Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The best banana bread - gluten free!

Seriously. This is the best banana bread I've ever made--regular or gluten free--and that includes the 150 years I'd been making it before The H developed a wheat allergy. Everything came together just right to yield a loaf that was toasty golden brown, rising high above the edges of the loaf pan, moist in the center, sweet but not overwhelmingly so, and without that weird roof-of-the-mouth tingle that some people get from banana bread.

My secret? I think it was the ancient black bananas I pulled out of the freezer the night before. These were the ugliest things I've probably ever seen in my kitchen. I tossed them into the freezer on a lazy day, which means they were still in their peels. They thawed overnight in a glass measuring cup in the fridge, and by the time I got to make the bread last night, they were completely soft and floppy. Seriously nasty looking. When I smooshed them out of their peels, the fruit was limp and spotty. I wasn't holding out much hope.

But, using the recipe on the back of the gluten free all-purpose flour we use (and stock in mass quantity), I forged ahead since everything else was already in the bowl.

Banana Bread
adapted from Special Diet Solutions by Carol Fenster, Ph.D.
serves 10

1/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup gluten free all purpose baking flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups ripe banana, mashed (I used three bananas and did not measure them)
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350* and grease a 9x5 loaf pan (I greased mine with a bit of walnut oil).

2. Cream together oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl with electric mixer.

3. Add flour, xanthan gum, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon to egg mixture, alternating with bananas. Beat until smooth. Stir in nuts and raisins. Batter will be somewhat soft.

4. Spread into prepared loaf pan and bake for 1 hour in preheated oven.

Word to the wise: even though the recipe states that you should use an electric mixer, abandon that idea once the eggs, sugar, and oil are creamed together. The beaters got so gummed up from the downright rubbery batter that they wouldn't even turn anymore, and the sockets for the beaters were covered in brown goop that literally climbed up each beater as they tried to rotate. It was mildly alarming. Never fear--I grabbed a sturdy spatula and used good old fashioned elbow grease to incorporate the flour and bananas, and recommend you do the same.

When I've made this recipe in the past, I've always split it into two pans so we could freeze one for later, but this time I opted for a single loaf. I also substituted sucanat for the brown sugar to make it a little more clean, and would have used applesauce for the oil if I felt like digging through the fridge to find it--but canola oil is fine anyway, so it was not a big deal.

Even though these don't contain chocolate chips--which used to be a "must-have" for my banana bread--we didn't miss them. In fact, The H, who had two pieces last night, thought they were in there, even this morning when he and the little guy were having breakfast. Surprise! I hope you enjoy this as much as we have been.

1 comment:

  1. See! Your "mistake" turned out to be your secret to success.