Friday, January 22, 2016

Double Caramel-Nut Banana Bread #TheRecipeRedux

I love discovering new ingredients, especially for the baking pantry. I'd been doing a decent amount of research on gluten-nut-soy/bean-free flour options the past few months in order to write Home Ec recipes my whole class can eat (we're a nut free school, and one class has 2 celiac students, 1 with a soy allergy and 1 allergic to chickpeas, kidney beans, navy beans and black beans) and recently came across an article on a totally new-to-me flour made from green bananas! Apparently this grain-free starch is quite common in the Islands and Africa, but new to North America and almost unheard of in my area - until last week that is, when a run of the mill trip to Bulk Barn found me staring at a bin full of the stuff! I couldn't resist, and so without a clue in the world what I'd do with it, I snapped up a baggie and brought it home.  

Caramel - Nut Banana Bread

Luckily for me, home is where the blackening bananas are, and along with some dehydrated shredded zucchini from the summer, homemade nutty caramel sauce, almond milk and caramel sprinkles this whole grain batter baked into a hearty, decadent loaf that was moist and tender - without any added oil or butter! The small amount of banana flour was perfect for maintaining the moisture long-term, since like coconut and oat flours it locks it in and releases it into the surrounding crumb over time. The sprinkles on top are, of course, purely optional - but they do add the "dessert" element and will lure even the most skeptical, whole-grain haters into trying a piece. 

Caramel - Nut Banana Bread

This month's #RecipeRedux is all about choosing a new-to-you ingredient to cook with in the new year. Whether it's banana flour, nutritional yeast, fish sauce, matcha, teff or even ugli fruit, we're showing off our culinary creativity this January!

Double Caramel-Nut Banana Bread
Serves 12 generously
4 large, over-ripe bananas
2 cups shredded zucchini, dehydrated (~¾-1 cup dried volume)
1 cup nutty salted caramel (½ cup salted  vegan caramel sauce + ¾ cup salted, toasted nuts)
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tsp banana extract
3 tbsp ground chia seed
1 ⅔ cups whole wheat flour
¼ cup banana flour (or tapioca starch if you can't find it)
¼ cup quick oats
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp caramel sprinkles or crushed Werther's, for topping (omit if dairy free)
  1. Heat oven to 325F and grease a large loaf pan.
  2. Peel bananas into a bowl and mash with zucchini, caramel sauce, almond milk, vanilla and banana extract.
  3. Stir in the chia seeds, flours, oats, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and baking powder.
  4. Scrape into the prepared pan and sprinkle with caramel sprinkles.
  5. Bake for 1 hour 45 minutes. The low, steady baking is key to keeping the moist, dense texture - don't be tempted to pull it out early!
  6. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out and cool completely on a wire rack.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 227.2
Total Fat: 6.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 153.5 mg
Total Carbs: 44.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.6 g
Protein: 5.3 g

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