Rye & Oat Irish Soda Bread

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! If you’re not of Irish heritage, today is probably just another ordinary day to you. To the Irish, however, it is beyond the social stereotypes (leprechauns, pots of gold, four leaf clovers). It is not a day created just for wearing green, but a day of celebration with good food, drinking, and dancing. Although I’m not purely Irish (mainly German & Scottish), I have always celebrated St. Patty’s day each year. Unfortunately, that will not be the case this year.

This year we are facing the COVID-19 scare and as a result it has caused my usual local Irish celebration spot to close. Although I won’t be able to indulge in the delicious taste of the traditional dish of the day, corned beef and cabbage, I can still bring a little bit of Irish food to our quarantined table. Therefore, without further delay, I introduce to you my healthier take on Irish Soda Bread. One of my favorites growing up was Irish Soda Bread. It is a delicious bread that gets its name from its preparation method. Instead of rising from traditional yeast, Irish bread uses baking soda instead. Although there are a few different methods for making traditional Irish soda bread, I chose to go the clean route so it will fit my current nutrition goals.

If you know me, you know every food I eat must be made from clean (no-GMO/organic) ingredients. The food must also be made of healthy ingredients that are able to fit into my macro balance for the day. This bread, although not quite traditional, checks off all of those requirements. It is primarily made up of a rye and oat flour blend that is naturally sweetened with raw honey. The addition of rolled oats incorporates more heart healthy fiber and unsweetened cranberries lend a delightful pop of tartness. It is a clean and healthy bread that can be used as a side to coffee for breakfast, a snack with tea in the afternoon, or a late night, guilt-free nibble. With everyone staying home to stop the spread of the virus, you will surely have plenty of free time to bake up this bread. If you still want to enjoy some Irish food without any of the guilt this St. Patty’s Day, try your hand at making this quick and easy soda bread!

Rye & Oat Irish Soda Bread


Ingredients

  • 2½ cups Rye Flour; divided
  • 1½ cups Oat Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¾ tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 egg; beaten
  • 1¾ cups Buttermilk
  • 3 tbsp. Raw Honey
  • 3 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • ½ cup plus 2 tbsp. Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats; divided
  • ½ cup dried unsweetened Cranberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together 2¼ cups rye flour, oat flour, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk, honey, and oil. Add to the dry mixture and stir until a dough forms. Add ½ cup oats and cranberries. Mix until well combined. The dough will still be slightly sticky.
  4. On a cleans surface, sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup rye flour. Scrape dough onto floured surface and knead a few times to incorporate the flour. Knead until dough is soft but still slightly sticky.
  5. Form dough into a long oval shape and place on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the top of the dough with the remaining 2 tbsp. of oats. Using a sharp knife, cut a shallow “X” in the middle of the dough.
  6. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a slight hollow sound is made when bread is tapped. Allow bread to cool for 5 minutes before slicing.

Nutrition

Per Serving (1 slice): 208 Calories; 7 g Protein; 6 g Total Fat; 1 g Sat. Fat; 7 g Fiber; 231 mg Sodium; 9 g Sugar; 34 g Carbs; 17 mg Cholesterol.

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: H. BAINBRIDGE
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2020

Pumpkin Pie Bread

During the holiday season, there are a few signature items that will come to the mind of almost anyone. Pumpkin pie happens to be one of those items. Whether you enjoy it at Thanksgiving, Christmas, or both, it is on the menu of most households at some point towards the end of each year. My family always enjoys pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, but this year I decided to shake things up and serve this delicious, healthier bread instead.

As much as I love a traditional pumpkin pie at the holidays, I also love to try new, cleaner items inspired by the flavors I already know and love. Luckily, cans of organic puree are very cost effective this time of year, allowing me to get rather creative and try some fun, pumpkin-centric dishes. Not just limited to desserts, pumpkin has found its way into my soup, pasta sauce, Greek yogurt, and morning oatmeal. Whether savory or sweet, I love me some good ole pumpkin. But you don’t need to be pumpkin’s #1 fan to love this bread. Other than the traditional pie, it really doesn’t get much more classic than this moist, sweet loaf of pumpkin bread.

