low sugar banana bread

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Is it a bread? Or is it a cake? I’m not quite sure. It’s a loaf certainly, but the texture is so light, like a chiffon cake. This recipe contains very little leavening (just a half-teaspoon baking soda), and relies on whipping eggs with sugar to create structure for the banana bread. The method is very similar to the grated apple cake I made last month, which didn’t use any leavening at all and relied on whipped eggs for structure, lightness, and flavor. This recipe is adapted from Chef Joanne Chang’s book Baking with Less Sugar.

Better than Flour Banana Bread

Yield: one 9-inch loaf, 4 6×3-inch loaves, or one 8×8 inch square cake pan

75g/walnuts or sliced almonds, optional
175g/1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon fine salt
3 large eggs
75g/6 tablespoons sugar
70g/1/3 cup rice bran oil or vegetable oil
3 large or 4 medium very ripe, black, spotty, and soft bananas*
90g/6 tablespoons heavy whipping cream (crème fraîche in original recipe; can use plain yogurt)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

*or 4 large frozen bananas, defrosted, and drained of excess water.

Heat oven to 325˚F/165˚C. Adjust rack to the middle of the oven. Butter and flour one 9×5 inch loaf pan or 4 6×3-inch mini loaf pans.

If using, put the nuts on a baking sheet and toast 8-10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool. Chop the nuts coarsely, by pulsing them 2-3 times in a food processor.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, Set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium speed for about 5 minutes or until pale, light, fluffy, and thickened. When the whisk is raised, the batter will fall back into the bowl in thick ribbons.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly drizzle in the vegetable oil. Don’t pour the oil at once, add it slowly so it has time to incorporate and doesn’t deflate the eggs.

In a medium microwave-safe bowl, mash all but one of the bananas thoroughly with a fork. Microwave bananas on high power for 60 seconds or until they are hot. Cool slightly. Add the remaining banana and mash it in.

Using a whisk, whip the whipping cream and vanilla in a small bowl until thickened to the consistency of a thick puree. Add the thickened cream mixture to the cooled bananas.

On low speed, add the banana mixture to the egg mixture until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Gradually fold in the flour mixture and nuts, if using, by hand, gently folding so as not to deflate the eggs. Scrape along the bottom to make sure the flour is combined and there are no flour streaks in the batter.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan(s). Fill the pan(s) just under the rim(s). No worries, the batter will not rise and overflow during baking. Using an offset spatula, smooth the top(s). Shift the pan(s) lightly back and forth on the countertop to dislodge any air bubbles. Run a skewer in a zigzag motion through the center of the batter to smooth it, being careful not to scrape the bottom of the pan(s).

Bake the 9×5-inch loaf 50-60 minutes or until the top of the banana bread is pale golden brown, and springs back when pressed lightly in the center. If your finger leaves an impression, bake for 5 more minutes then test again. Bake the mini-loaves 35-40 minutes on a baking tray. The top of the bread will be flat and will not have the dome characteristic of banana breads made with leavening agents.

Remove the pan(s) to a cooling rack. Using a thin blade, release the sides of the loaf from the pan(s). Turn the pan(s) upside down on the rack. Cool in the pan(s) on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan and slice. Serve at room temperature.

Storing banana bread: bread can be stored, tightly wrapped in plastic, at room temperature for up to 2 days. Or stored in the freezer tightly wrapped in plastic then wrapped in aluminum foil, for up to 2 weeks. Thaw overnight at room temperature.

just plain banana bread

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I’ve been playing around with my favorite recipe for banana bread. I like this recipe because it’s not over-sweet. I’ve added dried cranberries to it and sprinkled toasted almonds and demerara sugar on top. It’s a sturdy recipe. What I changed up this time was instead of shortening I used a third cup of rice bran oil.  The result was a banana bread with a tender moist crumb.

Banana Bread

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup rice bran oil or vegetable oil
2/3 cup superfine sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed ripe banana (2-3 medium bananas)

Preheat oven to 350˚F/175˚C. Grease one 8.5×4.5 loaf pan.

