Sunday, February 23, 2014

Banana Oat Bread

I had bananas dying a slow death in my fruit basket (but really the second they don't have a tinge of green to the skin, they're too ripe for me to eat plain so I guess they weren't dying by most people's standards) and 4ft wanted to bake something with me so I thought I'd experiment with making a higher protein, healthier banana bread. (insert evil scientist laugh here)

The experiment was a success. 4ft declared this the best banana bread ever and I'd have to agree with him. The banana flavor is intense and the bread is moist, not too sweet, and with just the right density. (if you're looking for super-sweet cake-like banana bread, this is not the recipe for you) The secret to the deep banana flavor is baking the bananas, sweating them, so you can cook down the banana juice which naturally sweetens the bread without adding a lot of sugar and really bumps up the banana flavor. There are a few more steps to making this bread than other recipes, but trust me it's worth the extra effort.

This bread smells amazing while baking and you're going to want to cut into the loaf and start horking it down immediately. Don't do it. Trust me on this. Fresh from the oven, this bread is meh. It's not gross but it's not "oh my gosh this is the most incredible bread ever" either. I know this from experience. I tried it and my heart broke a little. How could something that smells so good taste so meh? I let it cool, remembering that banana bread always tastes better room temp, and tried it again. Holy Banana-moly (new word, yay) I did a little dance and devoured the rest of the piece. So, learn from my mistake -- let it get to room temp, and your taste buds will be blown away. Resist the smell's sirens call and let it cool before eating. You can do it. I have faith.

Banana Oat Bread

2 ripe bananas 
2 TBS coconut oil
1 5.3oz container of banana cream greek yogurt
1 TBS vanilla extract
2 TBS brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup oats (not instant)
1 scoop protein powder
1/2 cup almond flour
1 TBS cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
2.) Place bananas on a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.
3.) Peel banana and pour banana into a fine mesh strainer over a bowl. Stir out all the banana "juice". 
4.) Pour banana into a large mixing bowl, add coconut oil, yogurt, vanilla, brown sugar, and eggs. Mix until well blended with a wire whisk.
5.) Pour banana "juice" into a small sauce pan over medium high heat and cook down by half. Pour thickened "juice" into banana mixture and stir in well.
6.) In a food processor or blender, combine oats, protein powder, almond flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Blend together until its flour like in texture.
7.) Add flour mixture to banana mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until just incorporated.
8.) Grease a 4-up mini loaf pan with nonstick spray and evenly divide the batter between the 4 wells. (You could also make a dozen muffins or use a normal loaf pan but the bake time will be longer for the full-sized loaf)
9.) Bake for 25 minutes or until done (toothpick or knife will come out clean)
10.) Let rest until cool. Trust me on this. Do NOT cut into it while it's hot -- it is SOOOO MUCH BETTER room temp or cold.

Nutritional Info per Serving (makes 12 servings)
Calories: 127
Protein: 6
Fat: 6
Carbs: 13
Sugars: 5

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