Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Secret Agent Banana Bread

Yesterday morning I was overcome with the undeniable and sudden craving for banana bread for breakfast. I woke up, opened my new Martha Stewart Baking Handbook (amazing) and found the banana bread. However, as I looked over the ingredients, I realized that about the only healthy thing in banana bread was the bananas themselves! Stocked with bleached  and overprocessed flour, buttermilk, and unhealthy oils, I felt like I was reading a virtual heart attack. I had some extra time and lots of inspiration so I decided to "healthify" this recipe.
P.S. That container in the background is a set of four I proudly purchased at a garage sale. I love their look.
I call it Secret Agent Banana Bread because no one could tell the difference, and you can sneak some healthy ingredients and no one has to know. The new recipe was stocked with whole grain goodness without the gritty whole grain taste (let's all just fess up and admit that sometimes whole grain just doesn't taste that fantastic). I also went out on a limb and added chopped fresh strawberries to add some color and additional flavor. I wasn't sure how they would do, but it turned out great! Next time I will be even more generous with the strawberries since this time since the banana bread flavor drowned out the occasional strawberry. 

Preset the oven to 350. This recipe makes 2 loaves.

3 cups of King Arthur's white-whole-wheat flour (after some research I found that it has the same nutritional value as plain whole wheat flour. See one of the links here.)
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
3 large eggs
2 cups of sugar (if you want to healthify this as well, try using honey, or a substitute sugar. This may change the flavor.)
3/4 cup applesauce (this is a substitute for oil. If you opt for oil, use 1 1/3 cup of canola or veggie oil)
1 1/2 cup of ripe mashed bananas- about 3 medium bananas
1 cup of chopped fresh strawberries
1/2 cup of skim or 2% milk
1 cup of oats (I prefer the bigger grains but whatever you have on hand works)

Spray two bread pans with vegetable based cooking spray, flour the sides, and set aside. 

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt, set to the side. In another bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, and applesauce (or oil). Mix this into the flour mixture, then add the vanilla, banana, strawberry, oats, and milk. Beat just until it is combined. If you over beat this bread, it can make it tough, or much more dense than preferred. 

I love how the strawberries add color.
Pour the batter evenly between the two prepared pans. Bake in the oven for about 60-70 minutes depending on the oven. Rotate the pans halfway through, and when the time is up, insert a cake tester to see if it comes out clean (my substitute cake tester is a skinny chopstick I acquired from a Chinese take-out place). Let cool completely, and when you take them out let them cool,  or slice them up while it's warm! For storage, place the bread in an airtight bag or container. Buon apettito!