It seems fitting that the first recipe I share here, is this one.
This recipe is one near and dear to my heart, and like most really great recipes that tickle the taste buds and the heart strings, is from my grandmother.
There were a fair amount of food regulations and restrictions in my home growing up, and one of the things we didn’t seem to ever have were bananas. But, pretty much every time we went to my grandmothers house we had full access to bananas…and versions of this recipe.
Sometimes we would find it made in cake form slathered in rich chocolate frosting, other times it would be in loaves filled with walnuts, and sometimes (being the frugal woman she was) she would bake it in leftover tin cans, serving the small rounds with tea. However she made it, it was always delicious, and a special treat. Plus arguably healthy, since of course there was fruit in it!
When I first got married, this was one of the first recipes I started making, but it still seemed reserved as more of a special thing to make since ingredients like white flour and sugar were something we tried to avoid.
As I grew more confident in my cooking and baking abilities, and in my health decisions, I wanted to pull this one out of the “once in awhile” category and stick it in the “everyday” category. I gradually switched from white flour to wheat, and added oatmeal, without sacrificing any taste factor. Then I started adding things like flax seed and chia seed, which blended seamlessly. However, sugar still seemed the tricky one to substitute.
I’ve tried lots of sugar substitutes over the years. I really don’t like stevia, just a personal taste thing. I love agave (in face I use a bit in my coffee each morning), but I didn’t want a liquid sweetener in the muffin mix. Xylitol was great tasting, but the price and texture didn’t have it winning awards in my book. Sucanet seemed to be the best option, but still not favorite flavor profile, so I usually just ended up using organic naturally milled cane sugar to make me feel better. Until….
My best friend and fellow health nut turned me on to coconut sugar a couple years ago. Since then it has started popping up everywhere…AS IT SHOULD. I use this in cookies, muffins, tarts…just about everything. This is my favorite sugar substitute that I have found to date. And Trader Joe’s just started carrying it… for the same price as their organic sugar. Done.
It’s not an exaggeration to say, my week runs more smoothly when I have these ready for breakfast. I’ve learned that if my kids like something, they eat it quicker. I have one child in particular who can draw out eating a bowl of cereal for an hour. So because none of us are really morning people around here, we need something quick, easy and mindless. I lay these on the table, and they inhale them. My husband can also grab one on his way out the door. Done and done. I’m seriously seeing a correlation between cereal mornings vs muffin mornings and our timeliness. I mean, I’m not saying these will change your life, but… they may change your morning. And that’s saying something.
I’ve made this recipe hundreds of times and never had a complete “fail” with it. It is endlessly adaptable, and very forgiving. I’ve subbed blueberries for chocolate chips, added more flax seed…done 1 cup flour and one cup almond meal, and it freezes great.
So, my grandmothers banana cake/bread recipe, with a few (ok a lot) more healthful choices.