Yesterday, I searched for a better Banana Bread recipe. This happens a lot, since I have all the intentions of eating bananas, then before I know it - they are spotty and black and begging for a new life in quick breads. Last week though, I made them into Nikki's Healthy Cookies, from food blogger 101 cookbooks. I have them frozen for moments of cookie needs... and they are users of 3 bananas, and no refined sugar. See? I really am trying to be better.
So, after much searching, I finally found this recipe for Whole Wheat Banana Bread: and I came across it in a strange manner. Every recipe I perused up to this point had lots of butter. I love butter, but I was searching for healthier options. All recipes also seemed to have way too much sugar as well, which I don't normally have a problem with, but you know, I'm trying to be Better.
It helps too that my Mom is looking for baking recipes that are using less or no refined sugars. I have a task, and I am up to it! I found a forum of people discussing healthier banana bread options at seriouseats.com. A commenter included a link for the following recipe. I did alter it slightly, so I am posting my version below. My little picky boy-o loved it, and I loved it. Better yet, absolutely no guilt is involved.Healthy Whole Wheat Banana Bread
1/3 c. oil (part can be converted to applesauce,according to a poster at serious eats, but I used canola oil)
1/2 c. brown rice syrup
1 t. vanilla extract
3 mashed bananas
1 3/4 c. whole wheat flour (King Arthur, of course)
1/2 t. kosher salt
1 t. baking soda dissolved in 1/4 c. hot water
1/2 c. chopped walnuts.
Preheat oven to 325.
Beat oil and honey together in a large bowl. Add eggs and mix well, then stir in bananas and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt, then add baking soda to hot water and stir into batter. Fold in chopped nuts.
Spread batter into "prepared" pan (I opt always for cooking spray with flour. Normally, I am against such things, but it really does make life so much easier.)
Bake for 55-65 minutes, until tester comes out clean. Try to wait at least a half hour before cutting into it.
I think in the next occasion of overripe bananas, I will tweak this recipe using my two favorite additions from the Alton Brown banana bread recipe. To date, his is by far my favorite. (All about Alton has the recipe by weight: Bread of Life has it listed by measure.) He uses oat flour in his, which is a miracle, I think, for adding softness. But the true marvel is that he also adds almonds and almond extract which is seriously my favorite flavor ever. If you are looking to impress, and not eat healthy in the privacy of your own home...make Alton's banana bread.
I think the whole wheat version is really delicious however, and the brown rice syrup is the key I think. If you were to use honey, as the original recipe wished, I think it would be too sweet. I love honey, but if I was going through the trouble to make a healthier recipe, I figured why not try the brown rice syrup? It is made (according to the Lundberg Farms label) by simply boiling down brown rice. It is great, and really does taste a little like sweet, nutty brown rice.
I originally bought it for making Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Peanut Granola, which is very tasty and perhaps my third batch after watching that episode is happily residing in my freezer.
I hope you have luck with this healthy version of banana bread. I am actually going against all my personal thoughts on cake and bread storage and storing this, wrapped in foil, in the refrigerator. It is just so moist, that I can't see getting my normal 6-7 days out of it! I'm also planning to toast some, since I think that the almost pudding like interior will stand up to it.