Just like the tried and true methods of traditional pie recipes, this bread is infused with the flavors of warm fall spices and is perfect for the chilliest time of year. But besides being chilly outside it is also the busiest time of year. So if you find yourself strapped for time (who doesn’t), this recipe will be your best friend. In fact, it should be the spokesman for all quick breads, as it truly requires minimal time and energy. Simply combine dry ingredients, add wet ingredients, mix, and bake. The easiest snack, brunch treat, or dessert to have on hand, especially for those unexpected guests who suddenly drop on by. If you double the recipe, you can easily have an extra loaf to give as a gift at Christmas, or you can make individual muffins to place on the kids table for easy holiday snacking.

With all of the good qualities this bread already possesses, it’s hard to believe that it is also clean and works perfectly into the meal plans of those living a healthy lifestyle. Unlike traditional recipes, this pumpkin bread does not have hidden, unhealthy fats or loads of processed white sugar. Instead, it uses minimally processed Sucanat to satisfy sweet tooth’s while cutting the amount of sweetener needed from a whopping 1½ cups (on average), all the way down to just ¾ cup. By not overloading this bread with sugar, it keeps calories low and helps to mitigate the rapid spike and fall of blood sugar levels, which can cause you to crave more sugary foods or feel sluggish after eating them.

But just as it is important to remove unhealthy items from a recipe to make it better, it is also important to add back in the proper nutrition the recipe was initially lacking. To do this, I started by packing in as much pumpkin as I could. Doing so provides moisture for very few calories (only 30 per cup) and less fat, while still creating a tender texture. The addition of pumpkin also adds a good amount of beneficial nutrients, including potassium, vitamin C, and beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is particularly important, as it is an antioxidant responsible for fighting harmful inflammation that’s known to cause problems as small as wrinkles or as serious as chronic disease.

Once I had added enough pumpkin for flavor and nutrition, I moved on to the flour. Most recipes use all-purpose, which is heavily processed and contains less nutrients as a result. I opted for white whole-wheat flour, as it provides more nutritional value without altering the taste too much. In fact, add in the final quality of classic pumpkin bread, the rich, warm spices, and I bet you won’t even be able to detect the healthy tweaks. The molasses-like flavor profile of Sucanat complements the spices beautifully, making for a delicious, healthy bread sure to be a success at any holiday function!

Pumpkin Pie Bread


Ingredients

  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray
  • 1¾ cups White Whole-Wheat Flour
  • ¾ cup Sucanat
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • ¾ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. Ground Ginger
  • ½ tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 2 Large Egg Whites
  • 1 cup Pure Pumpkin Puree
  • ½ cup Whole Milk
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 9 x 5 inch bread pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, Sucanat, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. In a separate large bowl, lightly whisk the egg and egg whites. Add in the pumpkin puree, milk, and oil, whisking until combined.
  3. Add the contents of the second bowl (wet ingredients) to the contents of the first bowl (dry ingredients) and stir gently until the flour is moistened. Transfer contents to the prepared pan and spread out smoothly.
  4. Bake bread in the center of the oven for 50 minutes, or until the top and edges have browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Cool bread in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cut in to 12 slices to serve. Keep at room temperature in an airtight container for 2 days, refrigerated for 1 week, or frozen for up to 1 month.

Nutrition

Per Serving (1 Slice): 169 Calories; 4 g Protein; 6 g Total Fat; 1 g Sat. Fat; 2.5 g Fiber; 213 mg Sodium; 13 g Sugar; 25 g Carbs; 17 mg Cholesterol

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: J. O’HARA
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2019

Tsoureki Rolls

20170416_173641The Easter season has come and gone for another year so today I bring you one of the items I served at our table. Tsoureki is a very popular sweet bread in Greece similar in texture to a French brioche. It is traditionally served at Pascha (Easter) but is also commonly consumed at other holidays or as a daily accompaniment to coffee/tea.

