Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Healthier Banana Bread

As I've said before, I'm a big fan of and one thing that Crystal shows how to do is replace the butter and oil in baking with cooked and pureed beans.  I normally would opt to use dry beans and cook them, but I was feeling lazy so I use canned beans and didn't add the salt the recipe called for since canned beans are already salted.  I though for sure my efforts would be ruined when I was blending the beans because I was using a submersible blender in a big bowl and my five year old came in to help.  As she was helping, she matter of factly stated "Mom, this smells disgusting."  However she still ate the banana bread right up!  To make the banana bread a little MORE healthy, I replaced most of the flour with oat flour (put oatmeal in the food processor and hit on until it was powder-like.  The oat flour is more coarse than regular white flour, but once you mix it in with the bananas and beans, there's not noticeable difference.  The best part about this recipe is that no one suspected it was remotely healthy!  Lately, when I bake something that is moist and cakey, he looks at me suspiciously and asks "Did you put beans in this?"  This time he didn't suspect.  Maybe  should have told him because he ate quite a lot last night so I had to suffer the consequences of him eating beans.  The thing I did that I don't do other times is put the whole contents of the can of beans in there and blend them up.  normally I'll drain the beans and then blend them with a tiny bit of water, but then you can tell a difference in the texture of that food versus something that had butter in it.  Another great thing about using beans and oat flour was that normally when I make this recipe it takes a lot longer for it to cook and then it's usually still doughy in the middle and falls apart when I take it out of the loaf pan.  This time it took just a little longer than the original recipe called for and came out of the loaf pan beautifully!  So without further ado, here is the recipe:

1 c sugar
1/2 c white bean puree (if you make it from dry beans then you'll have to add a pinch of salt)
2 eggs
3 mashed bananas ( just freeze them wen they get brown and then when I'm going to make banana bread I take them out and let them thaw on the counter for an hour or two, then cut off the stems with a knife and squeeze them into the mixing bowl  like a tube of toothpaste, then use a fork to mash if there are any big chunks.  Note, this it kind of weird in texture so I wouldn't recommend it to people who are pregnant or otherwise squeamish) 
3 T milk (sour, regular, or powdered, it all works)
1 t baking soda
2 c oat flour (I only did 1 1/2 cups of oat four because I have a really small food processor and more than that would have made a mess and I was too lazy to do two runs with it, so I filled in the rest with regular white death  flour)
1 c mini chocolate chips (or one cup walnuts, I just really like chocolate!)

Mix beans, sugar, eggs, banana, and milk really well.  Add dry ingredients (I always add baking soda last because it starts the leavening process as soon as it gets wet and you want as much leavening to happen in the oven as possible.  Don't over stir.  Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 325 degrees for 60 to 65 minutes. I let it sit in the pan to cool a little ( it seems to stay together that way a little bit better) and take it out and cut it about 5 minutes later.

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