Sunday, January 4, 2015

Whole Grain Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips

Healthy twist on banana bread

Happy New Year to all! I hope that 2015 has been off to a great start for everyone. After keeping itself hidden for a while, winter decided to come back to us today. Last night it was as if someone was sparkling glitter from the creamy white sky. The glow of light trapped beneath the thick cloud cover, made it appear as if it was early morning. This morning, we awoke to a thick crust of ice over everything, giving the feeling of living in a fragile world of glass. 

Zsuly had been asking for a few days now to make banana bread, and as I anticipate difficulty with the return to work and the regular routine after 2 weeks of vacation, I am trying to have some quick and healthy breakfast available to her. Breakfast is served at her preschool, but she often needs a morning boost before that, or quickly turns into a crank monster. I love banana bread too, especially with a sprinkling of chocolate chips. However, I feel it is really important to include some whole grain nutrients in the morning, and what better place to sneak them in than sweets. I almost always sneak in some whole wheat flour in place of the full measurements of white. As our bananas weren't quite over ripe yet, I found a great tip online, that you can actually ripen bananas for banana bread,  by baking them at 350 degrees. I gave it a try, I preheated the oven, set the bananas in their peels on a cookie sheet and baked them for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned. I was surprised by the amount of liquid that came out of them, and upon peeling them after removing them from the oven and letting them cool, I drained off the extra liquid. Im sure it could be used though and make and even moister bread. 

Here is the recipe for the treat we enjoyed on this cold and sleety Sunday January morning. 
If I hadn't been adapting to the pallet of my four year old, I would have added a half cup of chopped walnuts. 

** I am updating this recipe. I wasn't perfectly happy with how it came out, so I made muffins with the recipe this past Sunday. I added more banana and cut down the sugar. They were moister and the banana flavor was more noticeable and delicious. 

Ingredients~makes 1 loaf

3/4 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. wheat germ
1 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1/4 c. organic unrefined sugar
1/4 c. organic packed brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda

5 overripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1/4 c. canola oil
1 Tbl. Spoon Orange or Lemon Zest
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350ยบ and spray a 5 x 9 inch loaf pan, with nonstick cooking spray. These can also be made into muffins. I just spray the tins with non-stick cooking spray and poured in 1/4 c. batter to each one and sprinkled with brown sugar. 

Step 1: 

In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, wheat germ, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and sugar. 

Step 2: 

Lightly whisk together eggs, and oil. Mix vanilla into banana and add to wet mix. Add zest and chips. Pour wet ingredients into dry, and mix until all ingredients have been moistened. Don't over mix. Pour batter into the oiled baking pan. 

Step 3: 

Bake for 50 minutes, check to see if done by inserting a toothpick into the center of the loaf and making sure it comes out clean (a little chocolate is fine, but you don't want batter on it). 
Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto cooling rack and let cool another 10 minutes before slicing. For muffins bake 20-22 minutes. 

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