Thursday, November 14, 2013

Healthy Banana Bread (Grain-Free)

I promised you a banana bread recipe.

Here it is!

I'm a huge lover of banana bread, have been my whole life. Now a lot of banana breads are unfortunately, in my opinion, really dry and flavorless. I've perfected my version of this warm fall/winter loaf over the years, adding more cinnamon and nutmeg, more bananas to keep things moist, walnuts, chocolate chips (I mean, banana and chocolate, come on) and a sugary crust on top. It's to die for.

But I'm actually not here to share that one with you. Sorry!

That one I actually haven't made yet this year, and am trying to hold out on doing so. As you can imagine, it's pretty carby and sugary, and not very healthy at all. It's a great treat, but ends up getting eaten for breakfast and snacks until the whole thing is gone in less than 24 hours. I wanted to stay away from that, but I can't shake my annual fall banana bread baking/eating craving completely - especially when there are two sad-looking brown bananas sitting in the fruit bowl begging to be mashed up and bread-i-fied.

So for this recipe, I swapped out wheat flour for nut flour, cut the chocolate chips from half a bag to only a few teaspoons, removed the walnuts (nut flour is nutty enough so you don't need the extra crunch), and traded my usual refined brown and white sugar for unrefined, all natural coconut palm sugar. I also used grapeseed oil instead of canola oil or butter, since it's a healthier fat.

The result was delicious (note: that piece up there looks a little smooshed because I couldn't wait more than 5 minutes to cut a piece and eat it, warm with a smear of butter). I'm not going to lie and tell you I liked it better than my chocolate chip sugary crust loaf, but I could eat it guiltlessly for breakfast with a little peanut butter, and it honestly is really moist and flavorful. It's also gluten free if you're into that. Unfortunately it still disappeared in 24 hours, so I'm probably going to have to make another one on Sunday.

Grain-Free Healthy Banana Bread

Makes 1 loaf

2 cups almond flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup organic coconut palm sugar
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup agave nectar (may substitute honey or maple syrup)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup grapeseed oil or other flavorless oil
2 eggs

Topping (Optional)
1 tsp. coconut sugar
3 tsp. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and sugar. Set aside

In a separate bowl, combine mashed bananas, agave nectar, milk, oil and eggs. Whisk well to combine. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir to combine; do not over beat.

Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan. Top with remaining coconut sugar and chocolate chips, if desired. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool for about 10 minutes before slicing.

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