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My mom's banana bread

La Petite Maison Verte: My mom's banana bread

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My mom's banana bread

We had three sorry-looking bananas in the fruit bowl yesterday and they were calling to me. Well, not literally, but I've been wanting to make banana bread for a while and I had to wait until we had enough over-ripe bananas. So when I noticed that I had plenty of freckled beauties the other day, I decided the time was right.

I always use my mom's recipe for banana bread. It's delicious, always turns out moist and whenever B takes it into work its gone in no time. This time, I wanted to experiment with substituting some of the All Purpose flour for Whole Wheat Flour instead. I also had two ripe pineapples, an opened bag of sweetened flaked coconut and some chopped walnuts so I decided to make it a "Nutty Hawaiian" banana bread. And WOW, it turned out awesome! B ate 4 of the banana muffins for dessert, he just couldn't get enough. We ate it all before I could get any pictures and B took the large loaf to work today. I'm going to share my mom's original recipe and below it I'll describe the specific changes I made this time. Whether you make the banana bread as the recipe is written or modify it like I did, you'll love it. Make it in one large loaf pan or several small ones, or in a muffin pan (makes about 24 muffins). It's also really good with chocolate chips in it, I usually use about 1/2 to 3/4 cup and just toss it right into the batter before baking. While this time we ate the banana bread for dessert, it is AWESOME for breakfast: just add a dab of cream cheese and a cup of coffee...that's my idea of a perfect morning!

Mom's Banana Bread (The Original)
Makes 1 large loaf, 3-4 mini loaves, or about 24 muffins

3 large ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce (optional, but I always add one of those little individual serving cups)
3/4 cups vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cups sugar
2 cups AP flour
1 rounded teaspoon baking soda
1/2 rounded teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 325. Spray loaf pan(s) or muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Mix bananas, apple sauce (if using), oil, vanilla, beaten eggs and sugar until well combined. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix just to incorporate, don't over-mix. The batter should be thick but not so thick that you can't pour it (my mom says "It shouldn't be thick like glue" hehe). If its too thick, add a splash of milk or a little extra apple sauce or oil. Now is when you add in your optional mix-ins - the nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruit, or whatever else you feel like adding.

Bake at 325 until toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry. For the muffins, it took me about 15 minutes and it took about 40 minutes for the large loaf pan, but check back often because you do NOT want to overcook it.

Once you remove the bread from the oven, allow it to sit in the pan for about 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool fully.

Here's what I did this time to make it a"Healthy Nutty Hawai'ian" Banana Bread:

  • I substituted 2/3 cup Whole Wheat flour for the same volume of AP flour
  • I substituted 1/4 cup of splenda for the same volume of sugar and decreased the sugar by a little less than 1/4 of a cup (so to be exact: for my bread I ended up using a little more than 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup splenda, I figured the added fruit would sweeten the bread enough to leave out some of the sugar... and I was right)
  • I added about 1/4 cup old fashioned oats that I had food processed into a very coarse flour (this was to add weight since I was using splenda)
  • I added about 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple to the wet ingredients
  • I added 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut to the batter before baking, and I sprinkled some additional coconut onto the tops of the muffins and the loaf of banana bread before baking
  • I used 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

The bread turned out so flavorful and delicious. I was a little worried that the coconut on top of the bread would get brown or burn but it came out perfectly, just a touch toasted. The bread was just as moist as it usually is and you'd never know that there was whole wheat flour in there! Next time I might even increase the whole wheat flour to 1 cup and I might try to substitute 1/4 cup plain non-fat greek yogurt for 1/4 cup of the oil - I've read that this is an acceptable substitution in a lot of recipes. I would probably add even more walnuts, pineapple and coconut because well, you really can't ever have too much of a good thing :)

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