Third Time’s A Charm

I’ve been pursuing the best recipe for banana and other autumn-inspired bread loaf lately, hoping to concoct the best combination of spice and fruits / veggies to create the fluffiest loaf fit for this beautiful fall weather. I’m open to any combination, as long as the loaves do not contain white flour, white sugar and butter. I would like to someday create a recipe that are completely plant-based (no eggs) and oil free (perhaps replace the oil with apple sauce) but I’ll settle for the hybrid version of the old classic for now.

Pumpkin Bread

pumpkin bread
I have a go-to banana bread recipe that I’m very happy with. It gives me wonderful results every time, so of course my logic is that if I substitute the mashed bananas with pureed pumpkin, I’ll be able to recreate the same, amazing result, right?

That would be too easy.

The loaf came out more pumpkin pie filling than pumpkin bread, and since pumpkin puree doesn’t have the same sweetness ripe bananas naturally bring, the loaf lacked the cloying punch. Unfortunately, even the generous amount of chocolate chips weren’t enough to emulate the dessert-like sweetness. It wasn’t at all terrible and a big red “fail” stamp might be a little too harsh but this recipe definitely needs some fine-tuning.

Zucchini Walnut Bread

zucchini bread
I go nuts for zucchini walnut breads. I still remember the first time I bit into one from Starbucks, which went ridiculously well with my cup of café soy misto during the long commute on the 101 freeway. It was incredible, but as in all good things, I had to bid farewell to it when I discovered that the seemingly innocent-looking muffin contained 28 grams of fat and 52 grams of carbohydrate (28 of them sugar).  The muffin has been discontinued since, by the way.

Anyway, my attempt to recreate my favorite loaf, bread, muffin, or whatever, was a big fat fail as well. I played around with flour to make it denser and increased the amount of maple syrup, etc. but the result wasn’t as extraordinary as the ones I remembered from the mega coffee joint. I’m really going to need to study up on the science of baking so I’ll be able to create the fool-proof version of this yummy delight!  But I’ll get there.

Banana Chocolate Chip Walnut Bread

banana bread

It’s true what they say – third time’s a charm!

I just made some small tweaks to an already-delicious banana bread recipe, but those little things made a huge different in the finished loaf. I might have perfected the recipe for the best banana bread!

Here’s the 2.0 version of the banana bread (See other posts on banana breads here and here).

1-3/4 cups whole-wheat flour
1/3 cup agave nectar
1 teaspoon baking power
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1/3 cup olive oil
3 ripe bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla

The changes I made from the original recipe are:

  • I replaced the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat flour. I no longer keep the white flour at home.  You can definitely taste the different but not enough to turn you off.  I actually like the nuttiness of the whole-wheat more.
  • I reduced the amount of flour from 1-3/4 cups to 1-1/4 cups.
  • I changed the oil from canola to olive since that’s what I have in my pantry almost always.
  • I blended the bananas in a Magic Bullet blender instead of mushing them with a fork. I initially did this because the bananas I was using weren’t as ripe and it was hard to mush them by hand.  I think it resulted in a fluffier loaf.
  • I also put the eggs, agave nectar, oil, vanilla extract, and cinnamon together in a blender. Again, I think this helped create an airy texture. If you have a large blender, you can mix everything, including bananas, together at once.
  • I increased the amount of cinnamon from 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon.  I just can’t get enough of the warm spiciness!
  • I added ¼ cup each of milk chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and coarsely chopped walnut. It’s no longer healthy banana bread but the combination makes the loaf so desert like and satisfying!
  • I slightly under-baked the bread for a less-dense texture.

I’m loving this fall weather!

Going Bananas

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It’s official – I’ve gone bananas.

With only three hours of sleep (in 15-minute increments) in the last few days, I’m now completely moody, incoherent, and utterly delirious. Ask my husband. He probably thinks my head will start spinning any day (if it hasn’t already), like a woman possessed. I actually don’t know how I’m still alive.

Thank goodness for my friend Y for recommending me a book called, “Bring Up Bebe,” about the wisdom of French parenting. I’m only halfway done with the book, but I’m already fascinated. In addition to plethora of common-sense-but-so-often-forgotten advice, there’s even a chapter on how to make babies sleep through the night!  Boy, do I need to implement this technique immediately!

When life turns you into a banana, there’s only one thing to do – bake a banana bread, of course!

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Please excuse me that this is a repeat of a post from 2009 (except I added some chocolate chips on this one). I baked a banana bread this morning and wanted to share some photos of this delicious dessert!

Banana Bread with Agave Nectar

(makes 1 loaf)

Ingredients:

1-3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup agave nectar
1 teaspoon baking power
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup corn oil
3 ripe bananas, mashed (I like to leave little chunks in for texture)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 to 3/4 cup chocolate chips (I used half semi-sweet and half milk chocolates).

Instruction:

① Preheat the oven to 350 degree (F).

② Grease the 9x5x3 loaf pan with corn oil and place parchment paper inside.

③ Sift flour, salt, baking soda and baking power in a bowl and put aside.

banana 1

④ In a separate bowl, mash bananas. Add vanilla, ground cinnamon, agave nectar, canola oil and eggs and mix them together.

banana 2

⑤ Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Add chocolate chips.  Fold the wet ingredients gently into dry just until they mix evenly.  The important thing to keep in mind here is not to over-mix as it will result in tough bread (so all you KitchenAid lovers, put those stand mixers away and grab a spatula).

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⑥  Pour the mixture into the loaf pan. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes (in the middle rack), or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

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⑦ Remove the loaf from the pan and let it rest on a wire rack or on a plate.

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⑧ Slice the loaf and serve at room temperature or cooled. I personally LOVE it served slightly warm!

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Enjoy! Bon appetite! Itadakimasu! Okay, good night!