In my last post, I mentioned that I bought some bananas for the express purpose of making banana bread. First, a confession. I only made my first loaf of banana bread a month ago. Since then, however, I’ve been talking about it as if I make it all the time. But I swear I am not a fraud–this recipe is delicious, ask any of my friends who have tried it. So what’s the reason I can sit here and type this post with any kind of authority on the matter of banana bread? The answer: The Gourmet Cookbook‘s banana bread recipe.
In February, my friend Jake and I were bored, tired, and hungry–the three things that plague all college students even as we have stacks of reading and pages of writing to do, right? Right. Anyway, Jake has a great starting collection of cookbooks, so we pulled out the bright yellow volume, edited by none other than the fabulous Ruth Reichl. After flipping through it for a couple minutes, we decided to try the banana bread recipe. It wasn’t anything I had ever eaten before (though I wasn’t an experienced banana bread baker at that point, I definitely had a few loaves under my belt as an experienced banana bread eater. Pun intended, unfortunately.) The recipe had macadamia nuts and coconut flakes in it–two things that neither of us wanted or had to put in the bread. We settled on being semi-adventurous and kept the lemon zest in the recipe. And then we got to work!
That was the first time I made banana bread, and this is the third time I’ve baked it. I’m still not a b-bread baking expert by any means, but I think I’ve found my favorite version in that Gourmet Cookbook recipe sans nuts and coconut. This time around I decided to try applesauce as a fat substitute for a healthier, nearly fat-free bread. The only fat in it came from the egg and the tablespoon of low-fat yogurt. Not bad, eh? I also added an extra half of a banana for more flavor.
I can’t tell you how much I love the smell of fresh-baked banana bread. It filled my house with sweet-scented warmth. The bread itself was incredible: moist, steamy, and chock-full of bananas. For a household that isn’t much into sweets, that banana bread was transformative. I baked it before lunch and it was gone before dinner.
I figured I’d stay in line with the healthy theme of the bread and melted a square of dark chocolate on top. It’s a better alternative to butter because it has antioxidants in it. This still doesn’t beat a bag of spinach in the war against diabetes, but it’s one of the best things I’ve ever tasted, and I’m sure you’ll love it too.
Ingredients for low fat banana bread (adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook)
1 1/8 cup flour
3/8 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/8 cup applesauce
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp lemon zest
2.5 large bananas mashed
1.5 tsp low-fat plain yogurt
Makes one loaf
1. grease and dust pans w/flour
2. preheat oven to 350 degrees
3. sift together dry ingredients
4. beat applesauce (original recipe is 3/4 stick butter) and sugar in bowl, add eggs one at a time, add bananas, add vanilla, add zest, mix in yogurt
5. add dry ingredients. avoid overmixing
6. bake for 45-50 minutes
7. remove bread from pans and cool