Saturday, September 18, 2010

Healthy Banana Bread

Well, I always thought banana bread was healthy- it has bananas in it, doesn't it? Apparently, a standard banana recipe isn't quite as good for you as you think, what with all the butter and sugar. But I have found a recipe that really is healthy. Low in fat, low(er) in sugar, and it has ground flax seeds (you know how I feel about flax seeds) in it!

Anyway, with the weather being as sad as it has been lately, banana bread just seemed like the right thing to make. It has that homey quality, like you could just curl up in a cozy chair with a blanket, some tea, and some banana bread. Banana bread also reminds me of this older lady who lived across from me when I lived in New York- she lived in the basement, I think, but I only knew her as Nana. She made good banana bread. She may have even given us banana bread in little paper baggies at Halloween. But since then, I've always told myself I want to be like that when I'm old. I want to be that little old lady who makes the best banana bread. I also want to be the little old lady that scares the crap out of little kids because they think I'm a witch who will put some voodoo spell on them if they come near my house. Banana bread seems friendlier...

So this week when my mom's new issue of Cooking Light came, I read it cover to cover, and lo and behold, there were four different recipes for banana bread. Say what?! I decided to start with the first recipe- Basic Banana Bread. I hope to try the others soon (Bananas Foster Banana Bread and Peanut Butter Banana Bread- I'll pass on the chocolate walnut one). The recipe looked simple enough and I had a bunch of speckled bananas sitting on the counter, crying out to be used in something delicious.

Delicious indeed. The recipe was very easy to put together and the end result was great. The bread is super-moist and full of fall flavors. It was so yummy, I decided to keep it mostly to myself and not take any in to work (a rarity indeed)...

Basic Banana Bread
from Cooking Light October 2010

1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas
1/3 cup plain fat-free yogurt
5 tbsp butter, melted
2 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
6.75 oz all purpose flour (about 1.5 cups)
1/4 cup ground flax seed (I use Bob's Red Mill and keep it in the fridge)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp allspice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed. Add granulated and brown sugars; beat until combined.

3. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients. Add flour mixture to banana mixture; beat until blended. Pour batter into a greased 9x5-inch loaf. Bake at 350 degrees F for 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan; cool completely. Enjoy!

Note: The recipe includes a glaze, but the bread is moist and sticky as is, so I thought a glaze would be too much.

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