Thursday, January 22, 2009

Banana Carrot Bread

This is another recipe that my mother made when I was a child (and still makes), but I've made it my own with a couple substitutions and additions. It turns out that this bread is a great hiding place for vegetables (far beyond carrots and zucchini), which is useful information for parents of picky eaters. Inspired by my friend, Rose, who hides all kinds of greens in muffins, I thought I'd give this a shot with my own recipe, and I've really enjoyed the results!

Although my mother made this recipe, and made it her own, it was originally from a cookbook (who knows what!). The original recipe called for applesauce and walnuts, which would also be wonderful. My mother substituted bananas for applesauce (a great use for rotting bananas) and carrots for walnuts (much less expensive than walnuts, with a more nutritionally-packed punch). Almost anything could be substituted, really. Something moist could replace the bananas, and something dense and crunchy could replace the carrots. And as I've recently discovered, the recipe will tolerate the addition of even more stuff, without getting dry or falling apart.

I've also made this recipe partly whole grain, as I do with many baked goods. I think it gives this bread a heartier, homier taste and texture, and I actually prefer it to the all white flour version. Of course, the whole grains make this indulgence a little less guilty.

Incidentally, this one also appears in Growing Healthy Families.

Banana Carrot Bread
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. all-purpose unbleached flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
2 tsps. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. bananas (I never measure this - just use 2 bananas), very ripe (or applesauce, zucchini, pears, etc)
1 c. carrots, peeled and sliced (or walnuts, sweet potatoes, beets, etc)
3/4 c. packed greens (kale, spinach, swiss chard, collards, etc) (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Sift both flours, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda and salt into a large bowl.

In a food processor, puree the butter, sugar, egg, vanilla and banana. Once smooth, add the carrots and continue to puree until relatively smooth. Add the greens, if using, and puree until incorporated.

Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Don't overmix (a little lumpiness is OK). Grease a loaf pan and pour batter in, smoothing out the top for even baking.

Bake for 40 minutes. The bread is ready when a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack.

Note: When those bananas on the counter are starting to get so brown that no one will touch them, you don't need to run to the food processor and make this bread right away. Throw the old bananas in the freezer, and use them when you're good and ready.


Jesse and Amy Powell said...

This sounds delicious!!! Do you ever bake with brown rice flour? We have a couple wheat issues in our home and are constantly looking for new recipes. The issues are... one, I can't cook =) and two, baked goods don't seem to hold together as nicely using rice flour. Do you have any suggestions?

Healthy & Green on the Cheap said...

Unfortunately, I almost never bake gluten-free, but that's on my to do list. I'll be sure to post any new discoveries I find in that arena.

From what I understand, rice flour tends to get very dense when baked. I've experimented a bit with brown rice cookies/crackers, but I haven't yet come up with something worth posting. Once again, I'll be sure to if and when I manage to come up with something I'm proud of.

In the meantime, take a look at the White Chocolate Truffles (Nov '08) that I posted. These are GF and very kid friendly. I'll be sure to post other truffle recipes soon.

Hope that helps!

Jesse and Amy Powell said...

mmm... sounds good. Thanks! ...and I'll do the same if I come across anything terrific =)