20170416_172825Most Greeks will tell you that making your own tsoureki is a daunting task to perfect, which is why many simply purchase it from local Greek bakeries verses making it homemade. I myself have purchased the bread for many years since I always place more focus on preparing other traditional offerings. However this year I decided to take up the task of making tsoureki homemade for Easter and the process honestly did not live up to the horror portrayed.

20170415_143020The perfect Tsoureki is a buttery soft yet flaky dough flavored with the distinct aromatic spices ground masticha (mastic) and ground mahlepi. Masticha or Mastic is a tree resin found on the Greek island of Chios. Mahlepi or mahleb is a spice derived from ground cherry seeds. These two spices are what give tsoureki its distinct taste and alluring sweet aroma. Without them the bread becomes no different from a French brioche.

20170416_173625If you are a regular follower of mine you’re probably wondering what my take on this traditional bread will be. Although I love tsoureki in its traditional loaf form I always like to make a fresh twist to established recipes as my own signature of sorts. With tsoureki, I sought to streamline the traditional braided design into a more portable portion. Tsoureki is traditionally braided into a long loaf or a crown shape. For my recipe, I portion out the dough into equal sized rolls and braid them the traditional way. I then place each braided roll into a muffin tin. This strategy makes it easy to provide the perfect amount of tsoureki for the expected amount of guests for holidays and is a far less messy alternative for kids, especially since they do not have patience to wait for a slice to be cut. If you want to try tsoureki and share it with family and friends, I highly recommend giving this recipe a try. You will be delightfully surprised at how great of a roll this is!

Tsoureki Rolls

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg. Dry Yeast
  • 1/3 cup Warm Milk (100° to 110°)
  • 15.75 oz. (about 3 ½ cups) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Ground Mahlepi (may also be labeled mahlab/mahleb)
  • ½ tsp. Ground Masticha (may also be labeled mastic)
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 4 Large Eggs; lightly beaten
  • 6 ½ tbsp. Unsalted Butter; softened & cut into large cubes
  • 1 tbsp. Water
  • 1 Large Egg White
  • Sliced Almonds; optional

Preparation:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine yeast and warm milk. Dissolve yeast in milk and let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, mahlepi, masticha, salt, and eggs. Add flour mixture to the milk mixture. Set mixer to low-speed and beat until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl with spatula as needed. Continue to beat dough on low speed for 5 minutes or until dough is soft and elastic and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  3. Set mixer to medium speed and add half of butter to the dough until just incorporated. Add remaining butter cubes to dough and beat until incorporated. Continue to beat dough at medium speed for 4 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
  4. Coat a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough into the bowl, turning to coat top. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place free from drafts for 1 hour or until doubled in size. Once risen, gently press two fingers into the dough. If indentation remains the dough has risen enough to proceed. If indentation does not remain allow more time to rise. Once indentation remains, punch dough down then form into a ball. Return dough to bowl; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
  5. Uncover dough and let stand 90 minutes or until dough is at room temperature. Divide dough into 4 equal portions. Working with one portion at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent it from drying out), cut dough into 6 equal pieces.
  6. Working with one piece at a time, break into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long log. Pinch together the 3 logs at the top and braid down like you would hair. Pinch the end of the braid and pull braid into a ball formation, tucking the end of the braid underneath the ball to secure. Repeat procedure with remaining dough portions to make 24 rolls total. Place rolls into cups of a muffin tin coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.
  7. Preheat oven to 350°. Combine water and egg white; stir with a whisk. Gently brush rolls with egg mixture. If using almonds, gently press 3-4 onto the top of each roll. Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Serve.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Christstollen

20161230_125955With the holidays over and a new year already rung in I can calmly and fondly look back over the past month’s chaotic fun. While everyone else was making Christmas cookies galore I was making a German traditional pastry called the Christstollen. The Christstollen goes by many names. Sometimes it is simply called Stollen, other times it is called Weihnachtsstollen (Christmas Stollen), and Americans know it as the dreaded fruitcake….but no matter the name they are all one in the same pastry that is made during Advent/Christmas time each year.

