Monday, January 28, 2013

Easy & Healthy Banana Bread

I made banana bread this weekend to procrastinate take a break from studying for my exams and to use up some nearly-too-ripe bananas I had. 

Since I don't have a go-to recipe for banana bread, I had to look one up. It took some searching, but I finally settled on this one from Smitten Kitchen. While it called for millet (hence the title of "crackly banana bread"), that's not really something I just have on hand all the time so I omitted it (along with the cloves, since those aren't staples in my kitchen either). So the title doesn't really make sense with my version, so I'll just call this "Easy Banana Bread" because that more accurately describes it.  

Seriously, this had to be one of the easiest things I've ever made. It only requires ONE bowl for prep, which is nearly unheard of in the baking realm in which I dabble. It's always mix the wet ingredients separately from the dry ingredients then slowly add the dry to the wet until just combined (my friend Shooty [not her real name] from high school, who regularly used to make pies with crust from scratch just for the heck of it, taught me to do that). But not with this recipe! No, one large bowl will do, which translates into less dishes to have to clean up later = winning

First gather your ingredients and mash up those 'naners. 

Then whisk in the egg, oil, brown sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Sprinkle the baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg and stir until just combined. Do the same with the flour after. 

Pour it into your greased/buttered loaf pan, drop it on the countertop a few times to get those air bubbles out (another tip I learned from a friend in college). 

Leave it in the oven for about an hour or so, until the toothpick comes out clean from the middle. Cool on a rack and enjoy :)

Condensed version here:

Easy Banana Bread

3 large ripe to overripe bananas
1 large egg
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease / butter a 9x5 inch loaf pan. In a large bowl, mash bananas with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon until smooth with a few tiny lumps remaining. Whisk in the egg first then add the oil, brown sugar, syrup, and vanilla extract. Sprinkle the baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg over the mixture and stir until combined. Stir in the flour until just combined.

Pour the mixture the greased / buttered pan. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean from the middle (approximately 50-60 minutes). Cool loaf in pan on a rack and enjoy!

Tip: According to Smitten Kitchen, the loaves keep well in the freezer wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for about a month. At room temperature, the loaves keep for about a week, gaining moisture each day. 

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