Healthified Desserts 101, Part 2: Whole-Wheat Banana Applesauce Bread (Vegan, No Added Sugar)

Happy Wednesday!

I had so much fun yesterday co-facilitating the healthy desserts cooking club/class at our local senior center! This is the second recipe I brought for them to try (see previous post for the cranberry coconut cookie I also brought), and it also happened to be free of added sugar or artificial sweeteners.

I love this banana bread because it is perfect for breakfast, lunch, or a snack. You can eat in plain, top it with jam, or even use two slices to make a nut butter sandwich! I am actually enjoying some of this bread right now as I type this blog up during my lunch break. It’s not the most photogenic food, but it tastes awesome!20150204_110607

The best part of this bread is that it stays moist for days because of all the bananas and applesauce! Similar to the applesauce in the cookies I wrote about a few days ago, the added fruit adds sweetness without using any granulated sugar to syrup. Bananas are also an excellent source of potassium (electrolyte balance) and a good source of vitamin B6 (energy metabolism). I also used vanilla and spices for some extra flavor.

Whole-Wheat Banana Applesauce Bread

The focus of this healthified dessert will be whole-grains. Whole-grain foods, such as whole-wheat breads and pasta, oatmeal, and brown rice provide fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants, and vitamin E in our diets. To make a long story short, eating more whole-grains can reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

In this recipe, two forms of whole-grains are used. The batter is made with whole-wheat flour instead of white flour, and the top of the bread is sprinkled with oats. Here are some tips on making the whole-wheat switch when it comes to baking:

  • In most cases, you can swap out every 1 cup of all-purpose flour and substitute with 3/4 to 1 cup of whole-wheat flour. The result is usually a denser and heavier baked good, but still delicious!
  • If taking out all the white flour doesn’t work for you, take baby steps. Try replacing only half the flour in a recipe with whole-wheat flour.
  • If the original recipe calls for cake flour or pastry flour, try subbing with whole-wheat pastry flour instead of plain whole-wheat flour. Pastry flour will result in a softer, more tender, dough. Check out this article on the differences among various types of flour.
  • For a gluten-free, whole-grain option, sub with gluten-free oat flour. You can make your own oat flour by pulsing gluten-free oats in a food processor until the grains are about the same size as flour.

Now, onto the recipe:

Recipe: Whole-Wheat Banana Applesauce Bread

20150204_110559

Adapted from Mama Papa Bubba

Makes one 9 x 5 loaf (15-18 servings)

  • 3-4 ripe medium bananas, mashed
  • 2/3 cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 chia seed eggs*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Oats, for sprinkling

* 1 chia egg= 1 Tbs of chia seeds + 3 tbs of water. Wait until a gel forms (10-15 minutes) before adding it to your dough. Feel free to use an actual egg if not vegan.

Mine came out a little flat. Next time I make it, I will use whole wheat pastry flour and perhaps more baking powder.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Mix together banana, applesauce, eggs, vanilla, and water until creamy.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Gradually add dry mixture to wet ingredients, mixing well. Pour batter into a gently oiled and floured 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle top with oats.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool before slicing.

This bread will stay moist for days if wrapped tightly before putting in the fridge. You can also stick a piece of plain bread on top of the loaf to protect the loaf from drying out.

Coming up next on this blog: The last of the healthy desserts series, featuring this amazing chocolate avocado cake with mint avocado icing! All the seniors in the class I taught yesterday asked for seconds to take home! I really wish I hadn’t given the rest away to my co-workers…..Chocolate Avocado Cake from Avocado Alice

Want more updates? Check out my Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook pages for more! Thank you for reading.

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