I made sugar free banana bread, which is just about as gross as it sounds. My belief that very ripe bananas would lend the loaf all the sweetness it needs was as deceiving as pretending that microwavable turkey bacon is the same as bacon. Sugar free banana bread is just… guh, nasty. I couldn’t pass it off to the toddler either, who despite his forgiving love of all food, loudly declared “I don’t like it, mommy, I don’t like it.”
Problem is that I doubled the recipe. Now I’ve got 2 giant loafs of cake-y, moist, healthy, yet utterly inedible banana bread. I tried to convince myself that I would just eat it without subjecting my family to it, but I couldn’t – not without dousing it with a generous helping of peanut butter and honey.
Inspired by Chopped and its emphasis on re-purposing nasty food, and by Bakerella’s Cake Pops (see video here), I turned these bland breads into yummy bites that are at once deceptively healthy and delectably yum. I’ve concluded that this is a good alternative to banana bread (or, I donno, just something “new”) – it retains its qualities of high nutrition low sugar, but is in both form and flavour something that my little man would enjoy. And, like all other things on this blah-g of mine, took 20 minutes or less.
1. Crumble the unfortunate loaf whilst assuring it that not all is lost, that it will be reborn
2. Add a Tbsp each of (100%) peanut butter and honey
3. Mix and form into balls
4. Roll balls in crushed walnuts
5, Present to happy child and relish in your motherly cunningness
These mini balls have just the right amount of sweetness, a slight nuttiness from the peanut butter and a little enjoyable crunch from the crushed walnuts. They are cute too which always helps, and they “look” special, which wins them the coveted title of “treat” rather than “snack”. Hurrah.
I also present you the original recipe for Banana Muffins that I used. It’s a staple in my kitchen – it is actually a parent’s dream – moist, lightly sweet, customizable, and healthy. I usually never omit the (rather modest) sugar requirement and they turn out fabulous. The recipe comes from my friend’s mother, who owns a Bed & Breakfast by the beach and who bakes these regularly for her guests.
Bowl 1 – Dry Ingredients
1 cup of cooked quinoa
1 cup of spelt (or all purpose) flour
3/4 cup of oats
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp baking sode
1/4 tsp salt
Bowl 2 – Wet Ingredients
1/2 cup brown sugar (or granulated sugar, or organic cane sugar, or maple sugar, or… you get the point)
1/4 cup oil
2 very ripe, mashed bananas
Add Bowl 2 to Bowl 1. At this point you have the option of adding your favourite accents – my friend’s mother adds 1 cup rhubard or cranberries for a sour effect and 1 cup walnuts for a nutty/seedy crunch. I usually use whatever I have around the house, or omit these additives all together if the pantry is running low.
Spoon into large muffin trays and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until done. If you are making this into a loaf, extend the baking time to 40-50 minutes.
If you make them, let me know how it goes. I appreciate your ingenuity as much I as fool myself into trusting my own.