Friday, June 17, 2011

It's Banana Bread, People!

I felt so much support from my loving readers after my post about my disaster banana bread a couple of days ago. It's hard to admit when you've made a mistake, especially when everyone spends so much time trying to put forward their best possible impression on the internet these days. And though my mistakes in the field of baking and cooking sometimes bring me down to the point of giving up, the support and encouragement through comments and emails kept me going! I had to give this banana bread thing another shot! I can't let my blog friends down!


Since there were lessons learned, I feel it's important to share with you the whole experience, starting with the not-so-good first batch.


It looks decent enough (pretty goo-ey looking though in my opinion). I think the hazelnut flour I used did not soak up the liquid enough so it turned out to be kinda mushy.

The Hazelnut Flour. Delicious in Fruit Nut Bars. Not so good in this recipe.

Like I said before, Mitch liked it. He ate it. Enjoyed it. Said it reminded him of sponge cake. The flavors were good, but the consistency wasn't right. 

Pre-baking. Too much liquid. That was my first impression, 
but I figured. . . hey, it might turn out well! Such an optimist.

After thinking it through, I agree with reader Sarah, that the hazelnut flour instead of coconut flour was the problem here. It didn't soak up enough of the moisture. I thought about adding more hazelnut flour, or mix the two flours together on my second try, but I figured I would give it a shot with the coconut flour first. This is where I think I'll have to continue to work on this recipe. Flour flour flour.


(P.S. Cathy- send me that recipe with almond flour! I'm definitely wanting to give it a try!)

So I figured that should be number one. I also decided to do a few little adjustments for the flavor of the bread, which I'll talk about while I give you the recipe. I think it's important to note that I always like to try to stick to the recipe as closely as possible the first few times I try it, but I almost always veer off in my own weird direction. Anyone else cook like this?


ANYWAY! On to the recipe! (Which, let me begin by saying that I initially found the recipe here. I'm not sure where she found it.) I think I've made it pretty easy to follow.

Here it is . . . Paleo Banana Bread!


Ingredients

4 Eggs
3 Bananas
3/4 cups Coconut Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
3 tbs Honey
1/4 cup melted Coconut Oil
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 tbs Cinnamon
a pinch of Salt
 

Step 1: Combine Liquid Ingredients

I started with the coconut oil. For those of you who haven't used coconut oil before, it comes in a jar, is white, and is a solid.


Put it in the microwave for a few seconds and it turns into this . . . 


Fantastic. Once you've got your oil nice and melty, get to mashing those bananas.


When making banana bread, I like to get the mashing out of the way as early as possible. Not sure why, it's just the way I do it. Depending on how you like your banana bread, you can mash a lot or a little. I like to see nice chunks of banana in my bread so I leave it a little lumpy.

ooooh baby!

After bananas are mashed to your desired perfect consistency, add your vanilla and honey. Again, don't ask me why I do things in this order. Get off my back, will ya?! I'm makin' you sweet, sweet banana bread! *hehe, wink, chuckle* I crack myself up.

Once all those beauties are mixed together, add your eggs. It seems like a lot of eggs, but whatever. I might play with ingredient sizes later. I'll let you know how things turn out. But for now, I like to crack the eggs in a separate bowl, mix em a bit together, and then add the eggs to your liquid bowl. Yeah it might give you one more dish to have to wash, but it sure beats biting into a piece of eggshell.


Mix it all together. Lovely. Set aside.

Step 2: Combine dry ingredients
 
Now for your dry ingredients. In a bigger bowl, throw together your coconut flour, baking powder, and cinnamon. The cinnamon is where I changed things a bit. Now, I said the flavor of the first banana bread was good. But it wasn't exactly perfect. Not saying mine is either, but we decided to make adjustments. Now, I told you 2 tbs of cinnamon. The recipe only called for 1 tbs but with Mitch's much welcomed input, I felt it needed more. I didn't use a measuring spoon (whoops), but I added a whole heck of a lot. Maybe 2-3 tbs. Yeah, that sounds like a lot to me too. But turned out well. This is one of those moments where changing things a bit to fit your taste works.


I also added a bit of salt to the recipe. I have no idea why it wasn't included in the original recipe, but I felt like it needed it.

