You have to know that nothing makes me feel better than a hot loaf being unearthed from an oven. While I’ve learned to be patient over the years, it’s so hard not to dive in, fork-first, once a banana bread hits the rack. This weekend, I decided to turn up the volume and futz with a classic recipe, namely, swap out all-purpose flour and sugar for natural sweeteners. The result? A delicious, moist loaf that delivers on flavor and texture. While I’m not blind to the fact that removing all the sugar alters the flavor of the bread (it is indeed less saccharine sweet), I’m learning to appreciate the nuanced flavors of that the fruit and nuts imbue on the loaf.
INGREDIENTS: (makes two loaves)
3 cups gluten-free flour (I use Cup4Cup)
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup agave
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
1/2 cup pistachios, ground
3/4 tablespoons pure almond extract
1 cup ripe mashed banana (about 2 large)
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup rice milk
Nonstick coconut oil cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat two 9×5 inch loaf pans with cooking spray; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt until combined. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, syrup, agave and coconut oil on medium-low speed until combined. On low speed, slowly beat in the flour mixture. Add the almond extract, banana, coconut, rice milk, ground pistachios and beat just to combine. Fold in the blueberries.
Divide batter evenly between prepared pans; smooth with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, 65-75 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Remove loaves from pans and let cool completely. Bread can be kept at room temperature, wrapped well in plastic, for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to 3 months. But honestly, are you going to do this? Shove a delicious loaf in the freezer and abandon it so cruelly? Hardly. You’re going to end up cutting small slices in the middle of the night, and eat this, standing up, in the kitchen, in the DARK.