Share the Loaf: Banana Power Bread
My very good friend and fellow mom-in-the-trenches is is having a rough day. Make that a rough week. This is mostly because her 8 month old is currently on some sort of sleep strike, and her 4 year old is being, well, a 4 year old. She is tired. She is stressed. She is hungry.
I thought about making her some sort of really decadent treat, something that would make her feel pampered. Then I thought about it some more, and I concluded that, when your kid won't let you eat a proper meal, what you need is not some sort of over-the-top confection. What you need is something that occupies that magic space between "treat" and "healthy," something that has some legitimate nutritional heft, but also chocolate. And butter. This brought me to one of my old stand-bys: banana bread.
This recipe began life as Maggie's Magnificent Low Fat Banana Muffins. It was named after the university roommate whose mom the recipe originates from. I made it all the time in residence as a way of procrastinating from whatever reading or assignment that I was supposed to be working on. I have continued to make it ever since, tweaking and modifying the recipe over the years to make it healthier, or vegan, or school safe, or whatever I needed it to be that day.
I usually make this as muffins (in which case I bake at 350 for 25 minutes), but somehow a loaf feels more solid and special when you are giving it as a gift.
I hope my friend won't mind, but I couldn't resist cutting the end off for myself.
1/2 cup soft butter or coconut oil
1/2-3/4 cup maple syrup or brown sugar (depending on how sweet you like your banana bread)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 mashed bananas
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup ground flax seed
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/4-1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 375 Fahrenheit.
- Grind pumpkin seeds and oats into a coarse meal using a food processor or blender.
- Cream coconut oil or butter and syrup in a bowl until combined and a bit fluffy.
- Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla.
- Add mashed banana and mix.
- Add your dry ingredients one a time, mixing after each addition, and ending with the flour. Be sure not to over mix once the flour has been added.
- Fold in chocolate chips.
- Pour batter into a 1 lb loaf pan that has been lined with parchment.
- Bake for approximately 60 minutes, until an skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Cool on a baking rack.
- Eat with butter.
1. To make this bread vegan, use coconut oil, and replace the eggs with two table spoons of extra ground flax, mixed with 6 tbs of water.
2. Rather than throwing frozen bananas whole into the freezer, mash them up in groups of three, put them into a medium zip lock bag, and freeze flat. Thaw them briefly in hot water before throwing them into your banana bread recipe.
3. Feel free to replace on of the bananas with 1/3 of a cup yogurt + an extra bit of sugar or syrup.
4. You can also replace half of the butter or oil with natural peanut or almond butter.