Yesterday was an unfathomably warm day in Rapid City. The thermometers went five degrees into the triple digits en route to setting a new record high temperature for June 14th. As luck would have it, I also had 14 miles on my marathon training schedule for the day. I had eight miles of marathon-goal pace running sprinkled throughout the workout, and with one mile to go I had a sudden craving for banana bread.
This is a weird thing for me to crave. As I’ve alluded to before, bananas and I have a somewhat tenuous relationship. At times I’m all about them, but I have yet to really love a plain banana. So while I was suspicious of the craving, I am all about intuitive eating which means you eat what your body wants (after 13 miles, my body probably craved carbs and it just so happened to take the form of banana bread).
Most of the time I find banana bread sickly sweet. Many recipes call for more than a cup of sugar, which on top of the banana’s natural sweetness turns what could be a nutritious refueling device into a teeth-hurting-belly-aching-really-is-just-another-dessert food. And on top of an already *delicate* stomach after almost two hours of running in 97 degree heat, I knew I needed to avoid all the common pitfalls.
I spent the last mile of my run plotting the banana bread. We had three spotty bananas on the counter, I had all my favorite powerhouse flours, and also had just gotten some delicious honey from the coop. And so a banana bread was born. I don’t even regret turning on the oven for an hour it was so good.
I prefer my banana bread “uncluttered”–that is without any mix-ins. In fact I like it so uncluttered that I immersion blend the wet ingredients to ensure no banana hunks remain. If you are more of a chocolate in your banana bread kind of person (as my boyfriend is) I recommend finely chopping a bar of your favorite dark chocolate. This way you get little specks of chocolate throughout, and the dark chocolate offsets the sweet banana nicely. I’ve also swirled some sunflower butter into the top of the banana bread, which when baked creates a nice crunchy lid (something I never regret in quick breads).
I just went to the store to purchase another bunch of bananas, for the sole purpose of watching them turn spotty so I can make another loaf. Because it uses whole grains and natural sugars and good for you fats, this bread can definitely pass as breakfast if slathered with your favorite nut-butter. Or do as I do and cut off a huge hunk and eat while you “stretch” after a good workout.
Uncluttered Banana Bread (gluten, dairy, refined-sugar free)
Makes one loaf, adapted from Cookie and Kate
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup honey
3 ripe (starting to spot) medium bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup oat flour
½ cup brown rice flour
¼ cup teff flour
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, and grease an 8.5×4.5 loaf tin. Set aside
2. Whisk together olive oil and honey. Then whisk in eggs, and then bananas. At this point you can either just whisk in the bananas or immersion blend them as I did. I do this because (1) I always hated the chunks of bananas in my banana bread and (2) I think immersion blending adds a little more air which helps this hearty loaf rise. It would still turn out if you didn’t immersion blend it however!
3. Whisk in vanilla, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
4. Using a rubber spatula fold in flours until just combined. Add in your chocolate if desired. Pour into loaf tin, and if feeling extra fancy sprinkle some cinnamon on top (or if using nut butter, now is the time to drizzle 1/4 cup onto the top, then artfully swirl with a knife or toothpick).
5. Bake for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let rest for 15 minutes in pan, then transfer to a wire rack. Cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. Best eaten within two-three days at room temperature. Between Thomas and I the bread hasn’t ever lasted that long, but if you want it to stay fresh longer cut into slices and freeze. Be sure to put a square of wax paper between slices for easy individual portion removal!