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Saturday, 2 August 2014

Banana bread - a healthy(ish) option

I've deliberately not been baking much recently. As for various reasons that I won't go into I have put on around 7lb over the past year, and I'm struggling to get it back off.
So when I found myself with 8 bananas that had been delivered on my online shop a bit squished and bruised I needed to try to find a healthy(ish) way of using them rather than waste them. I didn't just eat them as I hate bruises and brown bits on my bananas. 
I turned to the tried and tested banana bread. It's the easiest way I know of using up past their best bananas. 
I tweaked the recipe a bit to keep it as saintly as I could, well actually it could be better as I could have used honey in place of sugar but I didn't have enough in the cupboard to do that.

I used 0% fat Greek yogurt in place of half of the butter. I don't believe it's possible to completely replace the butter as baking is a bit of a science and needs certain properties to be present for the right chemical reactions and therefore the right results. Which is one reason I don't use sweetener when I bake, I don't think it works as a proper substitute for sugar and the end result is in adequate. Also, I don't skimp on my Greek yogurt, I don't like Greek syle yogurt, it's watery and doesn't taste anywhere near as good. The only time I use Greek style is when making curry. This recipe uses a very small amount, so you might think it's a waste to spend on it, but Greek yogurt and honey with fruit is a delicious snack/breakfast/dessert.

This is a recipe that you could have the kids helping with, so perfect for rainy days. With the added benefit of knowing that the snack they will be eating won't be full of additives and things you can't pronounce.

Ingredients:
285g/10oz self raising flour
1/2tsp salt
1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
55g butter (I used flora ex light)
55g 0% fat Greek yogurt
170g/6oz caster sugar
2 eggs
4 bananas mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract (Nielsen Massey is the best)
85ml/3fl oz of buttermilk or milk with a dash of lemon juice added to it.

Method:

Sift together the flour, salt and bicarb. Set to one side.
Then cream together the sugar, butter and yogurt until light and fluffy. 
Add the bananas, eggs, milk and vanilla extract to the sugar and butter mixture. Stir until everything is incorporated. Don't go too mad with this part though as the banana needs to stay a bit lumpy (the way I like it anyway). 
Fold the wet ingredients into the dry, just until the flour cannot be seen anymore. Over doing it at this stage will stretch the gluten in the flour resulting in a dense chewy cake. 
Pour the batter into a greased and lined 400g loaf tin. 
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180c/160 fan/gas 4 for around an hour, or until well risen and golden brown.
Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack until cooled completely.

Littlest baker likes hers served with some peanut butter spread on it as a treat.



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