Thursday, June 24, 2010

Summer's here, cue "SkinnyBoy" Banana Bread

Inspired by a recent binge on Bravo shows (how can you not love Real Housewives or Top Chef?), I have been trying new ways to make my cooking and baking a little lighter.

One of the "Real Housewives" of NYC, actually, I should say, a former 'real housewife', Bethenny Frankel, who now has her own hilarious show, "Bethenny getting married?", is the successful natural foods cook and author behind the SkinnyGirl Margarita and a line of books on dieting and healthy eating.

Jason is a lucky man. Lucky and brave.

So who doesn't want to be 'naturally thin' ? At home last week, when I found some overripe bananas sitting on the counter, I decided I would make a 'Skinny' banana bread. I knew the fam would appreciate the effort, too, as it is bathing suit season...

I browsed quite a few recipes, including this one on AllRecipes, but the end result combined tips from many different sources- which type of flour, oil, how much? how many bananas? eggs? do I add wheat germ? chocolate chips?

This recipe yields a rich, flavorful banana bread that is definitely a lot lighter, with less fat and sugar.
'Skinny', as it were. Enjoy!

But first, some health highlights:

-NO major added fats!  A few grams from the bananas, egg whites and pudding mix, but NO butter, oil or egg yolks.

-Whole wheat flour. How it should be.

-Just 1/4 cup of added sugar.

-Fruit!  Aypples and banaynays.

"SkinnyBoy" Banana Bread

(How long has it been since I actually put a recipe on here? For shame.)

2 large eggs + 1 large egg white
3 med-large ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup no-sugar-added apple sauce (1 individual serving cup)
1 4oz package of sugar free pudding mix (any flavor- try   butterscotch or vanilla!)
1/4 - 1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla

1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves (optional)
1/4 cup chocolate chips (or raisins, toffee chips, nuts, etc) (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place oven rack in middle position. Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray.

2. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients until combined.

3. Not necessary, but I started with the wet ingredients, then added the sugar, then the dry (I have a slight case of OCD).

3b. (Optional) Stir in flavorings like chocolate chips or raisins.

4. Spread batter in pan.

4b. (Optional) Top with toffee or nuts.

5. Bake in oven for 30-45 mins, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs (not batter).

6. Let sit about 10 mins then remove from pan and finish cooling on a rack.


Some notes:

As you can see from the pics, this banana bread is definitely moist, but without the help of oil, butter or egg yolk!  For some, actually, this might be a bit too moist (if there is such a thing). Maybe I'll leave out half the applesauce next time. Maybe.

The chocolate flavor from the pudding mix worked nicely with the banana (a classic) and spices, and is healthier than adding chocolate chips. I've also made this with butterscotch pudding mix, which really highlighted the banana flavor.

The toffee topping was great- if I were making this elsewhere, I would have added nuts, but my mom is tragically allergic.


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