Grain-Free Fudgy Banana-Brownie Bars

In my house anything that has chocolaty or fudgy as an adjective is warmly welcomed. Whenever I go shopping I let the boys (Riley) pick a single item as a treat. He most often picks those strange brownies in a box. I happen to think they taste like paste, but I find that almost all “kid food” does not taste nearly as awesome as I remember. Although I find the boxed brownies odd, for some reason my kids love them. I think kids deserve treats, so I keep baked goods around. The boys like it, and they are still growing and energetic. (Additionally they seem to have freakishly awesome metabolisms… I am absolutely jealous.) Also lets be honest, baking is a habit I can’t seem to shake. Baking is a way to share my love with them, and it makes them happy and it keeps me busy. I probably shouldn’t partake in the cake eating, but I do anyway. So I’ve been trying to transition the kids to less sugar, less fat and ideally gluten-free snacking. Less gluten and carbs = Lower GI. (The lower the glycemic load, the better. These foods won’t peak your sugar, and they are absorbed more slowly, leaving you feeling fuller longer.)

Yeah there’s sugar and chocolate involved, but we’re talking better evils than a box here. Substituting nutritious flour instead of something fairly vacant of nutrition is always a good thing and its pretty easy to do. The man folk just happen to hate whole wheat, or any whole grain flour of any sort. Coconut flour is becoming incredibly popular around the Nourishing/traditional food/Paleo Diet scene so I figured I would try it out. I ordered a case…Yeah buddy a whole case. It’s not available at regular grocery stores, and it makes better financial sense to just order things online. So that’s what I’ve been doing. Luckily I don’t hate it, I was skeptical at first because for me it falls into the “gimmick” pile. The “flour and starch” isle just seems to get longer, and longer every day and I never know what to trust. Although coconut flour is not traditional in an age-old sense, it really packs a bang for your buck. Its not something that people have used much before, so this really is new-old food. It is a good trick to have in your arsenal. You don’t need to use much of it, it’s high in fiber, and a good source of protein. Although somewhat tricky to master baking with, once you start playing around with it you can seriously amp up the nutrient content of your goodies. 

Grain-Free, Gluten-Free Fudgy Banana Brownie Bars

For a few years I’ve made regular chocolate cakes with bananas instead of fat and sugar. I have made this gluten-free fudgy recipe 3 or 4 times. The major complaint I have with using coconut flour is the wetness and graininess. Even the “wettest” cakes managed to disappear so I guess they weren’t that bad. With 1/3 cup of sugar Man Meat whined it wasn’t sweet enough. (He seriously has a sugar problem.) This is a popular debate in my house. I don’t dig uber sweet, and the kids don’t need any extra energy juice. Bananas are the main sweet factor and plenty sweet to me, but they do add to the wetness. (consider adding a tablespoon or two of almond meal if using two bananas.)  Baking obviously is not a science in my house, I tend to wing it. I’ve made this with and without sugar, with more, with less etc. More bananas, no bananas. It turns out better with some sugar (obviously) but you really can reduce or remove the sugar as you would like.
2 bananas, super ripe
2-3 eggs (I used fresh eggs they are smaller)
1/3 cup, or up to 2/3 cup raw sugar
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup plus 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup homemade yogurt (see note*)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda 
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
Grease a brownie pan (8 or 9 inch square, metal pan) 
In a bowl beat together bananas, sugar and eggs until smooth. Toss in remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour evenly into your pan and bake 25-30 minutes, or until golden. 

With coconut flour I have found that when you think its done – you should wait a few more minutes.
The candy topping is simply 1/3 cup chocolate chips melted with a teaspoon of coconut oil. Sprinkles and chocolate topping are entirely optional but again, we’re making better than a boxed brownie. For kids, no sprinkles means they got duped. They want sprinkles.

Note- My homemade yogurt is the consistency of kefir,  I used coconut milk instead of yogurt and it worked fine. I also made a wetter frosting using 1/3 cup coconut milk with 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. (This is fudgy banana bar, batch #2 (?) pictured above.) Use whatever you prefer.