Banana Bread: Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Edition

Happy Sunday evening, lovelies! As a cozy way to ease back into this blogging space I wanted to take it back to one of my favorite recipes and one that I’ve been tinkering with over the past few years: banana bread. Wholesome, soft, slightly sweet and packed with as many mixins as humanly possible, banana bread is something that I can now just about make with my eyes closed.

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What’s so special and unique about this recipe is that as my diet and nutritional needs have shifted, so has the recipe. It’s based off of the banana bread my mom always made, one that my brother and I nibbled on, sliced into sticks and ate almost every day after school. As the just-baked smell wafts into the air and I (inevitably) burn my tongue on the chocolate, too impatient for the sufficient cooling time, it takes me back to my sun-soaked and cozy Vermont kitchen. As I began to explore the world of healthy baking, this was the natural choice to experiment with, swapping in vegan substitutions, fruits, nuts and vegetables (things get pretty wild) to find the perfect combo. 

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Through all of this, what has stayed the same is the focus on whole wheat flour, zero refined sugar (and reduced sweeteners in general) and all the random bits that I like to add in at the end (life’s too short for plain banana bread). Since I do like to change it up so often, I wanted to give you the blank slate recipe and then a pick-your-own-adventure of sorts so that you can make the perfect bread for every occasion. If you test it out, comment, shoot me a message or send me a picture, I’d love to see what you come up with! 

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The Basics: Makes one standard loaf or 12 muffins

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 t salt

1 t baking powder

1 t baking soda

3 bananas

.5 cup raw honey or maple syrup

1 t pure vanilla extract

2 eggs

2 T coconut oil, melted

The Process: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a standard loaf pan (or muffin tin). I like to use a coconut or olive oil spray. 
  2. Blend wet: bananas, sweetener, vanilla, eggs and oil (or mix until well combined).
  3. Whisk dry: flour, powder, soda and salt. 
  4. Combine wet and dry, mixing until barely combined. Add mixins. 
  5. Pour into prepared baking dish and smooth top. Bake for 50-75 mins (depending on mixins added, fruit tends to increase baking time over an hour). Remove from oven when an inserted knife comes out mostly clean, with just a few crumbs. 

And to jazz it up… (simply follow the above instructions and add/swap when needed)

Decadent & Chocolate-y

Sub .25 cups of the whole wheat flour for raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder if that's what you have)

.5 cup chopped dark chocolate (I like 85%)

.5 cup chopped almonds 

.5 cup fresh (or frozen) cherries, chopped

.5 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Blueberry Walnut (pictured)

1 cup fresh blueberries (if frozen, thawed)

.5 cup chopped walnuts

1 t cinnamon

Carrot Cake

Replace the oil with unsweetened apple sauce

0.25 cup raisins (soaked in hot water for maximum plumpness)

0.5-1 cup grated carrots (depending on how veg-y you like your bread)

.5 cup chopped apple

1 t cinnamon

.5 t ginger

.25 t cloves

.25 t nutmeg

The Classic

.75 cup chopped dark chocolate

0.5 cup chopped walnuts

Hope you have a lovely rest of your (self care) Sunday, possibly filled with warm banana bread!

xx