20161230_130118Now although Christstollen is technically a fruitcake certainly do not confuse it with the horrific impostors often found in the states. Christstollen is a rich yeast dough filled with brandy-soaked fruit, toasted almonds, and finished with a sweet touch of glaze. There is a reason why Christstollen is one of Germany’s most famous and long-standing Christmas confections. German recipes for stollen date all the way back to the 13th century. Although Stollen recipes have been slightly modified over the years as products like butter became more common and affordable to use the overall formula and resulting taste remained the same.

20161230_130001Now you may wonder why Stollen is typically made by families only during the Advent/Christmas season. Traditionally, the bread gets its shape because it is supposed to resemble a swaddled baby Jesus. Although it is a Christmas bread many bakeries will still bake Christstollen year round and simply call it stollen instead of naming it after Christ. Since the holidays have already passed you can do the same and enjoy a timeless German tradition.

Christstollen

Ingredients:

  • 16.9 oz. All-Purpose Flour (3 ¾ cups); divided
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • ¼ cup Fresh Orange Juice
  • 2 tbsp. Brandy
  • ½ cup Dried Cherries
  • ½ cup Golden Raisins
  • ½ cup Reduced-Fat Milk (2%); warmed to 100°-110°
  • ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 pkg. Dry Yeast
  • 6 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; melted
  • 2 Large Eggs; lightly beaten
  • ½ cup Sliced Almonds; toasted
  • 1 ½ tsp. Grated Lemon Rind
  • Cooking Spray
  • 2 tbsp. Reduced-Fat Milk (2%); divided
  • 1 Large Egg
  • ½ cup Powdered Sugar

Preparation:

  1. Weigh 15.75 ounces (approximately 3 ½ cups) flour in a large bowl. Add salt and nutmeg. In a medium microwave-safe bowl combine orange juice and brandy. Microwave brandy mixture for 45 seconds. Add cherries and raisins; let stand for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile combine warm milk, sugar, and yeast and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir butter and eggs into yeast mixture. Add the juice mixture, almonds, and lemon rind. Add the flour mixture to the yeast mixture, stirring until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic, adding the remaining ¼ cup flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to hands (expect the dough to feel sticky).
  3. Place the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat the top. Cover and allow to rise in a warm, draft free place for 1 hour or until doubled in size. Punch down the dough. Divide dough into 2 equal portions and roll each into an 11  8 inch oval. Fold 1 short end toward the center and fold the other short end toward the center until it overlaps the first end. Place loaves seam side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover and let rise again for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°. Combine 1 tablespoon milk and 1 egg. Uncover shaped dough and brush the top and sides gently with the milk mixture. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden. Cool completely on wire racks.
  5. When ready to serve combine 1 tablespoon milk and powdered sugar and stir until smooth. Drizzle over loaves. Serve.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(1 Slice)

nutritionlabel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weight Watchers: 6 Smart Points, 4 Points Plus, or 3 Traditional Points

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: JULIANNA GRIMES
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Boozy Bananas Foster Bread

20160910_120126Bananas are a very beneficial fruit. They are cheap, easy to find, and contain nutrients that benefit our heart, digestive system, and weight loss goals. However, bananas are notorious for turning bad in the blink of an eye. The ugly dark brown spots on the peel are a sign of a mushy, overly sweet banana on the inside that very few find appetizing. As unappealing as an overripe banana may be, they are perfect for banana bread.

20160910_121250Banana bread is the perfect go to recipe for using up bananas that would otherwise go to waste. As much as I love the standard banana bread recipe, it can get repetitive rather quickly. This recipe, however, is an adult interpretation of the standard inspired by the famous bananas foster dessert.

Bananas Foster is a delightful dessert created by Owen Brennan of Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana. In the early 1950’s, Brennan asked his chef to create a dessert for the restaurant that included bananas because New Orleans was the major port of entry for the imported fruit at the time. Brennan wanted to showcase the fruit so Bananas Foster was born.

