Carol's latest book, Gluten-Free Cooking for Two, is now available. Designed for small households, each perfectly-proportioned recipe serves two people. You will eliminate unwanted leftovers and reduce waste when you cook right-size meals with the 125 recipes in this book. Enjoy!! Celebrate with me!!! Gluten-Free Cooking for Two has won two awards: named one of ten "Best Gluten-Free Cooking Books in 2017" by and won a Silver Medal in the 2017 Living Now Book Awards in the "Natural, Nutrition, Organic, Vegetarian" category.
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Carol's in the kitchen, cooking up recipes for her next cookbook and

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Chocolate Banana Bread

[donotprint]There is a famed spa called Rancho La Puerta that sits in Baja on the border between California and Mexico in the town of Tecate.  “The Ranch” as we call it, sits on 3,000 acres, and is magical. 

La Cucina Que Canta Cooking School at The Ranch

La Cucina Que Canta Cooking School at The Ranch

One of the many wonderful events is an early morning hike. But this isn’t just any hike: the roughly two-mile jaunt takes you to The Ranch’s cooking school where breakfast is served.  It is called La Cocina Que Canta (The Kitchen That Sings). And, no visit is complete without a tour of the organic garden with Salvador. 

Organic Garden at The Ranch, with Salvadore

Organic Garden at The Ranch, with Salvadore

I taught gluten-free cooking classes to the guests at The Ranch nearly 9 years ago. And, I also taught the staff about how to prepare and serve gluten-free food. At that time, they were just learning and this breakfast bread was not gluten-free. So, I had to return home and formulate my own gluten-free version. 

Kitchen at La Cucina Que Canta at The Ranch

Kitchen at La Cucina Que Canta at The Ranch

Today, most of the food served at The Ranch is gluten-free and gluten-free dishes dominate the cooking classes as well. It is very easy for gluten-free guests to dine there safely.

And, The Ranch is a very healing place. During my first visit, 10 years ago, I was undergoing radiation treatment for breast cancer. I was exhausted, but found The Ranch relaxing and rejuvenating. It turned out that many people were in “healing” mode (emotionally, socially, and not just physically) so I felt at home.

Chocolate Banana Bread.

Chocolate Banana Bread.

But back to this fabulous bread. When I serve it to brunch guests, I remind them that it is possible to have chocolate for breakfast in a healthy way. They love it!

This bread gets its sweetness from fruit juice, dried fruit, and chocolate chips—there is no added sugar, except the sugar that is present in the chocolate chips. But if you prefer your bread a little sweeter, add the optional tablespoon of sugar. It’s up to you! The recipe makes a small loaf, but it is rich so you only need a small slice to feel satisfied. Enjoy![/donotprint]

Chocolate Banana Bread  

By Carol Fenster


This small, but mighty recipe is very versatile because you can use whatever add-ins you like and vary the fruit juice―both of which are very good for you. There are lots of flavors going on here: chocolate, banana, cinnamon. For a no-sugar-added bread, omit the tablespoon of sugar. Enjoy!!

1 small ripe banana, mashed

1 large egg, at room temperature

1/3 cup prune juice or pomegranate juice

1/4 cup canola oil

½ cup gluten-free flour blend (see below)

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon sugar (optional-try it first without sugar and see how you like it)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/4 teaspoon salt


1/2 cup gluten-free semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup each finely chopped nuts, raisins, coconut, and dried cranberries (make sure total equals 1 cup)


[1] Preheat the oven to 350⁰F. Lightly grease two nonstick 3 ¼ x 5¾-inch mini-loaf pans. 

[2] In a medium bowl, beat together the mashed banana, egg, juice, and oil with an electric mixer on low speed until well blended.

[3] With the mixer still on low speed, beat in the flour blend, cocoa, sugar (if using), cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt until smooth. Stir in the add-ins. With a wet spatula, spread the batter evenly in the pans.

[4] Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (or with only a bit of melted chocolate on it), about 40 to 45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack, remove the bread from the pans, and cool completely. Makes about 5 to 6 small slices per loaf.

Gluten-Free Flour Blend

1 ½ cups sorghum flour or brown rice flour

1 ½ cups potato starch (not potato flour)

1 cup tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch)

Whisk the ingredients together and store, tightly covered, in a dark, dry place.


Makes 2 small loaves, cut in 12 slices total

Per slice: calories 145; 10g fat; 2g protein; 2g fiber; 15g carbohydrate; 153 mg sodium; 16mg cholesterol