Sunday, January 13, 2013

Banana Nut Bread, the Healthier Edition: Vegan Sunday Brunch, Episode 28

Good evening, as they say.

Today for brunch, Michael and I decided to bake the same thing, despite being hundreds of miles away - a banana nut bread.  But not just any banana bread, nope, we dressed it up in slightly healthier garments to see what would happen.  And since we both made the same recipe(ish), it's as good as two tests to make sure it works.  Genius, eh?

Mike's lovely golden loaf 

This banana bread has the advantage of being whole-grain (I made mine with spelt flour, and Mike used a mix of whole wheat and all-purpose flour), low-ish in fat (4 tablespoons in the entire recipe) and naturally sweetened (I used agave, Michael used maple syrup).  We then each made our own toppings (mine had a chocolate cashew spread, Michael used butter and maple syrup) to jazz up the bread.  Success!

My less perfect, darker bread - still tasty.

Well, mostly.  The biggest failure was over on my end - I cooked it a little long and it got too dark.  Michael found the cooking time sweet spot, getting his bread nice and golden while still being cooked through and moist.  Pssh, and that guy says he can't bake.

Banana Nut Bread
Makes 1 9-inch loaf

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups spelt flour (or a mix of whole wheat/all purpose flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 ripe bananas
1/2 cup agave (or other liquid sweetener)
1/4 cup applesauce (Mike used apple juice)
1/4 cup melted margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 F and lightly oil a 9-inch loaf pan.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In a blender, blend the bananas, agave, applesauce, margarine and vanilla until smooth.  Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and stir until moistened (but don't over-stir).  Fold in the walnuts, and pour into the prepared loaf pan.  Bake for 35 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes clean.  Let it sit on a wire rack for 10 minutes, remove from the pan, and let it cool another 10 minutes on the wire rack.  Serve warm with butter and/or chocolate spread (see below).

Variation: Maple Pecan Banana Bread

Use maple syrup instead of agave, and pecans instead of walnuts.  Top with butter and maple syrup.

Chocolate Cashew Spread

1/4 cup cashew butter
2 tablespoons agave (or other sweetener)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder

In a medium bowl, mix together until all ingredients are combined.  You might want to gently warm the cashew butter to soften it a little.


Despite being a little healthier than regular banana bread, this came out tasting great - dare I say moist again?  Why is that word such a crime nowadays?  Is it because of that TV show Dead Like Me?  Or maybe that's too obscure of a reference.

Well I've had a nice and mellow weekend - we had some people over at our place for a happy communal meal, I experienced the giant monstrosity of the main Whole Foods branch, and I spent some time practicing Hirigana (an alphabet in Japanese).  Since I'm lucky enough to have a roommate who's half-Japanese, I figure now's the perfect time to study something I've always wanted to study, just for fun.  Maybe I'm super nerdy that way.

Anyway, hope you guys had a great weekend, and I'll catch you on the flip side!

18 comments:

  1. You guys are so freaking cute! Both breads sound delicious and a chocolate cashew spread? Genius! Looks delicious, I'll definitely have to give this a try! I'd like to try it with oat flour, I wonder how that would work?

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    1. I have never used oat flour before, so I have absolutely no idea!

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  2. Hooray for healthy banana bread! I usually go the opposite direction, making mine so decadent that it's really like banana pound cake. I'd sure love a change of pace though, and an option that I don't feel quite as guilty about eating for breakfast. ;)

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  3. I love how you two are doing fun things together over the distance. A bake-along is a great idea. And banana bread is so comforting. Especially slathered with some chocolate spread. And healthy to top it off. Nice work :)

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    1. Thanks Nikki, and it does help to feel more connected!

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  4. I would love this with that chocolate spread! I think that would even cancel out over-baking :)

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  5. Sweet idea to bake the same recipe... did you synch it to make the bread at the same time too? I love banana bread in any and all forms. Well done. I like to imagine you saying "Good evening" in a Dracula voice...

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    1. Yeah, we totally did sync it up. :) And yes! Give me the dracula voice!

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  6. Were you Skype-ing each other at the same time for bonus baking syncronicity? Either way, I'd be pretty made up with either of those loaves.

    This is looking a bit healthy for brunch though - is it too late to deep fry it or something? I'll let you off for the cashew spread though. Wonder if you could deep fry that too?

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    1. Yup, there was simultaneous baking going on. :) And ha ha, you're right Joey, I must be slipping!

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  7. Haha, I remember that show! You two are so adorable - baking the same thing. How cute!

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    1. It was a gooder! And yeah, kind of sickeningly cute, ha ha. :)

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  8. Ummmmm INCREDIBLE. I think I want the maple syrup bread, but the cashew chocolate spread. You two are too cute.

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  9. I don't think Allysia really mentioned her greatest success: I hate cooked fruit in pretty much all its forms, and yet I was devouring this stuff like candy. Delicious, fairly healthy candy. This isn't even her first time getting me to enjoy cooked fruit. In fact, one of the first deserts she made for me was nothing but cooked pineapples and ice cream. And I loved it. The girl is a genie.

    -mike

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    1. I think there was some booze involved in that pineapple dish, so that might have helped, ha ha. :) Also, you're awesome.

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