Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Banana Bread, Take 1

Last week was definitely an adventure. My knee surgery was scheduled to take place Tuesday morning at 7AM, but due to a minor cold that hadn't subsided, the anesthesiologist decided to call it off. What a day. My parent's drove up the night before from Ventura and had planned to take me back home for recovery. One good thing from that day was that my mom always comes prepared. The false alarm left me with homemade chili, free cereal, apples and lettuce for salad from Ventura's farmer's market, I couldn't complain... until, I realized they left their bananas. Now, I have nothing against plain bananas. It's just that my like for them is seasonal, unpredictable, and inconsistent. Lets just say, I needed to get rid of them, fast.

Plain bananas make me cringe, but I do love banana bread. There are many approaches to take with banana bread: tropical, rustic, nutritional, just to name a few. I like my banana bread dense and not too sweet. I also love a defined banana flavor that rides the palette with each bite. Below is a quick recipe I threw together that came out of the oven just perfect. The flax seed and whole wheat pastry flour help create the density that I was looking for while contributing some healthy fiber. Also, using both a dark brown sugar and a white sugar brings out a richness to the bread, while the plain yogurt and almond milk help maintain its moisture. You could easily use regular milk, white sugar and regular flour for a lighter version.

Breakfast Banana Bread
1/2 cup Dark Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Butter Unsalted
3-4 large ripe bananas, smashed together in a bowl
1/4 cup Almond Milk
1/4 cup plain yogurt (I prefer low fat - adds to the richness vs. a non fat yogurt)
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1/4 cup Ground Flax Seed
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Fine Sea Salt
1/4 cup Raw Turbinado Sugar
1 Reserve Banana, just in case

Preheat oven to 350F
Grease 2 Loaf Pans, and sprinkle with whole wheat pastry flour. In a mixer, combine the sugars and butter on high. Slowly add the mashed bananas, almond milk, plain yogurt and eggs. Turn off mixer once combined.

In a separate bowl, combine the whole wheat pastry flour, ground flax seed, baking soda and salt. Next, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Do not over mix. Once combined, pour into your loaf pans.

Bake for about 45 minutes at 350F. To test if loaves are done, stick a knife or toothpick in the middle of a loaf. If it comes out clean the loaves should be done.

TIP: I like to slice the banana lengthwise in fourths, and place on top of the batter. Next, I sprinkle a couple tablespoons of raw turbinado sugar over the raw banana and batter. Both the banana and sugar add gourmet touch to the loaf, and a nice sweetness to the crust.

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