Better Banana Bread
Gluten-free, Refined Sugar-Free, Dairy-free
I adore the Smitten Kitchen. Her cooking personality is so in line with mine: keep it simple and have fun with it. Her recipe, “Jacked Up Banana Bread” is one of my favorites; you just need 1 bowl, a whisk and a spatula and it is so simple and delicious.
So when I wanted to make a healthier take on the banana bread, I used her basic recipe as a jumping off point, but with a few changes
Foundation: Fats and Sugars
Deb’s recipe calls for melted butter, not a lot of it (just 1/3 of a cup), but I wanted to swap that out for my favorite form of fat: nut butter. Bananas and nut butter are the perfect pairing; I mean who does not like a banana topped with peanut butter?
In my test recipe I used tahini, but you could use any nut butter here depending on what you prefer. It is a simple measure-for-measure replacement, but I would recommend using a natural nut butter: they are a little runnier and don’t have any added sugar.
Let’s talk sugars. In Deb’s recupe, she uses all brown sugar and I used my favorite sweeteners: maple syrup (grade b of course) and organic coconut sugar. Maple syrup will give you added moisture and flavor and coconut sugar is the perfect replacement for brown sugar, but easier for your body to process.
A Little Nutrition and Flavor Boost
Like most of my bakes, I made this recipe gluten-free, using my favorite combination of gluten-free flours: almond flour and gluten-free oat flour. Almond flour has great protein and oat flour has great flavor with added fiber. Since this recipe calls for one and a half cups of flours, I split it equally between almond and oat flour. Just to make sure that there was the right about off structure, I also added a teaspoon of potato starch. I cannot stress this enough. I know it sounds weird to add potato starch to things, but when you are taking gluten out of baking, you are taking out a key component in baking chemistry. Potato starch just help with the structure when you take out gluten.
Now, this flavor boost. It is my favorite flavor and drink: coffee. Bananas are a lot of folks’ favorite breakfast, so I added a tablespoon of ground coffee to the mix. You will not get a really strong coffee taste, but just that yummy roasted flavor from the coffee.
3 medium to large bananas (I used three 4-5inch super ripe bananas, browner the better)
1/3 cup nut butter of your choice
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup grade b maple syrup
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup almond flour
3/4 cup gluten-free oat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp potato starch
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp fine ground coffee
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Preheat oven to 350F and liberally coat a large loaf pan with oil and line with parchment paper. I cut a long strip and drape it across the loaf pan so that is covers the long sides and paper hangs over the sides for easy removal.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the almond flour, oat flour, baking soda, potato starch, spices, coffee and salt. Make sure to get out any lumps in the almond flour.
In a large, heatproof bowl, place the peeled banana and microwave for 1 minute. Warming them up makes them a little easier to mash. Mash the warm bananas with a whisk until a smooth-ish mixture, with smaller chunks of bananas.
Add the nut butter, maple syrup and coconut sugar to mashed bananas and whisk until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and whisk again until the egg is fully incorporated.
Fold in the flour mixture until fully combined. Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick to the middle comes out clean.
Let cool for 30 minutes before removing from the loaf pan. Slice and top with blueberry jam or even more nut butter. There is no such thing as too much nut butter.