Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Coconut Banana Bread

If you’re Celiac, have a gluten intolerance, simply don’t react well to flour, or just really love coconut and chocolate, throw your hands up in the air! Because I’ve got a great recipe for you! Last week, my school held a bake off for the SDA (Student Dietetics Association) department. Every entry into the bake off required a “health factor”, i.e. gluten-free, reduced fat, sugar substitute, etc. Last year, I submitted a gluten-free pumpkin spice monkey bread and it won in the bread division. I had so much fun with the event last year that I decided to bake something again. 

I wanted to go against the grain of making something with pumpkin in it so I decided on banana bread. I threw in some chocolate chips and coconut shavings (I’m a sucker for coconut) and made the recipe with gluten-free white rice flour. Bob’s Red Mill makes some great gluten-free products that can be found here

Typically, when you bake with gluten-free flours, you have to add a lot of extra stuff to make it rise. I.e. potato starch, sorghum flour, xanthan gum, etc. Luckily, I stumbled upon this recipe that used only gluten-free flour without anything extra, which served as my inspiration for my own gluten-free banana bread. 

Sadly, the bake off was re-scheduled until next semester so I didn’t get to enter it, but I did have people try it. Their reaction? A lot like the “I can’t believe it’s not butter!” commercial, except it was “I can’t believe it’s gluten-free!”. Besides the fact that it was a bit crumbly (due to it being gluten-free), I have never tasted a more moist and flavorful gluten-free bread. I was very satisfied with my creation, and I hope you are too :) 

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Coconut Banana Bread 

  • 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill White Rice Flour 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup canola oil 
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup shredded coconut 

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter a loaf pan. 

Mix together the white rice flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Blend the eggs, sugar, vanilla and oil together in another bowl. Add the bananas to the bowl and mash up. Add in chocolate chips and coconut. Mix together with a wooden spoon. 

Gently fold in the banana mixture into the white rice flour mixture. 

Pour into the buttered loaf pan and bake for 1 hour. 

Cinnamon Roll Cookies

One of my earliest memories as a child is waking up on Saturday mornings to the lingering smell of cinnamon rolls in my house. My father would just be taking them out of the oven as I crawled up onto the barstool where he put one on my plate with a cold glass of milk. Staring at the hunk of goodness in front of me, I would analyze how I would savor every bite. Everyone eats their cinnamon roll differently, but I personally like peeling back the layers from the roll and then enjoying the heart last…it’s like a surprise waiting for you after the surprise :) Cheesy? A little. But anyways…

My friend Paul gave me this recipe as part of a baking challenge. After looking at the recipe I accepted without hesitation. Making these were definitely a challenge too. For starters, this recipe does not call for baking power or baking soda or any egg yolks, making the consistency of the dough very delicate. These cookies are also not your typical scoop, drop and bake cookies. This recipe requires patience, as you have to chill the dough for some time, but it is definitely well worth the wait. The reward? A kitchen filled with the smell of Saturday morning cinnamon rolls fresh out of the oven :) 

Cinnamon Roll Cookies

(Adapted from Heat Oven to 350)

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened or melted 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar (for cinnamon sugar mixture)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water

Blend the sugar, butter, salt and vanilla together in a medium-sized bowl with a hand blender or spoon. 

Gradually add flour to the bowl until it forms into dough. 

Now here comes the patient part…refrigerate for at least 30 minutes until the dough is cold. 

After the dough has chilled for at least half an hour, take out the dough. On a cookie sheet covered in foil or parchment paper, carefully roll out the dough until it covers the pan. Take your egg wash (egg white + tablespoon of water) and gently brush a thin layer on top of the dough.

Mix together your cinnamon sugar mixture (1/4 cup sugar + 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon) and sprinkle evenly on top of the dough. 

Carefully roll the dough into a log starting from the long end. I’m emphasizing carefully because if you haven’t chilled the dough long enough the dough will be susceptible to tearing. Wrap the dough in saran wrap and freeze. Congratulations! You’ve just essentially made the homemade version of slice-and-bake cookie dough that people buy in the store, like this. Except, yours is so much better because its homemade :) 

When you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat your oven to 350ºF. Unwrap the dough from the freezer and cut the log into 1/2-inch slices. Put on baking sheet. Slice-and-bake technique seem familiar now? 😉 

Bake the cookies for 18 minutes until they look light golden brown. Let the smell from the oven fill up your kitchen, cool the cookies, and serve for family and friends :)