Such a miserable and gloomy day today! Don’t know where all that sunshine from the weekend went but I hope it comes back soon so we can all enjoy another nice weekend ahead.
Something you should all know about me is that I always have a plentiful supply of bananas in my kitchen because I love baking with bananas. Whether it’s baking countless banana breads, steaming banana cakes or making thick and fluffy banana pancakes…the possibilities are always endless, the recipes are always plentiful and the countless experiments and creations appear never-ending. What I love about banana is that it is so versatile and that you can make a cake or muffin using banana to replace the oil and butter in the recipe. I usually tend to go a bit overboard and always put in plenty of bananas to make my cakes quite moist but mainly because I like the taste of bananas in my baking. When I look at many recipes in books or online I am always so alarmed at the amount of oil, butter and sugar that goes into common desserts such as cake, muffins and cookies and even if it is one loaf or one cake which requires 1 cup of oil or more, I still find that to be quite a lot. That’s why I’m always looking for ways that I can reduce the amount of oil, butter and sugar in a recipe if the recipe requires it and so I find that bananas are always a good substitute for the oil or butter. I also tend to find that natural organic applesauce works great to replace most or all of the oil/butter in recipes as well. I have even experimented with natural and greek yoghurt as replacements so that the cakes still remains moist and soft in the centre.
I had some bananas lying around the house that were quite ripe and a bag of walnuts in my pantry so I decided to make a walnut banana bread. I usually slice up my banana bread loaf and freeze the slices so that I can eat them for breakfast. I based my recipe on a banana bread recipe I found at Chocolate Covered Katie (http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2011/10/10/fat-free-banana-bread/). I love her recipes as they are quite easy to follow and she even makes single serving desserts so you don’t have to make too many at one time and can just enjoy the one serving. I adjusted her recipe by using different flours to create a different texture to my banana bread. I used one cup of white spelt flour, 1/4 cup of wholemeal spelt flour and a heaping 3/4 cup of natural almond meal. I really love the taste of almonds and bananas together and wanted to taste the almond in the banana bread so chose to use more of this compared to the wholemeal spelt flour. I love that the recipe is oil free and gets its moisture from the bananas and replaces all the oil with soy milk. I added in 4 large bananas to the mixture. I didn’t really measure the mashed bananas out and more went by texture and feel of the batter. If the mixture appears too dry, you can always add more milk to the mixture. I also decreased the amount of sweetener by using a bit less than 1/2 cup of pure maple syrup and it was just right for me. I love the combination of pure maple syrup with bananas. You could even add pitted dates into the mixture to avoid using maple syrup if you do not like the taste of it. I added some walnuts on top of my banana bread for extra crunch but you can always add berries or chocolate chips to the mixture to create a different type of banana bread.
The recipe was really easy to make. I love making banana bread because it doesn’t take long to whip up the batter. I was quite surprised with the end result as the banana bread was quite moist and the bread did not turn dry at all. The almond meal and spelt flour worked really well together along with the bananas. And the walnuts provided the extra crunch in contrast to the moist bread. I was very worried that the banana bread might burn with the walnuts on top but I put foil on top in the last 10 minutes to ensure that it wouldn’t burn. The top of the banana bread turned a nice brown colour. The recipe says bake for around 50 minutes. I took out the banana bread just shy of that time but next time I might put it in for another 5 minutes with the oven temperature turned off just to ensure that the insides are well and truly cooked. I don’t mind my banana bread soft and a bit gooey but if you want it to be a bit more cooked in the centre you can leave it in the oven for longer. Banana breads usually cook for an hour, so anywhere around 50-60 minutes is a good indication of time to bake the bread. You can also put a skewer in to test if the bread is done. If the skewer comes out clean then the bread is done. I let the banana bread cool on a wire rack and then sliced it up into even proportions and put it into the freezer. I gave Mr Muscles a few pieces to try for feedback and he throughly enjoyed it. He said he could tell there were different flours in the mix and that the walnuts gave a nice texture to the bread. For someone who doesn’t really like desserts, I’ll take that as good feedback as he demolished his test serving immediately. Did I mention though, I gave him the end parts of the loaf as well? Gotta keep the rest of the loaf for myself for any other personal feedback…ok thats a lie..I just want to eat it all myself…and lucky Mr Muscles doesn’t really like dessert or sweet things ;P
The dry mixture
Mashed up bananas
Adding wet to dry
Mixture in the loaf tin before putting it into the oven
Banana bread in the oven during baking
End result ;P
Letting the banana bread cool on a wire rack
Slicing up the banana bread into slices to freeze – Yes that end bit was served straight away to Mr Muscles without complaint ;P
“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
Charles M. Schulz
Till next time