Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Whole-Wheat Banana Bread

Makes 1 loaf (8½” x 4½” x 2⅝” Standard Loaf Pan)
Recipe from http://www.100daysofrealfood.com
Husband-Tested in Alice’s Kitchen

This bread makes me a very happy camper.  It’s easy to make and it’s much better for us than the usual quick bread recipes that call for an entire cup of processed sugar on top of the sweet bananas!  (If you are used to eating banana breads sweetened with tons of sugar and bananas, this bread most likely won’t taste sweet to you. And if that’s the case, you might want to consider working on adjusting your palate to better your health. To learn more about cutting out processed foods, check this out!) Ripe bananas are so naturally sweet. When I say ripe bananas, I’m talking about the totally black ones, the ones that are too ripe to just eat out of hand.  Put those in the freezer (peels on) and when you want to sweeten oatmeal, smoothies, pancakes or quick breads like this one, just thaw them.  Use a pair of kitchen shears to cut off the tops.  Then squeeze the bananas into a bowl.  This bread tastes fabulous with peanut or almond butter along with a cup of hot tea.   

   2¼ cup whole-wheat flour (I use King Arthur’s White Whole Wheat Flour.)
   ¾ teaspoon baking soda
   ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
   ½ to 1 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice (optional)
   3 ripe bananas, mashed (This should equal 1 cup.  The riper the bananas, the sweeter the bread.  So, be sure the bananas are quite blackened.  I use black bananas that I put in the freezer and then thawed.)
   ¼ cup plain yogurt (I use plain Greek yogurt.)  (Applesauce can used to substitute for the yogurt.)
   ¼ cup honey or real maple syrup (NOT pancake syrup)
   2 large eggs, lightly beaten
   ⅓ cup oil (I use sunflower oil.  Coconut oil or unsalted butter would also work.)
   1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
   ½ cup sliced almonds or chopped walnuts (optional) ****

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease 8½” x 4½” x 2⅝” standard loaf pan. (I used cooking spray.)
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and spice, if using.
In a separate bowl mix mashed bananas with yogurt, honey, eggs, oil, and vanilla.  Add nuts, if using.
Fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture until blended. Do not over mix!
Pour batter into prepared pan.  Sprinkle some nuts over the top, if desired.
Bake large loaf for 40–50 minutes or until it comes clean with a toothpick. (In my oven, it took 55 minutes.)  If making standard muffins, bake for 15-20 minutes.)

Other ideas:  Mix in some bittersweet chocolate chips or dried cranberries instead of the nuts.

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