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Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Tale of Two Banana Breads

I know you've probably had enough of the banana breads.  I understand, but I love banana bread.  I am forever in search of the perfect banana bread recipe.  It's a sickness.  I know.

A couple of weeks ago I made Smitten Kitchen's Jacked Up Banana Bread.  I brought it to Charlie when we went to see him in New York.  Of course he loved it, because aside from Kate, Charlie is my best customer.  And besides, it had booze in it and what 22 year old guy doesn't like a little alcohol with his banana bread?

But rotten bananas wait for no one, and I once again found myself with a bunch of specked fruit.  Yes, I could have waited and made banana pancakes over the weekend, but those bananas were so ugly that I needed to take action stat.

I had been thinking about trying another recipe from Smitten Kitchen that was a healthier version of a classic banana bread.  (Disclaimer: I believe anything that calls for whole wheat flour and some kind of grain classifies it as "healthy" whether it is or not.)  This particular loaf included millet, which I like because of its crunch.  And, instead of cooking or olive oil, the fat called for was coconut oil, which I absolutely love.

After returning from the gym this morning, I set to work making the banana bread.  I always figure that if I've gone to the gym I deserve a little something special, just to replace all those calories I worked so hard to burn.  God forbid I ever end the day net ahead.  Oh well.

The good news is that this "healthier" banana bread was just as delicious as the boozy one, albeit probably not as appealing to my son.  Not to worry.  It won't go to waste.  I cut myself a nice little piece for breakfast while it was still warm.

Recipe:  Crackly Banana Bread
Smitten Kitchen


3 large ripe-to-over-ripe bananas
1 large egg
1/3 cup (80 ml) virgin coconut oil, warmed until it liquefies, or olive oil
1/3 cup (65 grams) light brown sugar
1/4 to 1/3 cup (60 to 80 ml) maple syrup (less for less sweetness, of course)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
1 1/2 cups (180 grams) whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup (50 grams) uncooked millet


Preheat your oven to 350°F and butter a 9×5-inch loaf pan. In the bottom of a large bowl, mash bananas with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon until virtually smooth but a few tiny lumps remain. Whisk in egg, then oil, brown sugar, syrup and vanilla extract. Sprinkle baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves over mixture and stir until combined. Stir in flour until just combined, then millet.

Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake until a tester comes out clean, about 40 to 50 minutes. Cool loaf in pan on rack.

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