loaf pan.

Delicious Chocolate Chip Cranberry Banana Bread

Chocolate Chip Cranberry Banana Bread
Ingredients
  • 3-6 mashed, overripe bananas
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
Instructions
  1. Defrost bananas if frozen. This should take about an hour if the bananas are still in the peels, less time if they are sliced.

  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F after bananas have defrosted.

  3. Peel and mash all bananas. Put aside.

  4. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

  5. Cream together brown sugar and butter. Mix in vanilla, eggs and mashed bananas. Blend well.

  6. Add banana mixture to flour mixture. Stir in until moistened. Add in chocolate chips and dried cranberries, and stir.

  7. Grease a loaf pan and pour in banana bread dough. Bake for 60-65 minutes in oven, or until a toothpick comes out clean after being inserted in the middle. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the loaf pan.

Nutty Frozen Yogurt Bark

Nutty Frozen Yogurt Bark

I love it when I can add chocolate to healthy treats. It makes them a little more fun, and it doesn’t take a lot of chocolate to add a lot of flavor. This nutty frozen yogurt bark makes a great snack for kids and adults.

This is also easy to adapt to the tastes of various children. It makes a healthier after school snack than many other things do. My kids like them even when the weather turns cool. Kids and frozen treats – they just go together.

This is a wonderful way to keep your snacking healthier too. I like my trail mix with dried cranberries, so that’s the one I chose at the store. It’s nice having snacks around that are good for me, rather than all those so-tempting unhealthy snacks.

This is one of those fun recipes where exact measurements don’t matter. A little extra of this, a little less of that – it pretty much all works.

I love recipes like that. They’re fun to play with.

Start out by lining a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine Greek yogurt with some honey in a bowl. Stir well. You can use plain Greek yogurt and skip the honey if you want, but most people will want the added sweetness. You can also stir some of the nuts into the yogurt now if you like. I just spread them across the top.

You can use regular plain yogurt rather than Greek if you want, but I think the Greek yogurt gives a better flavor.

Spread the yogurt across the parchment paper in an even layer.

spread Greek yogurt

Sprinkle trail mix and chocolate chips across the top. Lightly press into the yogurt.

spread trail mix

Freeze for two hours, then break into pieces. You can use a knife if you like, but it’s easier to break up the pieces by hand.

break up yogurt bark

Keep frozen until ready to eat. These melt very quickly.

trail mix frozen yogurt bark

Nutty Frozen Yogurt Bark
Ingredients
  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup trail mix
  • 1 tbsp chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Combine Greek yogurt and honey in a bowl. Mix well, then spread evenly across the parchment paper on the baking sheet.

  3. Sprinkle the trail mix and chocolate chips across the yogurt. Press lightly into the yogurt.

  4. Freeze for two hours.

  5. Break frozen yogurt bark into appropriately sized pieces. You can use a knife or do it by hand.

  6. Keep bark in freezer until ready to serve. It will melt quickly outside the freezer.

Easy Chocolate Fruit and Nut Clusters

easy chocolate fruit and nut clusters

I always like to joke about chocolate being a food group. It comes from the cacao bean, so it must be a vegetable, right? Ok, maybe not. Maybe it would be better to make some fruit and nut clusters to get a healthier treat.

These chocolate fruit and nut clusters are very easy to make, and as chocolate treats go, are on the healthy side. Nuts in moderation are pretty good for you. Unless you’re allergic, in which case, don’t try this one.

This gives you your sweet and salty fix in one go, along with a great crunch. If you’re trying to eat less chocolate, this will give you a bit of chocolate for that urge, but a larger portion of nuts.

These are super easy to make because you just choose a trail mix. I suggest that the trail mix not have really large nuts such as Brazil nuts to make them easier to eat. The trail mix also doesn’t need to have chocolate chips or M&Ms in it. Just nuts and dried fruit such as raisins or cranberries. I prefer dried cranberries for this recipe. The flavor goes better with chocolate.

add trail mix

You could also go with a single type of nut, such as peanuts or almonds. I prefer the variation you get with trail mix. You could also make your own mix by selecting your favorite nuts and dried fruits.

The mix I used includes dried cranberries, golden raisins, cashews, pepitas, sunflower seeds and almonds.

Adding in some coconut oil will make the chocolate a little thinner. This is good if you want a thin coat on the trail mix. Using coconut oil will mean that the finished chocolates should stay in the fridge. If it’s warm in your house, you’ll probably want to keep the chocolates in there anyhow.

I didn’t measure anything out for this recipe. It’s fairly easy to eyeball how much trail mix goes into the melted chocolate. If you put in too much trail mix, you just melt more chocolate and add it in.

mix chocolate and trail mixOnce it’s all mixed up, spoon up small clusters. How big depends on the look you’re going for. I go for small. They’re super quick snacks that way. You can use miniature cupcake wrappers to hold larger clusters, which is a great look for gifts or when you’re sharing with company. You don’t want people handling multiple pieces of chocolate when you’re sharing with a group.

 

Easy Chocolate Fruit and Nut Clusters
Ingredients
  • 10 oz 60% cacao chocolate
  • 1-2 tsp coconut oil optional
  • 2 cups trail mix
Instructions
  1. Chop chocolate into small pieces. Melt in microwave in microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments until thoroughly melted, or melt in double boiler. If using coconut oil, melt with the chocolate. Total melt time should be about 2 minutes in the microwave, but may vary.

  2. Mix in trail mix. Stir until trail mix is thoroughly coated.

  3. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon small portions of mix into piles on baking sheet. Refrigerate or freeze until solid.

Disclosure: Gimme Chocolate is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. I also review or mention products for which I may receive compensation from other sources. All opinions are my own.

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