Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My Banana Almond Tea Bread with Blueberries (or not)

My daughter arrived home from college for the last few weeks of summer not long ago and presented me with the gift of two black bananas that had been stored in her refrigerator. There was nothing else to do but make banana bread! Normally, I don't eat many bananas (although I love them) because they are a dense fruit with more carbs than I usually allow for myself. But they are an excellent source of vitamins B6, C and potassium. In this recipe, I added blueberries because Maine is famous for these small, rare, blue gems that are harvested late in the season. I buy them by the bushel for only a few short weeks before they disappear, along with summer.

You'll notice in the nutritional information that each serving seems rather high in fat grams. Don't be alarmed because most of the fat comes from the almond flour, which is rich in Vitamin E and monounsaturated "good fat." Actually, the saturated fat (the bad fat) is delightfully low for such a moist, yummy bread. If you want to learn more about the alternative flours used in this recipe, check out my blog: Alternative Flours for Baking

My Banana Almond Tea Bread with Blueberries (or not)
Makes 12 servings
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup almond flour (or finely ground blanched almonds)
¼ cup coconut flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs + 1 egg white
6 teaspoons granulated sugar
6 teaspoons Splenda granular (not baking blend)
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 medium)
Optional: ¾ cup fresh or frozen blueberries (if using frozen, do not thaw)

1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Prepare an 8½” x 4½” loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a large mixing bowl and using a handheld or standing mixer, beat the eggs, egg white, sugar and Splenda on medium-high speed for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy (do not underbeat in this step because you need to incorporate air into the mixture). Add the canola oil and beat for another 30 seconds. Add the mashed banana and blend on low speed until incorporated. Add the dry ingredients all at once and beat on low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl once until fully incorporated. Gently and quickly fold in the blueberries. Pour batter into prepared pan.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 45-55 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Test at 45 minutes and bake longer if additional time is needed. Do not overbake to avoid drying out.

4. Remove from oven to a wire rack. Allow bread to cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and continue to cool on wire rack for another hour. This bread can be left at room temperature for 1 day or overnight, or wrap well and store in refrigerator.

NOTE: This batter can be made into 12 muffins. Bake in 350-degree oven for only 15-20 minutes until golden and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Do not overbake. Cool on wire rack before serving.

Nutritional Information per serving (with blueberries): 154.8 calories, 18 g carbohydrate, 8.15 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 2.7 g fiber, 4.3 g protein
Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009

How does this recipe compare with regular Banana Bread?
My version is higher in fiber, higher in protein, lower in total fat & saturated fat and significantly lower in carbohydrates and calories. For comparison, here are some average nutritional numbers for purchased Banana Bread: 215 calories, 34 g carbohydrates, 12 g total fat, 4 g saturated fat, 1.5 g fiber, 2 g protein.

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