This dessert takes me back to my childhood, where I was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. When I think about my childhood, the first thing that pops into my head is really just banana bread. I ate it every morning before school with my mother and sister, at a coffee shop called, Grabbajabba (clever name right?). It was the Starbucks of Canada, and my favorite place to be--more than school of course (because even with 2 feet of snow, there were no such things as "snow days"), it was my comfort-zone with comfort-food, unlike playing hide-and-go-seek with friends in a dusty attic snacking on melted gummy bears from my pocket.
Oh, Grabbajabba... the velvet chairs so plump, the coffee-scent so fragrant, and the banana bread so tasty. I wouldn't settle for anything other than that banana bread, that perfectly-sliced, warm, aromatic dessert (for breakfast). Cinnamon rolls oozing icing? Nope. Pop tarts right out of the toaster? Not a chance. If the bread was sold out, I was distraught and skipped that meal for the day.
Thinking about it now, skipping that banana bread was most likely a good thing. Even though I was young then and my body could surely handle it, there are quite a few ingredients in prepared foods that, if consumed over a long period of time, can alter natural balances in your body, essentially leading to preventable hospital visits as you grow older.
Along with my increased emphasis on health (and possibly the Intro to Human Nutrition course I took), I have this drive to bake foods that could pass my textbook's "Health Checklist." This banana bread passed, because the recipe has been formulated by a serious health-guru, aka, me lol. So... on to the banana bread!
My 1st edition was a collage of things: partially burnt, crusty, dry and bland. I only used 2 bananas so it didn't taste like banana bread, but rather like a poorly flavored bread. My parents love banana bread too (I mean, who doesn't?) so I wanted to make this for them once I perfected it. They are big on protein, so I put in vanilla protein powder, which may have been the cause for it's crusty shell, but, I wasn't experienced enough with baking to know what caused certain textures and different elements.
Then, there was my 3rd and 4th edition. During my last bite of the 4th edition banana bread, I was asking myself, what is making this bread so dry?!? Am I overmixing (I tend to do this), should I put more oil in, should I add more bananas? Yes, that was what I was going to do!
So, my 5th edition was born. It smelled, ah-mazing. My first bite, *chomp* sadly, was still dry but it had great flavor. It was the perfect amount of banana and the tops of the loaves rose perfectly. But, when I reviewed the ingredients one more time, I realized what the problem could have been all along: the protein powder. I was not using the proper protein powder for baking, but rather the powder that you see muscle-heads put into their protein smoothie shaker cups at the gym. So I removed it.
The 6th edition (without protein powder) was amazing. I found that using the wrong type of protein powder makes your baked good, dry and airy (and not the nice kind of "airy," the airy as in, too many air pockets!). Because of this, I had overcompensated on the number of bananas put into the recipe (aka, almost 7 bananas). The bread was too dense, too banana-y, and went bad in less than 2 days! It tasted like straight-up banana, where a piece of bread somehow got stuck onto your next bite (which doesn't sound too bad, but in this case, it was).
Sorry, no recipe for Banana Bread no.7--it's locked away for safe-keeping, aka, my dream. It is my pride and joy, and will keep my motivated to reach my goal. Scroll down below for my other banana bread recipe though!
Banana Bread: [high protein, high fiber]
(makes 4 mini loaves)
120g (1 cup) Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
28g (1/4 cup) Almond Meal
120g (1+1/2 cups) Rolled Oats (blend to a flour)
40g (1/2 cup) Whey Protein Concentrate
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Plain, Nonfat Yogurt (don't use Greek yogurt)
1/2 cup Vanilla Soymilk
84g (1/4 cup) Honey
1/3 cup Sunflower Oil
3 Large Bananas
2 Egg Whites
20 drops Stevia Extract (optional)
1. Set oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
2. Whisk together dry ingredients
3. In a large bowl, mash bananas with a fork until chunky
4. Put rest of wet ingredients on top of the banana mixture and stir until incorporated
5. Pour wet ingredients onto dry ingredients, mix until incorporated
6. Pour evenly between 4 mini loaf pans
7. Bake until the crust/edges turn "golden brown" and a toothpick comes out clean (sorry, I don't know how long!)
Improvements I wanted to make for the next time around:
+1 banana in to intensify the banana flavor
Lower oil amount to 1/4 cup and use 1/4 applesauce (unsweetened)
Add a topping (such as a line of walnuts?)
NOTE: I made this recipe at a high altitude, so I do not recommend baking this at sea-level
Anyways, thanks for tuning in. Try out the recipe (if you are at high elevation) or revise it to your liking.