This is a post done out of necessity.
I wasn’t crazy about the lighting in these photos, so I was going to wait until I made this bread again (I make it often) so that I could get some better pics.
However, since sharing this with my wonderful mother, she has started making it often too. And she is reasonably tired of reading the recipe from the pictures I sent her over text message. She told me so today.
So, I’m posting this for her, and you! Bad lighting aside. This recipe is so good, and such a great solution to reducing the fat and calories in banana bread, that you must try it!
This comes from the amazing people at Cook’s Illustrated, who, as always, have developed a fabulous recipe that works. If you’ve never read their cookbooks or magazines, you should. Their articles are lengthy, and mostly in black and white (which, for visual learners and those that love lots of photos, can be somewhat dry), but are super interesting and informative.
This is my go-to recipe for banana bread, not only because it is incredibly tasty, but because they have found a way to lighten the sugar and fat in this treat without affecting the texture. I’m not a huge fan of using applesauce as a sub for oil in baked goods, so I was pleasantly surprised that was not the route they took here. Instead, they roasted the bananas to eliminate the need for excess sugar (brilliant!), and added cream cheese to replace the oil (in my opinion, cream cheese is always welcome). CI never lets me down.
Roasted Banana Bread
4 ripe bananas
2 lg eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbs canola oil
2 oz light cream cheese, chilled and cut in to chunks
Preheat oven to 325 degrees, and prepare loaf pan by spraying with vegetable oil spray.
Place bananas on a foil lined baking sheet, and bake in the oven for approx 20 minutes, or until the skins are black. Remove from oven and let cool.
When cool, peel bananas, and mash the fruit in a bowl (will be very soft).
Measure out 1 1/2 cups banana. You only need 1 1/2 cups. Cooks Illustrated is very clear that if you use too much banana, the bread will be gummy. I’ve made bread that turned out this way before, and it’s not enjoyable. Just throw out any excess.
In a bowl (I used the same bowl I mashed the banana in, just to save dishes), beat together eggs and vanilla and set aside.
In the bowl of your mixer, blend flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add in oil and cream cheese and mix for about a minute (until cream cheese pieces are pea-sized).
Pour in egg mixture, and beat until combined, then add bananas, mixing until incorporated.
Pour batter into loaf pan, and smooth the top. I never do this with bread-most usually spread and smooth out in the oven-but when I have not smoothed this recipe out, it does bake exactly as you leave it. So if you leave lumps and bumps, you’ll have lumps and bumps in your final product. Doesn’t affect taste one bit of course, but if the appearance of the bread is important to you, keep that in mind!
Bake at 325 for 50-60 minutes, rotating halfway through cooking time. Bread should be golden brown and a toothpick should come out somewhat clean (a few crumbs is ok…you do still want the loaf to be moist after all).
Let cool in pan for a few minutes, then remove and let cool the rest of the way on a wire rack. Will keep at room temperature 2-3 days, or you can refrigerate it for longer. I keep mine in the fridge, and toast a slice at a time, serving warm with butter! My husband prefers it just sliced right off the loaf. Either way, you’ll love this, and will never be able to tell it is low-fat!
This one couldn’t keep his hands off.
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