The weather in the past week or two has been weird here in eastern Pennsylvania. We were stuck under a perpetual cloud, with intermittent and mostly gentle rain. It makes the hair and the brain a little crazy. Finally, the sun came out, but today is cloudy again. However, as yoga teaches me, you gotta bring the light yourself. A little banana bread never hurt, either. Last weekend John and I had a little miscommunication in the supermarket and we both grabbed bunches of bananas. Big ones. I managed to chuck a few in the freezer when they started to turn for future projects (namely ice cream), but there are still more bananas than we can possibly eat, even with all the smoothie action the Vitamix gets. So, with Miles in tow, since he's my latest and most regular kitchen helper, I did what everyone else does when there's a ton of bananas: make banana bread.
I made this one a little differently, by riffing on a gluten free recipe mostly because I was curious. In case you're wondering about all the gluten-free stuff on here lately, it's a long story. The short answer is that I started doing GF and vegan stuff for other people who eat this way for various reasons. And then last year, around the holidays, I was feeling way off, and went on a 2-month gluten and refined sugar detox that was tremendously illuminating. I felt much better without it. After lots of expensive tests for lots of digestive things, I learned I don't have celiac but I'm definitely in that elusive, amorphous gluten-sensitive category of people. I'd like to eliminate as much inflammation from my body as possible. So, I try to experiment when I can. Don't worry, I'm NEVER giving up on pizza, no matter how many digestive enzymes I need.
I made a few changes here. I didn't have almond meal nor enough almonds to make it, so I simply used more AP GF flour here, and instead swapped part of that total amount for a little bit of flax meal for the nuttiness we'd lost by not using almond meal and sorghum for a little more protein. I also added xanthan gum because I find most GF items can benefit from it; I might try it again without xantan gum. I also used two eggs instead of one because I wanted something to help with the structure and hoped it would help the bread rise a little bit and be less dense. I suspect it would be fine with just one, however.
Sunny, gluten-free banana bread, adapted from the Minimalist Baker
- 3 ripe bananas
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (I used a combination of organic turbinado and light brown sugars)
- 2 T. honey
- 1 T. plus 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 3/4 cup almond milk (or soy, or cow's milk)
- 2 cups all-purpose GF flour blend (I use King Arthur's)
- 1/4 cup flax meal
- 1/4 cup sorghum flour
- 1 1/4 cups rolled oats
- 1 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and get your loaf pan ready by either coating it with nonstick spray or buttering parchment and lining the pan with it.
2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork or potato masher. Add the vanilla through the milk and whisk to combine; you don't want any lumps here. Then add the flours, xanthan and oats and stir.
3. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes (depending on your oven). It will likely crack a bit, but it should feel firm and be lightly golden brown around the edges.
4. Remove from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes or so, and then gently invert it to cool completely. Wait at least an hour. I know it's hard, believe me. Store covered at room temperature for a few days and freeze if need be.