Monday, September 16, 2013

Sinfully Delicious Banana Bread

I'll be the first to admit; I don't bake very often. Part of it is baked goods are generally not the healthiest, and making Tiny-Tummy-friendly baked goods takes a lot of manipulating. The second part of it is I prefer to cook and develop my own recipes, adding a little extra this here, and a little extra that there, as opposed to following a recipe with a magnifying glass as baking requires. Having taken a class on food science, I understand how baking works far better than I once did, so I know what manipulating the recipe will do to the final product. The following recipe is NOT Tiny-Tummy-friendly, but it was just about my favorite baked good growing up, so I thought I'd share it with you. I will do my best to give you the real version of the recipe, followed by a healthier version of different ingredients in parenthesis, and I will explain what each manipulation will do to the final product. I don't suggest making ALL of the healthy swaps if you are looking for a true, baked-good because the more changes you make, the less indulgent it will taste (DUH!), but here goes!

To make this Sinfully Delicious, I-Want-To-Eat-The-Whole-Loaf Banana Bread, you will need,

1/2 cup butter at room temperature (or 1/2 cup apple sauce, though it may effect the flavor of your final product)
1 2/3 cup of sugar (you could reduce this by about 25% without changing much of the final product)
2 eggs, (sub egg whites, though the yolk aids in leavening and flavor)
3 large preferably over-ripe bananas, mashed
4 tablespoons fat-free sour cream
1/4 teaspoon of salt (salt effects the crumb, so be warned if you omit it)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups flour (sub whole wheat flour, though whole wheat flour inhibits the gluten from developing, so the texture will be altered, and whole wheat flour tastes a little different than white flour. You could sub 1/2 of the flour for whole wheat flour if you're reluctant)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chunks (optional, but highly recommended. If you're making other changes to the recipe, keep the chocolate because really, who will notice the whole-wheat taste of lack of butter if their mouth is oozing with melted chocolate?!)

To prepare, start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and spraying your loaf pans with non-stick spray. Then, cream together the butter and the sugar. Then, lightly beat the eggs, and add them to the butter/sugar mix along with the mashed banana, sour cream, salt, baking powder and baking soda, and mix well. Finally, add the flour (gradually) along with the vanilla and chocolate chunks until you have a nice, even batter. Spread the batter into your load pans, and bake for an hour. If you have a strong oven, keep an eye on it- you don't want to let it get too brown on top! If you want, you could make this recipe into muffins by separating the batter into muffin tins, but adjust your baking time to about 40 minutes (though again, if you have a strong oven, keep an eye on them, as they may require a little less cooking time).

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