Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Sorta-Kinda-Almost Good for You Banana Bread

I've spent a lot of time with people in the food biz. Some are all about the fat and sugar - like those crazy Frenchies who developed my culinary school courseload. Others are holier-than-thou, healthy-eating zealots whose single focus hurts my head a little. I've met lots of misfits and ne'er-do-wells for whom the corporate world is just not an option. And luckily, I've met some people who walk the line straight down the middle.

I myself have wavered back and forth for years - one year buying my beloved spouse a membership to the Bacon of the Month club, and the next signing us up for gym memberships and waxing poetic about kale and cherry smoothies. I don't know quite where I am right now, which is exactly how I ended up right here, with this banana bread.

I had black bananas and no white sugar. I had brown sugar, brown rice syrup, corn syrup - just about every other kind of sugar you could imagine from my run-ins with with the healthy eating bunch, but no regular old plain white sugar. So we got to looking around on the Internet, and one of my favorite blogs - Orangette - had something I thought we could work with. Except for the white sugar bit. So I kept playing - liquid sugar here meant more dry stuff there, and we went with a vanilla bean instead of extract. No white sugar means that it's kind of healthy, right? Trace minerals found in the brown sugar and all that? Yes? No?

Whatever. At least I got to use the hammer. Every good recipe should start with a hammer.

For your information, whole nutmegs are found inside of a thin shell (mace) which is also frequently ground up and used as a spice. Here in the States you'll frequently find de-shelled nutmeg, but this fancy stuff came from my darling baby sister, a former resident of the Spice Isle - Grenada.

Banana Bread
3 large bananas, mashed
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 vanilla bean, scraped of seeds
1 1/2 cups chopped toasted walnuts

Banana Bread Topping
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8"x8" square baking dish and then line with parchment. I usually make myself some handles to lift the whole loaf out with.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl), combine bananas, sugars and eggs until well mixed. Add in spices and vanilla bean seeds. I add in the entire bean as well because more seeds inevitably fall out as it gets whipped around by the mixer. Add the flour and mix just until combined. Add walnuts, remove bean and pour into prepared pan.

In a separate small bowl, combine topping ingredients. Sprinkle over the bread evenly and then put the bread in the preheated oven. Bake for 45 minutes or so, until toothpick inserted comes out (mostly) clean. Let it cool if you want. I'm not bossy. Eat it straight from the pan if you like. This is a dense, chewy bread that will last in the freezer for weeks, and toasts up nicely if it lasts that long.

Ours made it till morning - and my husband is allergic to bananas.    


Alisa said...

I especially like these overripe bananas when I make banana bread. Brown sugar makes it really dense and moist too. It looks delicious.

George Tebresco said...

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George Tebresco

Shawn @ I Wash...You Dry said...

MMmmm! That looks so yummy! I love banana bread!

PS- I just signed up for Camp Blogaway, and saw that you'll be attending too! Can't wait to meet you!