Or “The Healthification of a Classic Breakfast Treat”. I have been baking banana bread for as long as I can remember. And I have been adding chocolate chips for about as long as I’ve been baking banana bread. It just seems like such a natural combination, I find it hard to believe anyone makes chipless banana bread. I know that it is possible, but I just can’t find it within myself to forego those little sweet nuggets that complement the banana flavour so well. So I don’t. Even though I can’t even eat banana bread anymore, I can’t fathom making it or serving it to those who can eat it, without the chocolate chips.
In my quest to “healthify” my whole family, I’ve begun to use a lot more whole wheat and whole grain flours. I don’t know why I didn’t experiment with this more earlier, as I’ve always liked whole grain foods and I’ve always like to play around with recipes. It simply never occurred to me. Many recipes that call for whole wheat also call for at least half all purpose flour, the idea being that using all whole wheat will make your product more dense and tough. To this, I say “Pshaw!”. Texture in the final product is important, of course, but using healthier alternatives may trump that now. And I am getting surprisingly good results using 100% whole wheat, and this banana bread is a case in point.
You may have heard me lament the school lunch, and how utterly ungratifying it is to make. For me, part of the joy of preparing food is the gratification of someone saying how good the final result is. Small children don’t do that. In fact, they often make it a point to tell you how much they dislike what you have made for them. They’re not exactly your kind and thoughtful dinner guest! And since I am also up against the school meal plan, with its grilled cheese on white bread or pancakes with fake syrup, I feel pressure to make healthful lunches and snacks that my kids will eat AND enjoy. So I decided to take that beloved classic, banana bread and make it whole grain. I reduced the sugar content by some, but I still added the chocolate chips to lure them into thinking of it as a treat. I used whole wheat flour, of course, but for added nutritional punch, I included some flax meal and some Bob’s Red Mill 10 Grain Hot Cereal. If your body isn’t adverse to carbs and you want a good hot cereal or a good way to add whole grains to your baked goods, I highly recommend this product.
The Results: I would sincerely call this recipe a complete and utter success. Banana bread is dense and moist by nature, so I didn’t notice any difference in texture compared to a traditional banana bread. I wasn’t certain if it would rise as much, given the density of the flours and whole grains, but it actually rose to the challenge, so to speak. My children devoured it happily as did my husband, and I will cop to sneaking a small slice for myself to test it out. I do believe I could have reduced the add sugars even more with no noticable effect, overripe bananas being so sweet themselves. I will give that a whirl next time.
Whole Grain Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill 10 Grain Hot Cereal
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup flax seed meal
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 medium overripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 tbsp melted butter
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F. Generously grease a 9X5 inch loaf pan.
In a small bowl, combine hot cereal and milk. Let sit until all liquid has been absorbed.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, flax meal, sugars, baking powder and salt. Add bananas, eggs, melted butter and cereal mixture and fold in gently until just comined. Fold in chocolate chips.
Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake 50-60 minutes or until top is evenly golden brown and a tester inserted into the middle comes out with a few crumbs attached.
Let cool in pan for 10-20 minutes and then flip out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 12-15 servings.