24 July 2009

Healthier Banana Bread

Bananas ripen so quickly here in Florida. We seem to get only three days before I have to put them in the fridge to stop them from ripening further. And then a lot of times we forget about them. I blame my fridge--I hate it and complain about it daily. It's one of those horrid side-by-side things, but it was brand spanking new when we moved into this house 5 years ago and I can't justify replacing it just because it has space issues. The side-by-side fridges are deep but narrow making it impossible to find anything because everything is shoved to the back and covered by what's in front. So I end up buying doubles and triples of products and...I could go on and on. I. Hate. My. Fridge. But I love banana bread, which I make often because, well, see above. I've tried to healthy-up the recipe since we eat so much of it.

You will need:

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups white flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter (Smart Balance!!)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs (or egg substitute)
4 overripe bananas
cinnamon (to taste)
one loaf pan

In a small bowl, combine flours, baking soda, and salt--set aside. In a large bowl, mash the bananas. I use my Kitchen Aid stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add butter and applesauce and mix together. (I made this recipe with cinnamon applesauce once because we were out of unsweetened and it was really good, so any applesauce will do.)

Add sugar and cinnamon, mix, then add eggs one at a time. I don't measure cinnamon in my recipes, I just shake it out until it looks right. Add to your taste, but I suggest about a tsp or so.

Now gently add your flours and stir. You can use a spatula or wooden spoon for this step if you are worried about overmixing. Stir until just combined--you don't want your bread to be tough.

Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes or until center is baked.

If you are worried that your oven temperature is not accurate then bake this bread at 325 until the center is baked. A common complaint about quick breads is that the centers are still raw while the sides are overdone, which is most often caused by an oven that is too hot. If it happens, you can tent some foil over the top until the center is done. Another cause of a raw middle is a pan that is too small. Make sure your loaf pan is large enough--if you are unsure, make 2! A crack down the middle of the bread is perfectly normal.

Let cool for 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack and then turn out.

Banana bread is better is wrapped overnight and eaten the next day. But who does that?? We love our banana bread hot from the oven and smothered in butter.

To add a punch of extra flavor try adding 1 tsp of banana extract. I do that sometimes (when I'm not out of extract). I love it with or without!

One final note: the more whole wheat you use, the drier the bread. White flour keeps bread moist and tender. If you insist on using all whole wheat, up your fat in the recipe (at least 2 more T butter). Your bread will be denser and much less tender, but still tasty!


my recipe card:

Banana Bread

See Banana Bread on Key Ingredient.


MaRyA said...

I love banana bread! But I dont know where to fine applesauce in my part of the world.

CheapAppetite said...

Hi Sunshine mom
I love banana bread too. I like that you chose to use brown sugar and unsweetened apple sauce. I don't like overly sweet banana bread.