Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Banana Coffee Bread - Yum!

Does your household suffer from bananas going bad syndrome? This is what I usually make when our bananas reach the stage where they are getting freckles, and on the path to turning full blown brown and no good to anyone.

Now, here is a weird little secret about me: I hate bananas. But I will eat this coffee bread because it's so darn good. Honestly, I think it's a texture thing from childhood because my mother, God love her, used to cook vegetables within inches of their lives until they were limp and colorless, so anything that is mushy is an immediate no-go for me. Which probably explains why I'm not a big fan of fruit - most of it is mushy and stringy and I just can't handle the texture. Anyway, it's rainy and cold here in Southern California, so it's a great day to be baking this - plus we have two bananas that are definitely on their way South.

So, without further ado, here is the banana coffee bread recipe. I must thank my good friend and old boss, Jill Guabello, for sharing this recipe. It's moist and delicious. I have played with it a bit, and based on my experiments with it, you can substitute any nuts you want for the walnuts. I've had success using ground almonds, ground hazelnuts, and ground pecans with this and all options were great. You can also opt not to use nuts at all - my family prefers nuts and it brings the protein in the bread up a notch, so I always use some. It's up to you. I've also substituted applesauce to cut down on the sugar while experimenting, but remember that doing this will increase the baking time to about 45 minutes if you opt for it.

1/2 cup shortening (I use butter-flavored Crisco because it is better than butter cholesterol-wise and seems to have a more stable texture. It also doesn't have such a low scorching point).
1 cup sugar (or 1 cup applesauce)
2 eggs (egg substitute also works here)
3/4 cup ripe mashed banana (about 1 huge or 2 smaller ones)
1 1/4c sifted all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or nuts of your choice)

Preheat the oven to 350. Cream together shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in banana. Sift together dry ingredients and add to the banana mixture, beating well. Pour into greased 9x9x2 inch pan. This is important - you cannot use a loaf pan for this recipe. It doesn't bake all the way through and burns on top if you do. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until the middle doesn't jiggle when you pull out the pan. Top should be golden brown and bread should be set. Toothpick should come out clean when inserted. Cool and slice into approximately 12 squares.

I went on to Fitday to see the calorie cost for this one. As listed, the cake per slice contains 230 calories, 11 grams of fat, 29 grams carbohydrate, 3.2 grams of protein. If you opt to substitute applesauce for the sugar, you will save some calories and carbs. Brings it to: 175 per slice, fat doesn't change, 15 grams carbohydrates, and protein also doesn't change.

Later, oatmeal raisin cookies. Because it's a baking kind of a day.

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