Banumpkin Bread

>> Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thanks for all your comments on our new first floor layout! As we expected, some of you were confused by a couple things. 1.) Where did that new dining room table come from? 2.) HOW ON EARTH did we move our fireplace? 3.) How are those two rooms really now THREE? Basically, we didn't do the best job of explaining everything. We're planning to do a video tour of our house to celebrate our 1-year blogiversary next month. So, keep an eye out for that.

Onto more tasty things: I don't love bananas. I also don't love banana bread. Of course, I always claim it's a texture thing. But when they're mashed up into goo and baked inside muffins, cakes, and other goods, that hardly can be my excuse. I guess I don't need one. We all have our likes and dislikes. On the flip-side, though, Stephen LOVES bananas. He also LOVES banana bread and banana cake, especially.

And quite honestly, I could hardly pull myself away from this loaf at breakfast this morning. I hunted around for a recipe last night and found a good one on Post Punk Kitchen. But I wanted to make it . . . better, if possible.

By "better," of course, I mean healthier. I'm continually on a quest to make my baked goods as healthy as possible. Sometimes you simply can't beat a good chocolate chipper made with butter, white flour, refined sugar, and eggs. However, more often than not, you CAN create something amazing with those less traditional ingredients. Something hearty. Something wonderful.

This "Banumpkin" Loaf (thanks for Evan from Food Makes Fun Fuel for the name!) has no butter or oil in it. No white flour. No eggs or other dairy. In other words, it makes an excellent breakfast. Or snack. Or dessert.


What you'll need . . .
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used Sugar in the Raw)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 large, extremely ripe bananas
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup almond (or soy) milk plus 1 teaspoon beer
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Method . . .
  1. Spray an 8x4 or 9x7 bread pan with oil. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas until they are gooey. I used a potato masher. You may also use a fork. Get them as un-chunked as you possibly can.
  3. Then whisk in the pumpkin puree, sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla. Whisk until well combined. Stir in the almond milk and beer liquid. Set aside.
  4. In another bowl, sift together the wheat flour, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and baking soda. Add these dry ingredients to the wet and mix with a spatula until just combined. Do not over-mix.
  5. Then stir in the coconut flakes. Pour into your bread pan and cover with some plastic wrap. Let rest in the refrigerator for half an hour.
  6. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Bake on center rack for 1 hour (a little longer if you have to, up to 10 minutes) until your loaf is lightly browned. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.
  8. Then take out of the oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Our new neighbors undoubtedly think I'm a crazy person. You see, it's so dark at night that I've taken to refrigerating a portion of food I make in the evenings. I then photograph them before work. So, it goes a little something like this:

I carry outside with me a loaf of Banumpkin Bread, in this example, on a pretty plate. There's a large DSLR strapped around my arm. My hair is sopping WET from my shower. I'm wearing one of Stephen's fleece coats. I set the plate on the ground of our patio. I start shooting away. Oh, yeah. I'm laying on the ground. (Are you getting the mental image?) Then, I move the plate to another location and keep shooting.

I see my neighbor leave her house and get in her car to go to work. She just kind of looks over at me (we don't talk much, unfortunately). I wave, sort-of, and try to act cool. No like a person who is taking photos . . . of food . . . at 7:00 AM. On. The. Ground.

Whatever. This bread is so good it NEEDS to be shared. And that means photos! Lots of 'em. She doesn't know what she's missing! Oh. My. Gawd. Really! You must, must, must try this recipe.

I took a couple other photos, too. Like this one:

And these:

Food bloggers out there: How do you deal with the darkness and your food photography? I'm thinking I may need to learn a bit about indoor lighting. Maybe even set up my own mini studio. Grab a flash? At least I won't be as likely to catch pneumonia. Just leave a comment or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.

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