Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Oaty Banana Bread

There's not much better on a cold winter day that a hot mug of tea and a slice of rich, dense banana bread.  I've tried several recipes since going gluten-free and they were a FAIL.  Each called for 2-3 different flours along with a couple "gums" to try and mimic the texture of wheat.  I'm a simple girl ... I don't have the time or the funding for all those weird ingredients.

Oats are probably one of the closest grains to wheat.  To me, they're very similar in texture and taste, and about the same as far as fibre and calories ... but oats pack an extra punch of protein and iron.  Even if you aren't gluten-free, oats make a great tasting and healthy substitution for your regular wheat flour, without sacrificing texture, especially in cookies and quick breads like this.  If you are gluten-free, make sure to look for wheat-free oats ... as many of the brands you buy are contaminated with wheat particles.

Back to the banana bread ... I came up with this recipe based on a tried and true version of the real deal.  I swapped out half the fat with a good fat .. half the sugar with a low glycemic alternative .. and used oat flour* instead of wheat.  The taste and texture are great - you'd never know it's gluten-free!

1/2 cup evaporated cane juice
1/2 cup amber agave nectar
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted (reduce to 1/4 cup for a lighter textured bread)
1/4 cup butter, melted
5 large over-ripe bananas, mashed
3 eggs, beaten

3 cups wheat-free oat flour*
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, combine evaporated cane sugar, agave nectar, coconut oil and butter. Add bananas and eggs and mix until incorporated.

Add dry ingredients and mix until the batter is smooth ... about 30 seconds.

Pour half the batter into a 9x9 baking pan and bake for 25 minutes.  (I like baking in a 9x9 because the bread cooks evenly and twice as fast.)

Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan and placing on a cooling rack.  Repeat with the remaining batter.  (Try not to bake pans together if possible. Your bread will cook at a more even rate and you won't end up with overdone edges and a gooey middle.)

*If you don't have oat flour, it's really easy to make!  Just take out your food processor or dry blade Vitamix attachment and blend some old fashioned or quick oats into a powder.  Super easy ... takes about a minute to do.

Wa-la!  Fresh oat flour!

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