What does one do when she finds herself with a bowl of overripe bananas on a lazy Sunday morning?
A) Throw them out and go back to bed.
B) Embrace her inner baker and set out to create a healthier (yet scrumptious!) version of the traditional banana bread, using the items she happens to have on hand in her fridge and pantry.
This is a trick question, because either answer would be acceptable. In my case, I decided to go with option “b” yesterday, since the 2 feet of snow outside my door had me craving a warm, fresh-baked treat to cuddle up with while watching the Olympics we had DVR’d.
Below is the recipe I created (which I adapted from several different banana bread recipes I had on hand). I set out to swap white flour for whole wheat, agave nectar for white sugar, and coconut oil for butter or vegetable oil. I also plopped 2 very large tablespoons of sheep’s milk yogurt into the batter, since I happened to have an open container on hand. The results were an incredibly moist, just-sweet-enough bread that my husband and I kept slicing through throughout the day. Delicious! Delicate! And just the thing for a snowy Sunday.
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large organic eggs
a little under 1/2 cup agave nectar
a little under 1/2 cup coconut oil (liquid, at room temperature)
2 tablespoons sheep’s milk yogurt (any yogurt will do here, and I imagine sour cream would be tasty, too)
3 large, coarsely mashed bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla
optional: 1/4 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9- by 5- by 3-inch metal loaf pan with a little coconut oil, then dust with whole wheat flour, knocking out excess.
Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a bowl.
Beat together eggs and agave with electric hand mixer at medium-high speed until very thick and pale and mixture forms a ribbon when beater is lifted, about 10 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add oil in a slow stream, mixing, then mix in bananas, yogurt, and vanilla. Stop mixer and fold in flour mixture and walnuts gently but thoroughly.
Spread batter evenly into pan, and bake in middle of oven until golden brown and a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean, about 1 hour.
Cool loaf in pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack (I don’t have a rack: I used a plate). Turn loaf right side up and cool completely.