3 very ripe bananas, mashed (about 1¼ cup mashed banana)
2 eggs, at room temperature (very important to be at room temp)
1/3 cup pure maple syrup (do not use honey)
½ cup plain or vanilla greek yogurt (whole milk or 2% is best)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour*
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled (you can also use olive oil or melted and cooled coconut oil but I prefer butter)
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
½ cup chocolate chips, dairy free if desired
2 tablespoons chocolate chips, for sprinkling on top
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch pan with parchment paper and grease the inside of the pan to prevent sticking.
In a large bowl mix together the mashed banana, eggs, maple syrup, greek yogurt and vanilla extract to a bowl until well combined. (OR if you prefer, you can add all the wet ingredients to a blender to combine -- I prefer to mix in a bowl.)
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not overmix!
Next, mix in the melted and cooled butter (or coconut oil). At this point you can fold in an of the following: ½ cup chopped walnuts or ½ cup chocolate chips (or both!).
Add banana bread batter into prepared pan. Optional but not required: split a banana down the middle vertically then add on top of the batter or just add banana slices on top, side by side. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a tester inserted into the middle comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. Allow bread to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Once bread is cool, cut into 12 slices. Serve with nut butter spread on top for a healthy snack or breakfast on the go.