Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Protein Bread

School is back in full swing, and as I juggle the many hats that I wear, cooking and baking have once again become an escape from and positive outlet for all of the stress that comes along with it.  Since I keep finding myself more and more pressed for time, and as I spied browning bananas in my kitchen, I decided to create some protein-packed banana bread for the week ahead, using the ingredients that I had in my kitchen, and this is what I came up with:

Ingredients:

• 1/3 cup raw cane sugar
• 2 cups whole wheat flour
• ¾ teaspoon baking soda
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 scoop (about 30g) vanilla protein powder (I used vanilla plant-based protein powder)
• ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
• 3-4 medium-large bananas, mashed (I used 3, which was about 1 1/2 cups)
• 2 large eggs, beaten
• ¼ cup coconut or canola oil (I used canola because that’s what I had, but coconut oil may be a healthier option)
• ¼ cup dark chocolate peanut butter
• ¼ cup milk (I used 2%, but I’m sure anything, including milk substitutes, would hold up fine)
• 1-2 Tablespoons raw cacao nibs for topping, optional

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease 9 x 5 in loaf pan.  In a medium bowl, thoroughly combine the peanut butter and oil with a fork. In another medium bowl, beat together the sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon until smooth with a spatula or large spoon. Combine the peanut butter and oil mixture with the mashed banana, vanilla, beaten eggs, and milk, beating until smooth. Add the flour mixture, stirring again until smooth. Spoon the batter into the lightly greased pan and let it rest at room temperature, and let it rest for about 5 minutes uncovered. Sprinkle with cacao nibs, if desired.
Place in oven on center rack for 50 minutes. Cover with foil and bake for another 10 or more minutes, or until a fork or toothpick come out clean. Take out of oven and place on a rack to cool. Enjoy!

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