Make, Jane, make!: Covert Recipes: Banana Bread


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Monday, March 14, 2011

Covert Recipes: Banana Bread

To be up front, I don't really agree with hiding food in order to trick or connive children into eating stuff. I do believe in squeezing as much nutritional value into a given food/meal as possible. You could argue that it's semantics or a sliding scale of trickiness, but I just want to be honest with my children about what they're eating. So although I will chop up my veggies extra small to make removing them from fried rice that much harder (and would you believe that my three year old can sometimes still eat all the rice out of fried rice?!?) I probably wouldn't make a habit of pureeing food to sneak it into other foods.

That being said, here is a super tasty recipe for banana bread that I've been tweaking over the years. It evolves all the time to include ever more healthful ingredients, but it always has to meet the hubby taste test -  he still doesn't want to believe that wifey is no longer using white flour most of the time.
Note: I said healthful, not low fat or sugar free. My kids are pretty skinny and my pediatrician has given me the go ahead to feed them as much butter and cream as I want:)

And yes, the blacker the better! In fact, the top banana is a little too yellow for my taste... it's just that someone keeps eating my banana bread bananas before they can get black and mushy.

Even Better Than Regular Banana Bread   Makes: 24 muffins or 2 small loaves

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup quinoa flour*
1/4 cup (or more) wheat germ
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup butter, melted (or vegetable oil)
3/4 cup honey (may add additional 1/4 cup sugar if you like your bread sweet)
3 eggs
1-2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 large overripe bananas

1/2 cup yogurt

Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease or spray your baking pans.

In a medium bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients (whole wheat flour, quinoa flour, wheat germ, flax seeds, baking soda, salt). Set aside. Sometimes I have fun adding cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom, ground ginger, or other spices. Usually I just make the basic, and let the bananas shine through.

In your mixing bowl, beat together the butter/oil, honey and additional sugar (if desired). Once mixed, add your eggs one at a time and throw in a big splash of vanilla.

If you're using a stand mixer or hand mixer, you can add your bananas in whole. On the other hand, if you're mixing by hand or if you prefer a really uniformly textured bread, then mash your bananas first before adding them to the mixer bowl. Mix until everything is uniformly incorporated.

Slowly stir in your reserved dry ingredients alternately with the yogurt (i.e. half your dry stuff, the yogurt, then the rest of the dry stuff). You don't need to mix much, just so that there are no more dry flour chunks. You could definitely fold in some nuts or raisins or sunflower seeds or blueberries or coconut or whatever at this point. Sadly, we no longer eat banana walnut bread anymore because of the constant threat of food taxation by a baby who is still nut-free.

Divide up the batter into your prepared pans. And bake for about an hour if making loaves or 20-30 minutes depending on the size of your muffins.

They're ready when your kitchen smells wonderful and the tops look gorgeous and brown like so. (You could also stick a toothpick in and see if it comes out: Dry with some crumbs = done. Or wet with batter = not done.)

You can see that I do not even try to scoop uniform amounts of batter. I'm just not that kind of baker :P 

Let them cool for a bit in the pan for a bit. A loaf can be tipped out of the pan and cooled on a cooling rack fairly quickly. I find muffins always need a little bit more time in the pan before they can be moved without losing their tops.

Enjoy the tasty goodness. Immediately with some melting butter. Tomorrow, after the flavours have melded. Or reheated from frozen, when you want some baked goodness without the fuss at a later date.

*Found organic quinoa flour for a very good price at my local bulk food store

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