*For the people who never manage to find themselves with 4 overripe bananas at once, you can accumulate them more slowly. Take one overripe banana, peel it, wrap it in plastic wrap, and keep it in the freezer until you have 3 more to join it. Microwave all the frozen bananas briefly before mashing (actually, it makes the mashing easier).
Friday, November 30, 2012
Banana bread is one of those things that I totally forget about. I don’t think about it all for months and months until one day, I discover some past-their-prime bananas that somehow escaped my numerous peanut butter sandwiches, or managed to completely avoid my blender full of berries. And really, what else can you possibly do with browning bananas other than make banana bread?
That was my story about a month ago. I’ve made banana bread pretty much every week since. See, banana bread is something that I totally forget about…until I have some. Then I become obsessed. Because it’s just so freakin’ delicious! Plus, there is nothing like baking up a fresh batch first thing in the morning, having the delicious scent of baking fill your kitchen, then sitting down to eat fresh banana bread for breakfast. It’s amazing, and it’s been single-handedly fueling me for most of November.
What I like about banana bread is how much you can customize it. Want some crunch? Throw in a half a cup of chopped walnuts. Want to sweeten it up? Throw some chocolate chips into the batter, or drizzle the finished loaf with a sweet glaze and call it a dessert. For me, I’m usually a traditionalist. I like plain banana bread, celebrating all its banana-y goodness with very little to distract me from the main ingredient. I added chia seeds to this recipe because chia seeds are my most recent obsession and because it adds a good dose of protein, Omega-3’s, and fiber to the mix without taking anything away from the bananas’ center stage. Between that and the whole wheat flour, this is totally a legitimate breakfast (that totally still tastes like dessert).
I also used maple sugar instead of regular sugar. Maple sugar is basically dehydrated maple syrup, so it has all that amazing flavor, but it’s in crystal form and can be substituted in for sugar. I think it gives extra warmth to the bread. Or maybe I just ran out of regular sugar. Either way, I’m totally using it again.
4 ripe bananas (the closer to too ripe, the better)*
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup maple sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup water
1/3 canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chia seeds (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F
1. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.
2. In a smaller bowl, mash the bananas. It’s ok if there are still some banana chunks, just get it to a mostly mashed consistency. Add the oil, water, and vanilla. Mix until incorporated.
3. Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and mix well until everything is incorporated. Finally, add in the chia seeds (or walnuts or chocolate chips if you’re doing either of those) and mix until evenly distributed.
4. Pour batter into a loaf pan and bake at 350F for 40-50 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Allow the bread to cool slightly before trying to remove it from the loaf pan, and serve warm or room temperature.