I often read health blogs, hosted by exquisite long- haired beauties, who tell me their cakes are as sweet and sumptuous as the classics. Don’t be fooled. If the sugar free, gluten free and grain free baked goods tasted no different, there would be no need for these health gurus and blogs.
In my week of making at least 12 different “healthy” banana breads (in a quest for providing tea treats for a cancer/chemo family member) I embraced the “complex-ingredient” recipes which included Psyllium husk, dates, oat bran and flax powder but these were my least favourite recipes. While a tablespoon or two of Psyllium husk to bind the bread can be stealthily hidden anything more is just plain awful.
While most of our palettes are inclined toward a sweeter taste- unlike these health gurus who have cut sugar from their life and only use the bananas for sweetness-one can easily add and increase honey or a sugar alternative in my recipe. This ensures that your child will not spit out the bread on the first bite and will happily have a slice tucked into their school lunch box.
Besides the obvious omittance of white sugar, cutting out on white flour is also beneficial for chemo tummies.
I personally prefer only almond flour but the coconut flour- with its slight texture-brings volume to the dense almond flour and lowers the fat content of the bread. In fact the two flours just make magic when combined in baking but you cannot substitute the one for the other either.
If almond or coconut flour is a cost constraint, simply substitute with 2 cups of Nutty wheat or whole grain flour and reduce the eggs to TWO.
The additional egg is there for the coconut flour which is very absorbent and allows for the extra honey. I use 1/3 cup, most recipes call for a mere ¼ cup and you can even push it to ½ cup when using coconut flour. The ripeness of the bananas usually dictates the amount of honey, so taste your batter first: It should taste like a sweetened banana Pronutro.
You can also add ¼-1/2 cup of chopped nuts and omit the honey (or not) and add chocolate chips. Do not omit the yoghurt however. This reacts with the bicarb to help raise the bread to delicious heights.
If you bake in a regular bread tin, this recipe should take 45-55 minutes but in a short fat silicone bread tin (like mine) it needs at least an hour and 10 minutes. Never bake these health breads at 180 ˚C. The complex flours and honey tend to burn slightly. Some recipes call for covering them halfway with foil to avoid this, I simply lower the heat to 160 ˚C on a fan assisted oven. A skewer inserted into the middle is the best way to test the loaf.
Serve it plain or with my delicious cream cheese and Xylitol icing, honey and nuts.
Perfectly moist, naturally sweet and absolutely delicious banana bread
3 very ripe bananas (with their brown spots) and 1 banana for the top
¼ cup melted coconut oil/butter/olive oil
1/3 cup honey or pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon bicarb
¼ cup Greek-style/full fat yoghurt
1 tsp vanilla essence and ½ tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 cup almond flour
1 cup coconut flour
- Blend the bananas and oil in your food processor until smooth. Add the eggs, yoghurt, spice and honey and blitz. Add the flour and blitz very quickly so as not to over-mix it. The texture will be somewhat runny, but like Pronutro, it starts to thicken after a few minutes.
- Pour into a silicone bread tin and bake 160 ˚C (fan assisted) for between 50 to 80 minutes depending on your bread tin. Only open the oven after 45 minutes or else the middle will collapse.
Cream Cheese Icing
125g (1/2 brick) Philadelphia cream cheese
2 tablespoons xylitol icing sugar (Woolworth’s)
- Beat the cheese with the Xylitol until creamy and if too thick add a little milk or water to smooth