Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Healthier Banana Bread

I made my recipe for Healthier Banana Bread last night, and I thought that I ought to share it. I find it almost indistinguishable from regular banana bread. I based my recipe on the one in the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook*, but I altered it so that it has less fat and sugar, and I substituted some of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour. I also added a few more spices.

Housey Wifey's Healthier Banana Bread

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 quick dashes ground clove
1 generous dash allspice
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 medium very ripe bananas, mashed well (best when almost ready to be tossed)
1 and 1/8 cups Sugar
1 and 1/8 cups Splenda(R)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Note: Not all of us have 1/8 cup measures sitting around. I know I don't. Rather than trying to calculate how many tablespoons 1/8 cup is, I just take a 1/4 cup measure and fill it halfway with sugar, and then pour the Splenda(R) on top of it to fill it the rest of the way. You don't need to be exact. If you want to make it completely sugar free, go ahead and experiment. I haven't tried it, so I can't tell you if it makes any difference.

1) Mix the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl: both types of flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice

2) In a smaller bowl combine the mashed bananas, egg, sugar, Splenda(R), and applesauce.

3) Add the banana mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. The batter will be lumpy.

4) Fold in pecans, if desired.

5) Spoon batter into a greased 8x4x2 inch loaf pan (I have found a dark metal pan gives a better result than a glass one). Bake in the center of your oven for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean (a couple of moist crumbs on the toothpick are a good thing, but batter is not. Try not to overbake, or the result will be be dry and cakey).

6) Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on rack before cutting. This is very important. If you do not let it cool, the crust will harden. I know this from experience.

7) Once it is cool, you can go ahead and have a few slices, but it won't be the moist, sticky banana bread that we all know and love. It is best the next day after having been stored overnight in an airtight container. A 1-gallon resealable bag works really well in a pinch. It should last several days in a cool dark pantry.


*The link is for a newer version of the cookbook than the one that I own. I think mine is 2000 or something. I could go look, but I'm lazy.

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