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!
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.
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
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.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Mix together banana, applesauce, eggs, vanilla, and water until creamy.
- 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.
- 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…..