This week’s theme for A Gluten-Free Holiday, created by Amy of Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free is Gifts of Good Taste and is hosted by Alta of Tasty Eats at Home. You might remember Alta from the brilliant guest post she did here at on poaching an egg as part of a lunchbox. Alta is sharing delicious recipes for Macademia Almond Brittle and Pistachio Macaroons on her blog, as well as hosting a giveaway for Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking and Free for All Cooking: 150 Easy Gluten-Free, Allergy-Friendly Recipes the Whole Family Can Enjoy. This is Week 3 of A Gluten-Free Holiday. During week 1, I shared some of my thoughts on staying healthier through the holidays, while for Week 2, I submitted this lovely Pumpkin Ice Cream, which is vegan and gluten-free and low in sugar. And, I was lucky enough to win a copy of The Spunky Coconut cookbook – I cannot wait for it to get to me in the mail. I have been eyeing this book for a while now.
And now this is Week 3, also known as Gifts of Good Taste. I initially thought I would submit a variation on the Not-So-Faux After Eights I made over the summer – after all mint and chocolate are a classic holiday combination. I wanted to make these easier to give as a gifts by freezing them in muffin cups, but following the same concept. Then I thought of making chocolate-almond clusters with slivered almonds. In fact, I bought two pounds of slivered almonds for just that reason. And then I was thinking about how I used to love this chocolate candy as a child (I grew up in Switzerland, land of great chocolate combinations) – it was pretty much like a Cadbury Cream Egg type situation, but the filling was gooey and sugary and banana-y. A quick consultation with husband, who is really the one with the sweet tooth in our couple, revealed that such a concept was not mainstream in the U.S., which of course made me want to tackle it, because really, anything banana-y and gooey like that is worthy of introduction to all of you. And just look at the inside of the chocolate banana cream cup:
The recipe below is lovely and won’t make your teeth ache or your eyes burn from too much sugar (which my candy memories of banana cream chocolate candies include), but is nevertheless still sweet and indulgent. It has the components of a banana cream pie – vanilla, banana, chocolate – and has the benefit of being soy-free. I am a big fan of making my own chocolate with cacao, agave and coconut oil, along with some vanilla, as it is sweet but does not seem to give me the sugar hangover I used to get from eating chocolate. And while I seem to tolerate soy,I like the idea of a four ingredient chocolate. For the initial freezing, I do recommend silicone muffin cups, but once the cups are ready, you can just transfer them to regular paper muffin cups for storage and gift-giving.
Chocolate Banana Cream Cups (Gluten-Free, Vegan, Soy-Free)
Makes 8 regular sized cups.
Ingredients for bottom chocolate layer:
- 4 Tbsps coconut oil (I love this one from Garden of Life)
- 3 Tbsps agave
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup raw cacao (I love this one from Navitas but any dark unsweetened cacao will still work)
Ingredients for middle banana cream layer:
- 1 Tbss shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1 Tbsp coconut palm sugar (I used this one from Navitas)
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup mashed banana (about 1/3 of a medium banana)
- 1 Tbsp coconut butter (see note below)
Ingredients for top chocolate layer:
- 4 Tbsps coconut oil
- 3 Tbsps agave
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup raw cacao
Start with the first chocolate layer. Melt coconut oil to its liquid point (I usually just leave the oil in the warmest part of the kitchen, right near the stove, for a few minutes, but you could use the microwave). Add agave and vanilla extract and stir until combined. Add cacao and stir until combined. Pour the chocolate into 8 silicone muffin cups. Freeze until hardened, which should take about 15 to 20 minutes. Then, prepare the second layer by grinding the shredded coconut and coconut palm sugar in a spice grinder, until the mixture is a powdery grainy texture. Melt the coconut oil to liquid. Whisk in vanilla extract, mashed banana and coconut butter. You want the mixture to be creamy but have some texture from the coconut butter. Remove the muffin cups from the freezer and top the hardened chocolate base with equal amounts, about 1 teaspoon, of the banana-coconut mixture. Return to freezer to harden while you prepare the top chocolate layer. Melt coconut oil to its liquid point. Add agave and vanilla extract and stir until combined. Add cacao and stir until combined. Pour your liquid chocolate over the frozen banana mixture and frozen chocolate base. Return to freezer for at least 30 more minutes.
If you are planning to give these as a gift: transfer the chocolate banana cream cups from the silicone cups to paper muffin cups and store in paper cups in a box in the freezer until read to give gift. Note that out of the freezer, these cups hold up well for about 3-4 hours before they need to be re-frozen. I recommend putting a note with the box of goodies advising the recipient to store the cups in the freezer.
Note: This recipe was lovely using coconut butter. If you cannot find or do not want to invest in the pricier Artisana Coconut Butter, Nutiva has a coconut butter that would work well. Or, in the alternative, feel free to use a nut butter of your choice. Almond butter or Organic Sunbutter would be great alternatives that, while they would change the flavor of the banana cups, would still provide the creamy texture. The most important ingredient of the filling is the coconut oil, as that is the component that allows the filling to harden. Any other fillings can be altered – i.e. replace coconut butter with additional shredded coconut – but the coconut oil is key and, of course, so is the banana if you would like a chocolate cup with a soft creamy banana center.