The professor while teaching an economic theory–something to do with using resources to the maximum capacity– used the example of overripe bananas. “We don’t throw away overripe bananas. In fact, we wait till fruit flies hover over the bananas and then we make banana bread out of it,” she shared. The professor’s idea really appealed to me as I actually used to throw away overripe bananas. And banana bread has remained as as one of my favorites since then.
The current recipe has greatly evolved from my first recipe I tried 15 years ago. Over the years, as I learned about food ingredients, my banana bread recipe kept getting more flavorful and lighter on sugar and fat. Let me not keep you waiting to reveal those healthy ingredients. Here is how to make it:
You need overripe bananas. This is super important. Overripe bananas have concentrated sugar, which gives natural sweetness to the bread. Mash overripe bananas to a pulp with the back of a big spoon, potato masher, or just with clean hands, take your pick.
I almost always use whole grains in my cooking and this banana bread is no exception. I have used whole spelt flour to make this bread. Please note that spelt is not gluten free. You can also use white whole wheat or regular whole wheat flour (please see the recipe notes). I like spices in almost anything. For this bread I use cinnamon, clove, and ground ginger. But if you don’t have all the spices available in your spice cabinet, don’t let it stop you from making the bread. Move along with whatever you have. Don’t forget salt and baking soda.
You also need a flax egg (recipe here). I have not tried it but any other egg alternative should work as well. This recipe does not use any processed sugar. I usually use natural sweeteners like maple syrup. If you don’t have maple syrup in your pantry, you can replace it with organic cane sugar (see recipe notes). You also need oil. My choice is avocado oil as it’s taste is somewhat neutral and has high smoking point (more on this later). Grapeseed oil also works well. Last but not the least, the secret ingredient: Apple cider vinegar.
I add sunflower seeds to this banana bread, but feel free to add any other kind or even chopped walnuts. Chocolate chips are totally optional. I am not a big fan, but my kids love chocolate chips. I often make this bread without adding any chocolate chips.
Mix all the dry ingredients (except sunflower seeds and chocolate chips) in a mixing bowl. Similarly, mix all the wet ingredients (except apple cider vinegar) separately. Add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet and whisk until mixed. Usually I whisk it 6-7 times. Add the vinegar and mix (2-3 times).
Fold in sunflower seeds and chocolate chips (if using). Don’t forget to prepare the baking pan in advance. I usually smear the 8.5″ x 4.5″ pan with oil and then sprinkle some flour. That always works well. Put the bread mixture in the prepared pan and bake at 350 Fahrenheit for about 1 hour. This bread will keep for 3 to 5 days in an airtight container in refrigerator. You can also freeze it for about 4 weeks. Enjoy.