RECIPE. Apr 11, 2011

Banana Bread Determination

I’ve become emboldened in the baking department recently. Equipped with a vast array of knowledge that I have accrued over time and the ability to phone a friend if I need to hit the jackpot, I’ve felt less timid about messing around with trusted baked goods. Most recently I have had a deep craving for banana bread. I even purchased very ripe bananas just to let them sit out another week so I could make bread. Usually a person just looks over at their fruit bowl only to realize their bananas have gone bad and then must do a made dash to make good use of them before they turn completely sour. I, on the other hand, intentionally let my bananas get brown and rotted in anticipation of my next adventure.

My first attempt at tweaking a recipe occurred with zucchini muffins and while I was pleased with the results I was a bit of a coward in the substitution department. I didn’t want to royally screw up and have a flat or mushy bread. I have a pet peeve about wasting food and even if it came out terrible I would have to consume it rather than throw it out.

This time, however, I was empowered by my success and decided to significantly up the anti. I wanted to take a banana bread recipe that had already been veganized and increase the healthy flour and decrease the amount of cane sugar and butter fat. I also did not want to sacrifice taste, moisture or complexity of ingredients. You can see the original recipe in the link provided on the side bar.

Upon a friends baking advice I swapped out the 1 cup sugar for 3/4 cup maple syrup, as this is the conversion for substitution for these two ingredients. I then wanted to add chia instead of egg, as the chia helps bring out the flavors of what you are baking while maintaining moisture. I completely omitted the butter with just 1/4 cup canola oil. I could have used 1/2 cup oil as an even replacement for the butter but I had already replaced sugar (dry ingredient) with maple syrup (wet ingredient) so I needed to decrease my wet ingredients to avoid a sloppy mess of bread.

I used a combination of regular whole wheat flour and whole wheat pastry flour because whole wheat flour provides density while the whole wheat white flour provides softness and allows more moisture. The substitution for carob chips is just due to my inability to consume chocolate at this time or else there would be no substitution.

In reflection, I would have omitted the water completely and increased the oil to 1/2 cup or even added another banana and kept the oil at 1/4 cup. I was very pleased with the results but it could have been a bit more moist and lacked just a tad bit of buttery flavor. The candied ginger may seem like an odd ingredient but I beg you not even consider making this recipe without it. In fact, it will be a staple in any banana bread I bake from now on.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan with butter or cooking spray, and set aside. In a large mixing bowl combine maple syrup, canola oil, chia seeds and water. In a separate bowl, mash bananas; then mix with milk.

In another separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add flour mixture to maple syrup mixture in three parts, alternating with banana-milk mixture in two parts, stirring by hand until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips, ginger and optional nuts.

Turn batter into loaf pan, smoothing top with the back of a spoon, and bake for one hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for a few minutes; then remove bread from pan and cool on a wire rack.