According to science, your tastebuds change and regenerate every 7 years. I used to hate banana flavoured things, turning my nose up at the thought of banana muffins and the like. However, my taste has recently changed and I've started experimenting with different recipes for banana bread, having suddenly realised how amazing it is. Taking after my Dad, a nice loaf of banana bread has quickly climbed the ranks of my favourite bake. There's nothing better than cutting a slice whilst it's still warm from the oven and slathering some butter across it. Butter, sugar and more butter is how it usually goes. However, when you're trying to watch what you eat, this isn't necessarily the best option. I wanted the same comforting indulgence of banana bread without having the guilty feeling afterwards, so concocted this healthier alternative. Although it's still 230 calories per serving, it contains ingredients that are generally better for you whilst still retaining that sweet taste.
-1/3 cup melted coconut oil
- 90g brown sugar (plus 1 tsp extra for sprinkling on top)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 eggs
- 2 large bananas, mashed
- 4 tbsp water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup of plain flour (I used brown rice flour)
- 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped up
- 1/4 cup hazelnuts, chopped up
- 1/4 cup milled seed (around 20g)- this is optional; I get a packet of it from Aldi/ Lidl
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon (use another 1/2 tsp for sprinkling on top too)
Of course, with this recipe, the seeds, nuts and cinnamon are optional. You can substitute these for other nuts that your prefer, chuck in some chia seeds instead of milled seed, take out the cinnamon and replace with desiccated coconut...just switch it up according to what you prefer taste-wise.
1. Preheat the oven to 165°C and line a loaf tin with baking paper. Combine the melted coconut oil, maple syrup and sugar in a bowl and mix well, working relatively quickly so that the oil doesn't start to solidify. Crack in the eggs, mix again, and then stir in the mashed bananas and water.
2. Sift in the flour bit by bit (I just do this so it doesn't go everywhere!) and then add in the baking powder, salt, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Make sure everything is combined well, but don't worry if the mixture feels lumpy because of the bananas- this is all fine!
3. Fold in the nuts and milled seed. Once everything is combined nicely, pour it into the lined loaf tin and make sure it's spread evenly. Sprinkle a bit of sugar and cinnamon over the top and then pop in the oven for between 50 and 60 minutes. I left mine in the oven for 60 minutes and found it was a little bit dry, so I would definitely start checking it after 45/50 minutes so it's done to your taste.
4. Once cooked (stick a skewer in it to check- it's done if it comes out clean), leave to cool. If you slice it up too soon it will crumble and fall apart so give it time to set before you dig in! (I made this mistake...too greedy). It's cakey enough to eat on it's own or if you want a real treat, heat it up slightly and spread a bit of butter on top (not so healthy!). It's the perfect winter comfort treat for those wanting to be more conscious of what they are eating.
Let me know if you try this recipe out! What's your ultimate winter comfort food?