Cakes, cookies, cupcakes, brownies..oh how I love them all..which is one of the reasons I rarely bake. If they’re in the house, they call my name until every last sugary crumb has been eaten, usually by me. And all that precise measuring and timing, then waiting to see if my efforts paid off..not a big fan. But a couple times a year I’ll get the urge to dust off the KitchenAid and test my willpower.
My baking skills are pretty much limited to chocolate chip cookies, cakes from a box, and banana bread. Baking intimidates me because I’ve always been afraid to alter the ingredients, never knowing what can be left out, decreased, increased, substituted, and so on.
Another challenge with baked goodies is trying to make them healthier. I’ve gotten pretty good at lightening up soups, casseroles, and other savory dishes, but until yesterday I’d never attempted to apply the same tactics to baking. In fact, this banana bread is the first thing (with the exception of cornbread..from a mix, of course) that I’ve baked in over a year. Losing weight and baking just never seemed like a good combo in my self-control challenged world.
There must be hundreds of banana bread recipes floating around on the internet, but I wanted to create something that I could call my own. However, as much as I wanted a baking challenge, I didn’t want to devote a couple of hours to measuring, mixing, and waiting, to only end up with something that would go directly into the trash. So I checked out several recipes to get an idea of the proper ratio of dry-to-wet ingredients, cooking times, and so on, and the one that inspired me the most is this one from SkinnyTaste.
Yesterday was a definite success in the baking department, at least by my and my family’s standards, and that’s really all that matters, isn’t it? The willpower success is still a work in progress, but I didn’t push my limits too far..I sent most of the banana bread to work with my husband and son so that I didn’t have to spend the day resisting the urge to eat it all. But I did keep a piece for myself that I enjoyed this afternoon..it’s even better the second day!
So, enough about my issues with baking and sweets..enjoy the photos, try the recipe, and let me know what you think!
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- ¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup oatmeal (see notes)
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- ⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1.5 ounces (about ⅓ cup) walnuts, coarsely chopped
- Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8×5 loaf pan with coconut oil and set aside.
- Sift dry ingredients into a medium bowl and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine oil, brown sugar, and eggs. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, mix until creamy, about 1 minute. Add applesauce, bananas, and vanilla and mix on low about 30 seconds.
- Add dry ingredients to banana mixture and stir by hand until fully incorporated but do not over-mix. Gently stir in walnuts.
- Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake in preheated oven about 40-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean.
- Cool on a rack 15 minutes. Remove from baking pan and allow to continue to cool to room temperature on rack. Once cooled, wrap in foil and store in fridge or slice and enjoy.