• 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, light or dark, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. flax seed mill
  • 3 medium to large ripe bananas, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour, sifted
  • chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon + 2 tbsp. white cane sugar (optional)
  • mini chocolate chips (optional)

Banana bread is an American classic comfort food.  Although we all enjoy a slice of this treat normally loaded with excess butter, oil, or sugar, with a few alterations it can easily become a healthy breakfast or snack. I’ve made a lot of different banana bread recipes in the past, but it’s not always easy to come up with a product that’s moist, sweet, and healthy all at the same time. My sister, Colleen, shares my obsession with sweets and asked me to find her a guilt-free recipe that she can make at school. I finally found the ultimate banana bread recipe from King Arthur Flour.  With a couple of changes, my search has ended.

I found mini loaf pans at Marshall’s for $4.99 and since I thought they were super cute, I cut the recipe in half and made two minis instead of one regular size loaf. The following recipe will make 4 mini loaves or one regular size loaf. I cut back on the butter replacing half with applesauce and added ground flax seed which is a good source of Omega-3s. The whole wheat flour increases the fiber and the honey, brown sugar, and bananas add just the right amount or natural sweetness. I added in a layer of cinnamon-sugar, walnuts, and mini chocolate chips, but these can be omitted.

1) Preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ or 9″ x 5″ loaf pan or 4 mini loaf pans.
2) In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the apple sauce, flax seed mill, vanilla, baking soda, salt, and bananas, beating until well combined. The mixture will be fairly smooth, with some scattered small chunks of banana.

3) Beat in the honey and eggs.
4) Add the flour, stirring until smooth.
5) Spoon half the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixuture, chocolate chips, and chopped walnuts. If you want a thicker layer add more of these ingredients.

Pour the remaining batter on top. Sprinkle with leftover cinnamon-sugar mixture and walnuts. Let it rest at room temperature for 10 minutes. If using mini loaf pans, place them on a baking sheet so they’ll be easier to remove from the oven.

6) Bake the bread for 50 minutes (30-35 minutes for mini loaves), then gently lay a piece of aluminum foil across the top, to prevent over-browning. Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, then remove the bread from the oven; a long toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center should come out clean.

The end result was moist and delicious. You really can’t tell that this is a healthified version of banana bread. Even my boyfriend loved it and he hates everything “healthy.” This is how I trick him into getting necessary vitamins and nutrients. You can definitelycut back on the amounts of sugar and butter to cut calories, but for my taste these amounts were just right.

King Arthur Flour also suggests adding a 20 oz can of crushed pineapple for a tropical flare. I’m sure peanut butter would also be amazing in this recipe. Hopefully my sister will approve!

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