A flavorful and healthy whole wheat banana nut bread recipe that your family will love!
At almost six months into my pregnancy journey, my baby bump is finally showing, and I’m getting lots of fun questions from wonderful family and friends about how the experience has been going. So far, very smooth!
One of the questions’s that I get all the time is “What kinds of food are you craving?” Well, lately my cravings have been anything sweet with bananas in it (bread, muffins, pancakes, the list goes on)! Due to this ongoing need, I decided to find a healthier alternative to my banana based sweet tooth.
I decided to create a whole wheat banana nut bread recipe to help satisfy my cravings without burdening my ever growing tummy!
I found an excellent recipe from America’s Test Kitchen, their “ultimate banana bread recipe” and I created a healthier version by making some more nutritious substitutions.
I used whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour, applesauce to replace the butter (1 for 1), and honey instead of sugar. I wanted to incorporate more whole grains into the recipe and make the recipe virtually fat free. I had heard that you could substitute all of the butter or oil in baking recipes with unsweetened applesauce, so I gave it a try.
I was surprised to see how moist the whole wheat banana nut bread was even the day after! The walnuts gave the bread a lovely texture, and I liked the caramelized bananas on top. The texture was slightly more breadlike versus muffin (due to the absence of the fat), so next time I may try 1/4 cup of melted butter or oil and 1/4 cup of applesauce to achieve a slightly more tender texture and still have a reduced fat recipe.
To achieve maximum banana flavor, I added slices of banana to the top of the loaf and sprinkled it with a little bit of sugar which gave a nice caramelized flavor to the bananas and crunchy top, yum! To intensify the banana flavor in the bread, I used 5 very ripe bananas, which were microwaved to remove most of the moisture. Retaining the liquid from the microwaved bananas or the “banana liquid” I then heated the liquid in a small pan and reduced the about 1/8 cup. This gave an intense banana flavored liquid that I added back to the banana bread mixture.
Both of these methods gave the perfect banana flavor that I was looking for to satisfy my craving! This recipe yields 10 large servings, so I had plenty of leftover bread for a few days. This recipe’s texture is perfect if you want to try a bread pudding or banana bread french toast since it didn’t crumble easily to the touch. There are so many ways to enjoy this recipe even after it’s fresh out of the oven!
What to know about banana bread
TIP #1 -Have your bananas turned brown or speckled on the skin? No worries! This is the perfect time to use them for this banana bread recipe. The more speckled the banana, the more starch in the banana has converted to fructose, a natural sweetener found in fruit. You can taste the difference if you eat a greenish yellow skinned banana versus a very ripe one. If you don’t use very ripe bananas, the flavor and sweetness will not be the same.
TIP #2 -This recipe was made in a 8-1/2 inch by 4-1/2 inch glass loaf pan. If you are using a darker pan, or larger 9 by 5-inch pan, check for doneness 5-7 minutes earlier than stated in the recipe. Darker pans and pans with the larger surface area will cause the bread to cook slightly faster.