Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Baked Goods #1: Honey Banana Bread

As much as I love cooking, baking has never been my forte.  While I admit to having developed a passable skill of improvising dinner dishes, I've never dared to try my luck at improvising sweets.  There's much more science involved when it comes to baking that I haven't quite grasped and it's been a long time since I've made my way around a chemistry lab.  I still am not quite sure that I understand the difference between baking powder and baking soda.  Nonetheless, as a mom, it's necessary for me to have a few baked goods in my repertoire.  For me, banana bread is just that thing.  

We love bananas in our house and tend to have an overabundance of the potassium-rich fruit on hand at any given time.  Although my children usually make fast work of a bunch, every once in a while a straggler finds itself at the bottom of my fruit basket.  Once it develops those freckles, my kids turn up their noses.  Lucky for me, I know that ripe bananas can be frozen and, when thawed, soften to the nice consistency perfect for banana bread.

This holiday season, I was lucky to have a whole bunch of frozen bananas.  So, naturally, my first day of holiday baking was dedicated to my ever faithful standby.  And this year, I made a few adaptations to make this holiday version a bit more special.  The addition of oat flour here reduces the gluten content while the use of organic honey eliminates the use of processed sugar.  The result is just as yummy and a tad bit healthier.  I will definitely be making this again, and perhaps will try my luck at making this entirely gluten free!  But that will be a post for another day.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this new recipe.  Comments and critiques are welcome!
Honey-Banana Bread

½ c. butter, softened
½ c. honey
2 eggs
2 c. mashed bananas
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. old fashioned oats
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 ¼ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
¼ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 325°.   Cream softened butter and honey together in a mixing bowl (or preferably the box of a stand mixer).  Add eggs, bananas and vanilla extract and mix until all are well incorporated.  Set aside while you work on dry ingredients.

Add oats to a food processor and process oats to create a course powder.  (If you have oat flour, you can skip this step and substitute with the same amount of oat flour.)   Add remaining dry ingredients to the powdered oats and blend together (which can be done in the food processor to save yourself a cleaning step). 

Slowly incorporate dry ingredients into wet ingredients until well mixed.  Spoon batter into a buttered and floured loaf pan.    Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.   This recipe should yield one loaf.

For gift giving, I use baby loaf pans purchased from my grocery store.  This recipe will make 3 baby loaves.  I doubled the recipe to yield 6 baby loaves, each of which I slipped into a printed holiday cellophane gift bag.  I found the gift bags pictured above at Michael's in their baking aisle.  On the underside of each bag, I affixed a label to direct my friends to the honey banana bread recipe here on my blog.  You, however, are welcome to print my recipe on a larger label and make this a gift that keeps on giving.  Happy holidays!

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