Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Recipe: Whole Wheat Banana Bread

Oh my god, my stomach hurts. No, it is not food poisoning. No, I do not have a stomach bug. Despite all my upcoming finals and pesky presentations, I make time for what matters most: experimenting with and obsessing over desserts. I just ate ¼ of a loaf of banana bread, several different types of baklava, many, MANY brownies, gelato, and a quarter pound cookie. Dessert night rules. Recently, I have been trying to find the perfect whole-wheat banana bread recipe. Baking with whole wheat is often a huge pain, because it does not act like white flour, and most types of whole wheat flours carry with them a weird bitter taste. However, I recently discovered white whole wheat flour at Trader Joe’s.

I initially believed it was some marketing BS, that “white whole wheat flour” was just white flour, but in fact, it is whole wheat, and it is good. Really good. Regular white and whole wheat flours are milled from red wheat. White whole wheat flour is milled from white wheat. It does not have the typical whole wheat taste, but it still has its properties. I do not know the specifics, but, basically, white flour has had the bran and germ from the wheat removed. This makes things made with white flour lighter and fluffier than things baked with whole wheat flour, but it also makes the flour itself much less nutritious! So, when I’m making something like banana bread and want to pretend that I’m being healthy (healthier at least), I use whole wheat flour.

I have tried several whole wheat banana bread recipes, but this one takes the cake. Or bread. Whatever. This whole wheat bread is the closest to white flour banana bread as I've ever had. Yum. Of course, it benefited from my chocolate layer technique, but so do all the banana breads I bake, regardless of recipe. I also ignored all the stuff about the millet, because I don't have time to go find some!

So without further ado, here is the recipe:

Crackly Banana Bread
(From Smitten Kitchen)

3 large ripe-to-over-ripe bananas
1 large egg
1/3 cup (80 ml) virgin coconut oil, warmed until it liquefies, or olive oil
1/3 cup (65 grams) light brown sugar
1/4 to 1/3 cup (60 to 80 ml) maple syrup (less for less sweetness, of course)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
1 1/2 cups (180 grams) white whole-wheat flour (or flour mixture of your choice, see Note up top)
1/4 cup (50 grams) uncooked millet

Preheat your oven to 350°F and butter a 9×5-inch loaf pan. In the bottom of a large bowl, mash bananas with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon until virtually smooth but a few tiny lumps remain. Whisk in egg, then oil, brown sugar, syrup and vanilla extract. Sprinkle baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves over mixture and stir until combined. Stir in flour until just combined, then millet.

Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake until a tester comes out clean, about 40 to 50 minutes. Cool loaf in pan on rack.

Here are my pictures of me putting pieces of the chocolate layers in and a picture of the finished product. I forgot to take a picture until like 30 minutes after it came out of the oven, and by then my housemates and I had almost finished it!

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