Thursday, May 22, 2014

(Better) Banana Bread

Anyone going through a major dietary change brings with them both flexibility and a list of recipes they are desperate to recreate.

I've gone back and forth on this point. My switch has also been rockier than many -hampered by a continually growing and shrinking list of allergens. Every time I start to get a handle on it, something changes and I start over again. Maybe not quite from square one, but close enough. And now, as it seems I'm out of the big woods, it's just small things I'm working out now. How many servings of tomatoes is too much for me? How much sugar? Just little tweaks to make me feel happy and healthy all the time.

Banana bread was a staple in my household growing up. So much so that a day in which both morning and afternoon snack were banana bread was the best day ever. EVER. It became one of my non-negotiables.

Ever since my diagnosis, I've been experimenting with ways to make my perfect loaf: lightly sweet, lots of banana flavor, light texture, and able to stand up to heavier additions like seeds or chocolate chips, but also be sublime on its own.

After a good deal of trial and error, (I must have tried at least 5 different recipes over the past year or so) I'm ready to settle on this one.


Better Banana Bread
Makes 1 loaf, or 16 muffins 

1/3 cup grapeseed oil
55g brown sugar
2 eggs (at room temperature)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

200g all-purpose gluten free flour (I used Cup4Cup)  
80g whole grain flour (like buckwheat, sorghum, oat, or a combination)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1tsp. xanthan gum (you do not need this if your blend contains it)
1 tsp. cinnamon (I do not like the flavor of cinnamon, so I omit)

3 medium/large very ripe bananas
Splash of milk (I used Trader Joe's nondairy coconut beverage)

Up to 1 cup of mix-ins. I opted to sprinkle chocolate chips over the top of the muffins before I baked them (Target brand semisweet chips are peanut/treenut allergy safe!)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease your loaf pan or muffin tin with a little grapeseed oil. I just poured some directly onto a paper towel and wiped each muffin depression. Easy peasy.

Cream your oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl until the mixture is light and frothy. In a medium bowl, combine your dry ingredients and whisk thoroughly. You want these to be really well combined to avoid any ingredient pockets. Gross.

Mash your bananas in a small bowl with a splash of milk. I like my banana muffins chunky, so I make sure to leave lots of big chunks here. You can obviously customize to your preference.

Alternate adding your dry ingredients and your mashed bananas to the wet ingredients. Stir thoroughly. Add any mix-ins you'd like, and mix again. Divide among cupcake wells, or pour into your pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips or some oats mixed with a little melted butter on top. Bake at 350 for an hour if making a loaf, and 25 minutes, if making muffins.

Store at room temperature in an airtight container, or freeze in an airtight container.

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