Saturday, April 10, 2010
Whole Wheat Banana Walnut Bread
I am not a big fan of store bought baked goods. Most of the times, the ingredients in them sound more like some factory chemicals than anything edible. But because both Pratik and I are baked food junkies, not buying such ready-made cakes and desserts simply means creating them in our own kitchen. This is no doubt the best way to know exactly what goes in to the food that we eat!
Moreover, now that Myra has started demanding a piece of everything she sees on our plates, I knew it was time to start making healthier food with whole-grains and low-fat ingredients. While I found it relatively easy to incorporate nutritive options for her lunch and dinner, making baked snacks was where it was a little more challenging. While I am sure there are plenty of healthful options and recipes out there, my first option is always to tweak my tried and tested recipes in order to cut down the sugar and the butter, replace the regular non-nutritious flour with a higher food value alternative.
This whole wheat banana walnut bread is a result of one such tweaking experiment. The bread baked perfectly to give the desired texture and moistness. The walnuts provided a nice crunch in the background. But what really gives a kick is the sweet aroma from the bananas that fills the house while the bread is being baked. It teases you right from when those bananas ripen perfectly to be used in the bread, to watching the baked bread cool in the pan. But I can assure you, the end result if absolutely worth the wait!
Whole Wheat Banana Walnut Bread
Makes 1 loaf (about 10 slices)
4 tbs unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 extra large egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups of banana, mashed (approximately 3 large bananas)
2/3 cup walnuts, toasted & roughly chopped (pecans can be substituted for walnuts)
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Melt the butter in a microwave safe bowl. Dip a pastry brush in the melted butter and grease a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan & flour it.
Sift the flours, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
Add the sugar, apple sauce and vanilla extract to the melted butter and whisk until well mixed. Add the egg and whisk until well combined. Now add the bananas, flour mixture and walnuts one by one and mix just until all the ingredients are incorporated. It is important at this stage to not over mix the batter as this will result in a rubbery end product.
Pour the batter in the prepared loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cover the loaf pan with a foil tent if the top starts to turn dark before the bread has completed baking.
Let the bread cool in the pan before cutting. Remove on a cutting board and cut slices of desired thickness.
This bread tastes even better the next day with the aroma of the banana completely infusing the bread and giving it the desired body and moistness.
Serve as a healthy light afternoon snack or have a slice with your hot coffee for breakfast. Munch on this at a picnic or neatly wrap a slice in a plastic wrap and eat your snack on the go!
Cover in plastic wrap or air tight containers at room temperature for about 2 days or in the refrigerator for about 4-5 days.