Healthful Banana-Nut Bread

This week, I stumbled across one of Liz’s sumptuous pastry recipes on her blog, My Favourite Pastime. She makes a decadent and heavenly banana walnut loaf. Liz is a precise and skilled baker! Her gorgeous recipe inspired me to perfect my own recipe for a healthy, whole-grain banana-nut bread.

The Curls and Carrots banana-nut loaf is tender and moist, slightly sweet and sports a slight crunch from walnuts. Plus, it’s super salubrious!

DSC_1537The recipe uses 25% more banana than traditional banana breads, increasing the fruit content – we all know fruit is good for us! Fruit lends natural sugars to the recipe, so less processed sugar is needed. Here, Greek yogurt adds protein and keeps the bread moist while reducing the overall fat and cholesterol counts.

Delicate, whole wheat pastry flour add vitamins and fiber without imparting an overwhelming, unpleasant “wheat” taste. Soluble fiber from whole-grain oats help reduce one’s cholesterol – and their unique savor adds another layer of flavor to the dish. Satiating walnuts, rich in omega-3 and 6 acids, contribute protein and “healthy fats” that support one’s heart-health.

Moderate nut consumption – and a diet high in fruit – have been shown to aid in weight control. This bread provides both and is a salubrious start to your day.

I adore the rich, buttery aroma that permeates the house while banana-nut bread bakes. It is such an intoxicating and soothing fragrance. Let baking commence!

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Make sure all of your ingredients are room-temperature.

First, cream the bananas until smooth.

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Whisk in the Greek yogurt…

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…and the melted, cooled butter.

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Whisk in the vanilla and almond extract – I have an affinity for the latter.

The almond is reminiscent of sweet marzipan, common in all Spanish Pastelería.

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Add the light brown and white granulated sugar.

Brown sugar adds a hint of molasses; White keeps the pastry light and fluffy.

Thank you, Univerity of Ina Garten at Barefoot Contessa.

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Mix in the first egg…

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…and then the second.

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Slowly add the flour-oat-leavening-spice mixture until completely incorporated.

Do not over-mix.

DSC_1526 Scrape down the sides of the mixer and stir slightly with a spatula.

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Mix in the roasted, chopped walnuts.

DSC_1528    Lightly butter a loaf pan and pour in the batter.

Bake until buttery and golden outside – and rich and “suave” inside.

“Suave” means soft in Castellano. This prompts memories of delectable “torta” and “pan” characteristic of Madrid – particularly my beloved “suizo.” I devoured the “pastel” each day in transit (on foot- this is Europe!)  to “La Universidad.”

Oh, I digress.

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When cool enough to handle, remove the loaf from the pan and cool on a rack.DSC_1538

Immediately slice a piece and devour, reveling in each scrumptious bite…

Snu Magoo and Littlest Guy would like to note this loaf kid tested and approved!

Thank you, Liz, for being our baking muse. Your blog is fantastic.

Be well – and eat well,

Shanna

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Print

Healthful Banana-Nut Bread

So delicious – and so nutritious! Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine.

Ingredients:

3-4 overripe bananas (1 1/2 cups when mashed)

1/3 cup 0% Greek yogurt

1/4 cup salted butter or Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, melted and cooled

1/3 cup packed, light brown sugar

1/3 cup white, granulated sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp pure almond extract

2 large eggs

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)

2 Tbsp. old fashioned oats (optional)

3/4 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. fine salt

1/2 tsp. each: nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom

1/2 cup chopped, roasted walnuts or pecans

cooking spray, for loaf pan

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F or 177°C.
  • In an electric mixer, on medium speed, whisk the bananas until creamy and completely smooth.
  • Whisk in the yogurt until incorporated.
  • Whisk in the butter until incorporated.
  • Whisk in the brown and white sugar until incorporated.
  • Whisk in the vanilla and almond extract.
  • Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
  • With the mixer on low-speed, slowly incorporate the flour mixture into the banana mixture until both dry and wet ingredients are uniform.
  • Scrap down the sides of the mixer with a spatula and gently stir, if necessary. Do not over mix the batter.
  • Stir in the nuts.
  • Spray the entire surface of a standard, 9×3 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
  • Pour batter into pan. Sprinkle the top with the oats.
  • Bake for about an hour – until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  • Remove the loaf from the pan when cool enough to handle.
  • Cool the loaf on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

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©Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, shannaward.com (2013), unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author, Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, and/or owner is strictly and completely prohibited.

 

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34 thoughts on “Healthful Banana-Nut Bread

  1. Your bread looks so moist and delicious! I love your healthy version of banana bread! Already bookmarked the recipe 😀 It’s great how you used more bananas and less processed sugar while still keeping the bread sweet.

  2. I thought it was still in the oven, you mean it was long baked, sliced and probably gobbled up. I wish I could taste a warm slice with some butter melting on it. it looks overly moist and delicious and having been approved by Snu and Littlest Guy, what more can I say? Thank you very much Shanna for all the kind words, about me and my favourite pastime,,, I truly appreciate. I wish you a fabulous Sunday!

    1. My family always puts butter on warm banana bread. Isn’t it delicious that way? I am glad that you stopped by. Thank you for your warm words. I am looking forward to reading (and bookmarking) probably all of your recipes. 🙂 Have a fun and fantastic day!

      1. The weather is so good today. Nice, warm and soft sunshine. Great for taking blog photos. I am trying not to bake today….will cook some rice or make a salad. Warm banana bread and butter…so good. Have a wonderful week! Xoxo to the taste testers!

      2. That sounds like a perfect day to be outside – and definitely to take some photos. Enjoy your cooking! Nothing sounds better than a sunny day and a kitchen filled with lovely aroma. Have a great week! xx Shanna

  3. Reblogged this on Anna's Cuisine and commented:
    Here’s a healthier version of banana bread made by a versatile blogger and a friend, Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward. This would be great with a cup of tea for afternoon snack in a cold weather like today. To get the recipe, visit her blog at shannaward.com or click on the recipe title. Have a great banana nut bread day! 🙂

    1. Lidia, I am glad that we both love healthy foods. I notice a beautiful balance of foods on your website – always tasty and always something I would l-o-v-e to eat. 🙂 We try to balance health with indulgence around our house… especially since we all have sweet “teeth.” Thank you for your sweet comments and your visit. I hope your day is a great one! 🙂

  4. This looks great! I would eat a slice without considering all the health benefits 😉 Don’t think I have ever seen whole wheat pastry flour — but it makes sense you should use that rather than strong/bread flour.

    1. Well, thank you so much Stefan! 🙂 ” I would eat a slice without considering all the health benefits ” – that made me smile! 🙂 Whole wheat pastry flour is so light and delicious… it is similar to pastry flour but made from the whole grain. You are right… a strong flour would definitely weigh down the bread. Have a great Sunday!

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