Aging bananas can be hazardous to your health!
You might know what I mean if you can’t stand to see bananas go to waste but don’t like to peel and eat them when they become spotted and soft. Although they freeze well for making nutritious smoothies, a lot of my old bananas used to end up in delicious but rich and caloric banana bread–the quick type that’s more like cake.
When traditional banana bread is sitting around my kitchen, it’s easy to rationalize eating one slice, then another, and then half a slice and then the cut end needs to be cleaned up so I eat the irregular crumbs.
After all, bananas are fruit. Fruit is healthy. Banana bread contains fruit so it must be good for you. (Never mind all the sugar and fat.)
My solution? Make banana bread with yeast instead. It’s a little bit sweet but not overly much. Pack it full of dried fruits or not. Add nuts or not. Use part whole wheat flour if you like. (See recipe here.) Either way, you won’t need nearly as much sugar or fat to make banana bread this way.
This recipe is written for the bread machine (used for mixing and kneading only) but you could use a stand mixer or do it all by hand if you prefer.
- 3 tablespoons milk (any variety), lukewarm
- 3 tablespoons water, lukewarm
- ½ cup mashed, ripe banana
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons butter, cut up
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 cups bread flour
- 2-1/4 teaspoons bread machine yeast
- ½ cup chopped dates
- ½ cup toasted pecans
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom (you can leave this out but I never do)
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Add all ingredients but dates and pecans to bread pan in order given. Select dough cycle. Add dates and pecans when machine beeps that it is OK to add extras. OR, do what I do and knead dates and pecans into dough after you remove it from the bread machine and before you divide it into 3 pieces as described below.
- When dough cycle is complete and dough has risen to double inside bread machine, remove dough to floured surface or silicone baking mat (my favorite). Divide into three equal pieces and roll each into a 15-inch rope. Braid ropes, pinching ends together and then tucking under at each end.
- Place braid on silicone mat or parchment paper. Cover with tea towel and let rest in warm spot until nearly doubled in size-about 1 hour.
- Combine sugar and cardamom in small bowl for topping. Brush twist lightly with milk and sprinkle sugar mixture evenly over bread.
- Bake at 375 F for 25-30 minutes or until 190 degrees internal temperature. Allow to cool if you can wait that long.
P.S. If the whole idea of braiding bread dough intimidates you, click here for an illustrated tutorial.