Sift together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.

Cream the oil and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until well-blended. Add one-third of the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Add half the mashed ripe banana and beat until just moistened. Add half of the remaining flour and beat until just combined. Add the rest of the mashed ripe banana and beat until just moistened. Add the rest of the flour and beat until just combined.

Scrape batter into prepared pan. Smooth the top. Tap pan lightly on the counter to dislodge any air bubbles. Bake 50 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.

Cool banana bread 10 minutes in the pan. Then unmold onto a wire rack and cool completely.

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banana “ice cream” with peanut butter and chocolate chips

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I took a break from blogging to visit my family in Canada. I didn’t stop cooking, though; I hosted two dinners. The first menu was Jamaican themed, the second was a low-carb menu. Dessert was off-theme, though, for what is the meal without something decadent to finish;  I made pavlova with fresh berries and cream. Here is another decadent dessert that isn’t calorie laden:  whipped frozen banana with peanut butter and chocolate chips. It looks like ice cream, doesn’t it?

Whipped Frozen Banana “Ice Cream” with Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chips
4 very ripe frozen whole bananas
Greek style yogurt
Honey
Creamy peanut butter
Chocolate chips

Slice the frozen bananas into rounds. Put them into the bowl of a food processor and process until fine. Add yogurt and honey to taste, then process until creamy.
Scrape into a bowl. Add peanut butter and chocolate chips to taste. Combine by hand so that the banana is streaked with peanut butter. Freeze 1-2 hours, then scoop into bowls and eat.  Yum. Makes 2-4 servings.

gluten-free high-fiber breadfruit flour banana bundt cake

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In taste, this cake is similar to cakes made with whole wheat flour. It is dense. But instead of being dry, this cake is moist, tender,  and full of banana flavor. And it can be made entirely by hand. The cake plate and server in the picture are gifts from my mother.

Gluten-Free Breadfruit Flour Banana Bundt Cake
Prep time: 25 minutes
Baking time: 45 minutes

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup superfine sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk
juice of one lime
3 medium very ripe bananas, mashed
1 1/2 cups breadfruit flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, optional
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, optional

Preheat oven to 350˚F/175˚C. Grease a bundt cake pan and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine melted butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time and combine. Add vanilla with the last egg. Set aside

In a medium bowl, combine milk, lime juice, and bananas. Add to butter-sugar mixture.

In another medium bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and cinnamon, if using. Add all at once to butter-sugar-banana mixture. Mix until dry ingredients are just moistened.

Scrape into the prepared pan. Bake 40-45 minutes. Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Unmold and cool completely on a wire cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. If desired, dust the top with powdered sugar.

freezer banana cream pie with whisky sugar topping

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This is a cool treat on a hot summer day: freezer banana cream pie with whisky sugar topping. It’s sweet and crunchy but also cold and refreshing. Creamed frozen banana is like eating ice cream–it’s smooth with that melt-in-the-mouth feel.

Freezer Banana Cream Pie (adapted from Shine Food and Everyday Food)

For the base:
1 1/2 cups crushed digestive biscuit crumbs (can use graham crackers)
1/4 cup butter, melted

For the filling:
3 small-medium bananas
1/3 cup condensed milk
1/4 teaspoon Maldon sea salt or coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup heavy cream whipped until stiff peaks form

For the topping:
3 small-medium bananas, sliced
Whisky sugar or plain demerara sugar for sprinkling

1. In a 9-inch pie plate, mix the crumbs and butter. Press into the bottom and sides of the dish. Bake in a 350˚F/180˚C oven for 12 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2. In the work bowl of a food processor, process the bananas, condensed milk, salt, and vanilla. Fold in the heavy cream. Pour into the cooled crumb base.
Freeze 12 hours.
3. Layer the sliced bananas on top of the frozen filling. Sprinkle whisky sugar on top or just plain demerara sugar. Slice and serve. Keep leftovers in the freezer.

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