20160910_121055As a tribute to the New Orleans favorite, this recipe swaps out all of the granulated sugar for light brown sugar and cooks the mashed bananas in a blend of butter and dark rum. To give that extra boozy touch without having to set anything on fire, the bread is topped off with a glaze of even more butter and rum. Although banana bread is typically a breakfast accompaniment, this recipe is decadent enough to be served for dessert as well.

Note:

  • This recipe only yields one loaf of bread. The loaf produces 16 servings with one slice for each serving. If you require more bread you can easily double the recipe.
  • This bread freezes well but be sure to thaw the loaf thoroughly before adding the glaze.

Boozy Bananas Foster Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups Mashed Ripe Banana
  • 1 cup Light Brown Sugar; packed & divided
  • 6 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; melted & divided
  • ¼ cup Dark Rum; divided
  • 1/3 cup Plain Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 6.75 ounces (1 ½ cups) All-Purpose Flour
  • ¼ cup Ground Flaxseed
  • ¾ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Allspice
  • 1/3 cup Powdered Sugar

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Combine banana, ½ cup brown sugar, 5 tablespoons melted butter, and 3 tablespoons rum in a nonstick skillet set over medium heat. Bring mixture just to a boil then remove from heat to cool. Transfer cooled banana mixture to a large bowl. Add the yogurt, remaining ½ cup of brown sugar, and eggs. Beat with a mixer on medium speed until combined.
  3. In a small bowl combine the flour, flaxseed, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice. Add flour mixture to the banana mixture and beat until just combined. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan and place on the wire rack.
  4. Combine remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter, remaining 1 tablespoon rum, and powdered sugar. Stir mixture until well blended. Drizzle over warm bread. Serve.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(1 Slice)

boozy-banana-bread-nutritionlabel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weight Watchers: 8 Smart Points, 5 Points Plus, or 4 Traditional Points

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: MAUREEN CALLAHAN
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016

Glazed Orange-Pecan Bread

3This winter came a bit late for us like many others in the U.S. and with that wait for the arrival of colder temps came a delay in many of my favorite winter recipes. I usually have made some type of soup or chili by November, yet this year my first soup did not come until late December, practically January. The same goes for bread. There is nothing that spells winter like a fresh, warm loaf of bread from the oven. I tend to associate the two because I dislike going out in the cold and so I would traditionally bake to occupy myself plus keep the house warm. This is my first bread of the season and I have to say it was a spectacular choice.

2The inspiration to make an orange infused bread came from the constant reminder of fresh oranges currently in season here. Every day upon leaving home, I see all of the orange trees in the grove across the street from our subdivision. Recently, all of the oranges have ripened and the sweet smell of blossoms are just starting to permeate the air signifying their arrival. This bread is the perfect representation of what oranges have to offer. Infused with a triple punch of orange flavor, the bread is not only full of citrus but is also quick and easy to make. You do not need a mixer, only a spoon and two bowls. Simple and quick so that you can be devouring this delicious and lighter bread.

1

Glazed Orange-Pecan Bread

Bread Ingredients:

  • Cooking Spray
  • 1 ¾ cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • ¼ tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. Ground Allspice
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • ½ cup Low-Fat Buttermilk
  • ¼ cup Chopped Pecans; toasted
  • 3 tbsp. 1% Low-Fat Milk
  • 3 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 3 tbsp. Orange Marmalade
  • 1 tsp. Orange Extract
  • 2 Eggs

Glaze Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Powdered Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Orange Juice; fresh squeezed
  • 2 tsp. Chopped Pecans; toasted

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and allspice together in a large bowl. Stir together with a whisk, making a well in the center of the mixture. Set aside.
  3. In another large bowl, combine sugar, buttermilk, pecans, milk, oil, marmalade, extract, and eggs. Whisk until thoroughly blended. Pour mixture into the well made in the flour mixture. Stir mixtures together until just moistened.
  4. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake in preheated oven for approximately 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few crumbs attached (or clean). Cool bread for 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. After 10 minutes, remove the bread from the loaf pan and cool completely on the wire rack.
  5. After the bread has cooled prepare the glaze. Combine the powdered sugar and juice together until mixture is smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled bread and sprinkle with the chopped pecans. Serve.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(1 Slice)

glazed orange pecan bread label

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weight Watchers: 7 Smart Points, 5 Points Plus, or 4 Traditional Points

