Apr 16, 2007


I'm always looking for ways to make recipes healthier. It can be done with most things, quick breads included. Qucik breads, by nature, are not healthful. Items like zucchini bread and banana bread and usually the "healthful" selection in a coffee shop - the bran muffin - are not healthful options. Traditional recipes for all of these include plenty of butter and sugar and oil. But it needn't be so. I've got two recipes that I've made recently that use no white sugar, no white flour and minimal oil. You could even leave out the oil and replace with unsweetened applesauce as an option. I took samples to work and got no complaints. The bread was moist, flavorful and not heavy. The muffins were a little less moist but not dry at all and had a hint of almond.

Below I've tried to explain what I did since I only use a recipe as a guide. For the spice and baking powder/sugar I did use the measurements provided. Here are the ingredients and how I put it all together. Keep in mind, each recipe can be bread and muffins.

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

3 ripe bananas -- mashed
2 tbsp vegetable/canola oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups whole wheat flour
honey to taste...a good start would probably be 1/2 cup*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup raisins or chopped nuts, optional. I didn't use any this time. You could also add oats, wheat bran, ground flax seed, etc.

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a large loaf pan (approx. 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 4 1/2) with baking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together mashed bananas, oil, eggs, honey, and vanilla until combined well. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and salt.

Add flour mixture to wet ingredients in large bowl and stir until just combined. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake until top is deeply browned and springs back when touched gently. I set my timer and checked at 35 mins then 45, etc. When the top was as brown as I wanted, I covered it with foil and continued baking until a knife went in and came out clean.

*Spray your measuring cup with non-stick spray first. Makes it much easier to remove the honey.

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins

1 c. organic rolled oats
honey to taste ( I think I used 2 tbsp for a start)
1 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 ripe, mashed bananas
1/4 c. milk
splash of almond extract
originally, the recipe called for 2 tbsp oil. I omitted it completely just as an experiment. I thought things tasted great.

Mix well and bake at 350 degrees until a knife goes in and comes out clean.

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