Sometimes there are foods that you take one bite of then unconsciously close your eyes and mutter “mmmmm.” This is what happens to me when I eat banana bread..but not just ANY banana bread because my standards are kind of high when it comes to this food. The bread has to be dense with a bit of natural (highly important!) sweetness and some crunch from the toasted walnuts sprinkled on top. This combination is a winner in my book of baked goods.
I do not consider myself a baker nor a connoisseur of any food in particular, I just know what I like to eat. Like most people, I used to buy the boxed mix just to get my fix, but once I made this bread from scratch using real bananas and other real food ingredients (thank you Cooking Light magazine for your 2009 issue dedicated to banana bread recipes!), I vowed never to go back using the quickie, mystery-ingredient boxed stuff. Making it myself not only made me feel better about what I was eating, it tasted better and it met every banana bread criteria of mine.
This recipe is adapted from Cooking Light’s Molasses-Oat Banana Bread recipe. Rather than throwing away bananas that have over ripened, I toss them into the freezer then use them in this recipe. The natural sweetness from the fruit allows for less added sugar. You can use real maple syrup or honey as the main sweetener; I’ve tried both and either works well so just use whatever you have on-hand. Comparing the two, I prefer the syrup a bit more than the honey, but the difference is subtle. This recipe calls for fiber rich whole grains like oats and whole wheat flour and high omega-3 fatty acid walnuts and ground flaxseed making this a nutrient rich and satisfying indulgence.
I love to eat a slice of this pan warmed with a little light smear of butter and a cup of coffee. A mouthwatering treat perfect for any time of day!
Yields 1 loaf, 14 servings
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup regular oats
1 teaspoon balking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon applesauce
1/3 cup honey or real maple syrup
2 large eggs (to drop the cholesterol content, use 1 whole egg and 1 white)
2 ripe bananans, mashed
1/3 cup plain non-fat yogurt or vanilla yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (exclude if using vanilla flavored yogurt)
1/2 – 2/3 cup chopped walnuts
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spoon flours into dry measuring cups and level with a knife. Combine flours, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and ground flaxseed and stir with a whisk.
3. Place sugar, butter, applesauce syrup (or honey) in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana, yogurt and vanilla (if using); beat until blended. Add flour mixture and beat at low speed just until ingredients are blended and moist.
4. Spray the bottom of an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with cooking spray then pour batter into the pan. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
5. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack then remove from pan to cool completely.
Thank you to Californa Walnuts for donating this sample of walnuts to use in my recipe!