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: MAUREEN CALLAHAN
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016

Skinny Banana Nut Bread

4There is something about September that makes me crave Banana Bread. For me, I see it as a great transition from the light, berry desserts of summer to the heartier apple and pumpkin desserts of fall. The weather is just starting to show signs of changing here in Florida. The days are becoming shorter and the high temperatures are struggling to reach 90° anymore. These slight environmental changes are what trigger my changing taste buds each year.

In order to continue to enjoy banana bread like I have in the past, I needed to create a healthier alternative that would fit into my changing lifestyle. Banana bread may seem like a healthy dessert but it is often loaded with unnecessary sugar and can have upwards of 10 grams of fat per slice and over half being from saturated fat, which is no bueno!!! So with all of these bad numbers can banana bread actually become healthier? The answer is yes.

1There are many ways to shave calories and fat off of banana bread while adding in essential nutrients that make you feel a lot less guilty for indulging your cravings. Some swap wheat flour for coconut flour. Others add applesauce in place of butter or oil. I do not like these alternatives because I feel like the bread ends up tasting too much like coconut or apple when I want it to taste only of banana. In order to shave the bad and replace it with some good, I first cut out the eggs. Eggs are good but as the saying goes, too much of a good thing can be bad. Since I still want my eggs at breakfast I cut them out of the bread. Next, I replaced butter with olive oil, which also replaced a significant amount of saturated fat with healthier poly & monounsaturated fats. Another swap was allowing plain Greek yogurt to stand in for the typical sour cream called for in most conventional recipes. The addition of Greek yogurt not only helps shave down the bad qualities in traditional banana bread but it also adds beneficial protein, probiotics, vitamin B12, potassium, and calcium. Also by adding the yogurt I was able to cut down on the amount of olive oil needed. In order to cut down on the amount of white flour without changing the texture too much, I replaced half of the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat flour. If those changes weren’t enough I decided to sneak in some flaxseed to add heart healthy omega 3s and use only very ripe bananas to cut back on added sugar. Don’t be tempted to use those barely ripe bananas you just bought at the store no matter how much you may want to try this recipe. If the bananas are not overly ripe the bread will not taste as sweet and you will likely be disappointed. The reason this step is so important is because as the banana ripens, the natural sugars concentrate and the flavor matures. Many overlook this step and it is the most crucial. If you have to skip this step for whatever reason, you may have to bump up the sugar to 1 ½ cups to keep it as sweet, but keep in mind if you do the nutritional values will change.

3Although there have been many alterations to this recipe to make it more nutritious it still produces a tasty loaf. I enjoy a slice as a late night snack but it would also be great with coffee or tea at breakfast. The following recipe will produce 2 loaves of bread and approximately 24 servings. A serving size is one slice that weighs approximately 2 oz. Total preparation time for this recipe is approximately 1 ½ hours. If you are following Weight Watchers, one slice is 4 Points or 5 Points Plus.

Skinny Banana Nut Bread

Ingredients:

  • 6.8 oz. (1 ½ cups) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 7.2 oz. (1 ½ cups) Whole-Wheat Flour
  • ½ cup Flaxseed Meal
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 2 cups Very Ripe Bananas; mashed (about 4 large)
  • 1 cup Walnuts; chopped
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • ½ cup Olive Oil
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray

Formula:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Prepare two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans by coating all sides with cooking spray.
  2. Combine flours, flaxseed, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir with a whisk until mixed. In a medium bowl, combine banana, walnuts, sugar, vanilla, yogurt, and oil. Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
  3. Pour the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake for approximately 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Gently run a knife around perimeter of bread to loosen from sides. Remove loafs from pans and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Nutritional Information

(One 2 oz. Slice)

banananutbread

Weight Watchers: 4 Points or 5 Points Plus

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: EILEEN SOLBERG
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2015