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From The Aid Station: Whole Wheat Banana Nut Bread

Posted Jan 31 2011 12:00am
I love bread.  Bread, bread, bread - here it goes down, down into my belly.


I have a wicked addiction to all things carb-related, but bread by far takes the top spot.  It can be the basis of a quick breakfast, the ends of a tasty sandwich at lunch, a soft, poofy companion to a dinner, or as a quick snack before, after, and/or during any meal of the day.  (That's right, I'd snack on bread while I eat a meal. I like snacks.)

Today's recipe features one of my very favorite breads: banana nut bread.  Moist and delicious, banana nut bread is the Grandmother of the Bread Family.  Like any good Grandmammy, a nice loaf of banana nut bread will be pretty nutty, a bit squishy, and as comforting as a big bear hug.  However, just as a Grandma can hide fat, calories, and extra sugar behind her warm and charming demeanor, so, too, can a loaf of seemingly "healthy" banana bread harbor all kinds of sneakiness: tons of oil, lots of white sugar, too many eggs.

Hence this revised, more healthful recipe for Whole Wheat Banana Bread.  I love this recipe because 1) It trades white flour for whole wheat, an easy switch that yields more fiber (a.k.a, it'll keep you full longer and it'll create more...ahem... regularity)
2) It uses lots of yummy unsweetened applesauce in lieu of oil - still very moist without the added fat and calories
3) It allows you to do something with those blackened bananas that have been sitting on your counter otherwise awaiting a slow and painful death
4) It's a tasty alternative to the plain "bread-and-butter" side dish at dinner and goes great with a salad, soup, and is even great all by itself.

Whole Wheat Banana Nut Bread: makes 1 9x5 loaf
3/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
1/2 c. light brown sugar
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. mashed ripe banana (I used 3 large)
1/4 c. blue agave sweetener*
2 large eggs
2 c. whole wheat flour**
1/2 c. chopped walnuts

*blue agave sweetener can be found in the organic/natural food aisle of most grocery stores.  I get mine at Trader Joe's.  It's a low-glycemic version of honey or white sugar, and a great replacement for those ingredients. 
**if the sound of all whole-wheat just freaks you out, you could always do a 50-50 mix of that and white flour.  Gradually increase your use of whole-wheat to get used to the change.

Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly grease a 9x5 (I used 8.5x5, and it worked fine.  Weird Calaphalon size.)

Beat together the applesauce, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth

Add the mashed banana, blue agave, and eggs and beat again until smooth:

Add the flour and nuts, and stir by hand until smooth, then spoon batter in the prepared loaf pan:

Let batter rest in pan for 10 minutes.  You could possibly clean up the kitchen at this point, but I sat with Kevin in front of the TV, and we licked the batter bowl clean instead.

Bake the bread for 50 minutes, then remove and cover lightly with a piece of foil.  Bake 10-15 minutes more, or until the top is slightly browned, and a knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.  I let mine cool for about 10 minutes in the pan before turning out onto a rack to finish cooling ::wipes drool from mouth::
Slice a hunk off while it's still a bit warm and spread with butter or enjoy as is.  Kev likes his with butter, so here it is in all of it's buttery goey goodness:
Mmmm, mmmm, goooooood.
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