Banana Bread

Do you remember when I wrote that I was going to try to give up most refined sugars this year? Oh, wait? You don’t? You must have missed that entry. It might have had something do to with the fact that I didn’t post it. I couldn’t quite bring myself to write it because I didn’t understand it yet – oh, and writing it down makes it real. Then again, so does buying all this stuff:

Natural Sweeteners

So the really short version is that I’ve become convinced that sugars are something I want to be eating a whole lot less of. I’ll get into it when I get around to writing my epic entry on food. For now, suffice it to say that I went to Sprouts and Trader Joe’s and bought myself some honey, stevia, and agave. I told myself that eventually I’d get around to figuring out how to use them, but then I saw this:

Bananas

About that time, eh?

So off I went, scouring the internets for gluten free, casein free, soy free, and sugar free banana bread recipes – and I found many. Just as I was endeavoring to combine said recipes into one trial-run recipe, I found this recipe. Hurrah! Success! I’ve found a recipe that meets all my requirements! Off to the kitchen, she cried. And then my son cried, and everything was put off until the next day.

When I awoke, I could swear I was smelling banana bread. The memory of that smell is so powerful, even after years without it. I know that my 19 year-old brother feels much the same – except that he can still have the original.

So what was a girl to do except crank up ye olde incinerator oven, gather together the ingredients, and start baking?

Here is the recipe, as modified by yours truly (because I can never leave well enough alone). It occurred to me only after I’d baked it that it might be a bit too “spicy” for my son – who after all was going to be the first tast tester. Perhaps if I had left the original spice specifications, he would have liked it better.

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

(Gluten, Casein, Soy, and Sugar Free) based on Gluten Free by Nature

1/3 liquified cup coconut oil and/or ghee 1/2 cup agave nectar 2 eggs, room temperature                                                                                                                                                                         1 3/4 cups mashed banana (the original recipe called for 3 bananas, but I found that 4 yielded about 1 1/2 cups)             1 tsp vanilla 1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp each: ground cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice (alernatively: pumpkin pie spice mix)
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum (as my GF mix already contains xantham gum, I omitted this entirely)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups Gluten Free Flour Mix

  1. Preheat your oven to “moderately hot,” also known as 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cream together oil and/or ghee, agave nectar and eggs. When they are light and fluffy, add the bananas, vanilla,  and spices. Blend until bananas are incorporated.
  3. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and xanthan gum. Slowly add this to the wet ingredients until smooth. Let sit 10 minutes.
  4. Pour into loaf pan that has been oiled.
  5. Bake 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out of center clean.
  6. Let cool in pan for a few minutes, then remove to a wire rack.
  7. Allow the bread to cool before you slice it. I failed. FAILED.

My first modification was that I combined ghee with coconut oil, as the latter is rather costly. Both were still solid, so I simply stuck the KitchenAid’s mixer bowl into the oven during the early preheating stage.

Ghee and Coconut Oil

Incidentally, this was also the maiden voyage of one of my Christmas gifts, a Pampered Chef mini loaf pan. As I wasn’t sure how much this would rise, I filled three of the four pans, which worked out just about perfectly:

Before

After

Minor quibble with the Pampered Chef stoneware:

Clean Up

See all that icky gunk left afterwards? Yeah, I’m looking forward to that not happening when the thing is a bit better “seasoned.” After several goes at it with the little brown plastic scraper Pampered Chef provided, I squeezed any remaining dish soap out of my regular kitchen scrubbie and used that. Muuuch easier. I may need to set aside a scrubbie to use just for the stoneware, as I also got another (regular-sized) loaf pan.

Banana Bread Cut Open

Incidentally, I had been concerned when I saw 1/2 cup agave nectar. Firstly, this was half the bottle I’d purchased. Mainly, though, as another sugar-free banana bread recipe called for no sweetening beyond the banana itself, I was worried it would come out waay to sweet. I was already planning the follow-up series to this post, in which I made the bread again, with less agave. And then I tasted it. See how dark that loaf is? See how it isn’t in the original version? That’s likely due to all the spices. In the future, I’d cut back on those … becuase the loaf wasn’t sweet at all. I was even pondering putting some sweetened fruit preserves on top, though of course that would ruin the whole “no sugar” business.

Regardless, my taste tester seemed to think it was edible.

Nikolay Banana Bread

And in the end, isn’t that all that matters? Of course, he’s such a banana fiend that he might well get this for his first birthday cake. That, or a banana cream pie.

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