For the argument of why you put salt in dessert . . . it heightens the flavor of the sweet. Have you ever had chocolate chip cookies where the salt was left out? Tastes a little weird, huh? The flavors seem off. If you're worried about the sodium, let loose a little! A little pinch is all you need, it makes a big difference. It ain't gonna kill ya!

Step 3: Combine wet and dry ingredients

Your dry ingredients are in the larger bowl, right? Slowly blend in the wet mixture into the dry mixture.




I say slowly because I don't know how many times my impatience has taken over and I end up dumping all the ingredients together, not allowing myself to take the time to carefully blend. This rarely ever works out well. But I have to say, I do love recipes like this where you just "mix together" everything. It's much easier than some of those more complicated recipes out there. Like Martha Stewart's stuff. I've got a beef with Martha about her recipes. Ridiculous.


This is when I knew things were looking good for this soon-to-be loaf of bread. My last batter looked like this . . .

eew.

But this time the batter looked like this . . . 

Now that's more like it!

Step 4: Into da pan and get bakin'!

Pour your mixture, batter, whatever you want to call it, into a greased loaf pan.

 
Doesn't look too clean and pretty, but you know this is going somewhere good!

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Stick a fork or knife in the center of the loaf to see if it's done. If the utensil comes out clean, you're good to go!

Here's how mine turned out . . .


Looks pretty good, huh? Not bad for my second try! *another wink*


The slices look a bit like meatloaf to me. But then again, that's how the original batch looked too. When I served the last one up to Mitch I made the same comment. So I'm not sure what gives it that look, but it definitely doesn't taste like meat.


As far as the taste and texture . . . I'm still working on it. The flavor was spot on. It was delicious. But the texture still needs tweaking. I'm not sure if it's the fact that I'm not so used to cooking with coconut flour, but it doesn't seem to cook down enough. Every other bite has a sort of powdery texture that I'm not a fan of.

I'm thinking I'll have to have Banana Bread Part III where I mix flours or use something totally different. I like the flavor that the hazelnut flour offered, so perhaps there is a perfect mix somewhere in there that I'll have to work on. More to do to make this recipe my own.


But I still find this more of a success! I wouldn't say it's as delicious as my regular banana bread recipe, but it's a good contender. And since I'm sticking to a much stricter paleo diet these days, it works just fine for now.

We are headed to stay with my parents this weekend and we'll be taking this loaf for breakfast deliciousness. A little paleo way to start the day!

Are any of you planning on giving this a shot? If you are, you'll have to let me know how it turns out, or what changes you make to it! Speaking of reader involvement, does anyone have any great recipes that I just have to try? Send 'em my way! I'd love to take a stab at something new.

I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend! I love you all!

5 comments:

  1. I know a lot of folks who don’t eat eggs (they’re allergic, for health reasons, or concerns about animal cruelty). Here’s an awesome site that gives tips on cooking and baking without eggs: http://EggFreeLiving.com

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  2. Thanks John, I'll check that out.

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  3. Super Delicious Almond Flour Banana Bread
    1/4 cup plain yogurt, whey or milk (soy, dairy, rice, hemp, almond -I use coconut milk)
    1-2 TBS. honey (optional: I don't use honey in my recipe but if you are just coming off processed desserts, the honey adds a little more sweetness that you might be used to)
    3 organic eggs, beaten
    3 mashed extra-ripe bananas
    3 cups ground almond flour (I use Trader Joe’s brand)
    Pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice (I added a lot more than a pinch)
    1 tsp baking soda
    ½ cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (no walnuts in my bread)
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together yogurt, eggs, and bananas in large bowl and stir until well combined. Mix almond flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and walnuts into the wet ingredients. Pour into 8x8 glass Pyrex dish and bake for 35-40 minutes. The top should be golden brown and the bread will have pulled away from the sides. (At home, we melt butter, coconut butter, or coconut oil on top of bread and it tastes really good.)
    I don't remember where I got this recipe but it is good!

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  4. Here is a link to a carrot banana muffin that is REALLY good. http://thelifeandadventuresofcatepoo.blogspot.com/2010/08/my-newest-food-addiction.html

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  5. CATHY! Thank you!! This recipe looks very promising. I'm out of town this weekend but I'm definitely going to try this when I get home.

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xoxo
Lyda