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Banana Bread Recipes, from the healthy to the not so…

Banana bread 3 ways

by Cybele

Heckle and I have become addicted to banana bread. Although, it’s a bit of a misnomer calling it ‘bread’. It’s a delicious cake, but in a bread shape, so we call it bread. I only make it because it’s a great way to use up old bananas, ahem, it’s not that I LOVE it or anything like that. I could give it up tomorrow…
Or I could make a healthier version. The 1 ½ cups of sugar, 125g of butter and 250g of flour in our daily banana bread is not doing us any favours and would be better saved for special treats. I’m not in the market for quitting sugar, diary or wheat, but, as I mentioned in last week’s Oatmeal Biscuit post, I can certainly see the benefits of cutting back on sugar and having a varied diet is always a good thing. So, I pottered around, asked some questions about sugar substitutes and read quite a few different diabetic association recommendations on the matter. If you’d like to read up on my three favourite plant-based sugar alternatives you can read about them here.
And because I have a tendency to get a bit mad scientist about these things, I baked the three different recipes at the same time, so I could taste test them. You may be disappointed to find out that I didn’t wear a blind fold whilst tasting them, but I did think about it ; )

Option 1 – Simple banana breadBanana Bread

One of my all time favourite recipes is based on Stephanie Alexander’s Simple banana cake in The Cook’s Companion (just quietly, this is a brilliant cookbook for anyone who hates waste because the recipes are listed under ingredients).  I also love Desire Empire’s Very Moist Banana Bread.
125g/ 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
1 ½ cups sugar (I like using brown sugar)
2 eggs
1 cup of mashed ripe banana (this is usually 2 large or 3 small bananas and the mushier the better)
A few drops of pure vanilla (or half a teaspoon of vanilla extract or 1 tsp vanilla essence)
250g/1 1/2 cups self raising flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda/US: baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup buttermilk or ½ cup milk and 1 teaspoon lemon juiceBanana Bread
Preheat oven to 180°C or 360°F
Butter a loaf tin (or use Christophe’s great trick of wetting a length of baking paper, scrunching it up and fitting it into the tin, then dry it in the preheating oven for a few mintues.)Banana Bread
Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs, banana and vanilla. Sift dry ingredients together and add to mixture, alternating with milk. Spoon into tin and bake for 45 minutes or until the knife comes out clean from the centre of the cake. Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight tin.
Ps. If you’re making this as a treat, pour some maple syrup over and eat it warm. To die for!

Option 2 – Sugar free banana breadSugar free Banana Bread

This recipe is basically the same, except I switched the sugar for stevia and this means less butter is needed.
100g softened unsalted butter
4 tablespoons stevia
2 eggs
1 cup of mashed ripe banana (this is usually 2 large or 3 small bananas and the mushier the better)
A few drops of pure vanilla (or half a teaspoon of vanilla extract or 1 tsp vanilla essence)
250g/1 1/2 cups self raising flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda/US: baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup buttermilk or ½ cup milk and 1 teaspoon lemon juiceBanana Bread
Preheat oven to 180°C or 360°F
Butter a loaf tin (or see above for Christophe’s great trick with baking paper).
Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs, banana and vanilla. Sift dry ingredients together and add to mixture, alternating with milk. Spoon into tin and bake for 45 minutes or until the knife comes out clean from the centre of the cake. Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight tin.
Verdict: I have to say that this is a tiny bit drier than option 1, but I hardly noticed a difference and in fact, I liked the clean after taste. This is now my favourite recipe.

Option 3 – The healthiest banana bread known to humankindBanana Bread

This seriously virtuous banana bread is dairy, sugar and wheat-free. It could easily be gluten free if you replaced the spelt flour for almond flour and double check your brand of baking powder is also gluten free, as some are and some aren’t.
250g or 1 ½ cup wholemeal spelt flour
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda/ US: baking soda
1 ½ cups or about 3 average to large bananas (the mushier the better), mashed
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 ½ tablespoon stevia
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
A few drops of pure vanilla (or half a teaspoon of vanilla extract or 1 tsp vanilla essence)
6 tablespoons or 60 ml coconut oil
8 tablespoons, ¼ cup or 70 ml coconut milkBanana Bread
Preheat oven to 170°C or 340°F.
Butter a loaf tin (or see above for Christophe’s great trick with baking paper).
Sift flour, baking powder, bicarbonate, salt, cinnamon and stevia into a bowl and add walnuts. In another bowl lightly whisk the eggs and whisk again after adding coconut oil and coconut milk. Add the oil and egg mix to dry ingredients and fold through with the mashed banana. Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and bake for 50 minutes or until the cake tests clean. Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.
Verdict: this tastes good, albeit very healthy and is drier than the other options. So, I ended up toasting it and, well, putting butter on it, which probably defeats the dairy free bit.
Enjoy!
Cybele x

About BlahBlahMagazine

Cybele Masterman (Bele) trained as a beauty therapist, aromatherapist and journalist. After working as all of the above has found herself on a quest for a beautiful and meaningful life that doesn't cost the earth. Follow on google: +blahblahmagazine twitter: @blahblahzine or Instagram: BlahBlahMagazine

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2 comments

  1. Which ever way you eat it, it sure is delicious.

    Carolyn

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