GUILT-FREE BANANA BREAD | Relish guiltlessly in this moist loaf made without butter
I totally have a soft spot for moist, delicious banana bread. However, I noticed my waistline thinks otherwise so I’ve been meticulous with this treat (read: trying to not make it a daily routine everytime I walk past the coffee shop on the way to work).
To this I have found a remedy. The satisfaction of baking your own banana bread from scratch – without butter – is a therapy in and of itself. From the mashing action of the overripe bananas, to the mixing of the wet and dry ingredients, and of course, the smell of the loaf oozing from your oven – words don’t do justice to describe the satisfaction derived from the overall process. And because I’ve come up with a recipe that does away with the butter, you can enjoy this moist loaf without the associated guilt factor.
Guilt-free Banana Bread
PREP TIME: 20 mins | BAKING TIME: 40 mins | TOTAL TIME: 60 mins | YIELDS: 8-9 slices
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cup plain flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 overripe bananas, mashed
- 115 g of yoghurt (Greek or natural)
- 60 ml maple syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut / brown sugar
- pinch of salt
- icing sugar, to dust
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease a loaf pan.
- Mash bananas.
- Beat eggs. Fold in the mashed bananas, yoghurt, maple syrup and coconut sugar. Mix thoroughly.
- In a separate bowl, mix the flour with the salt and baking powder.
- Pour dry ingredients into the wet and fold till well combined.
- Pour batter into loaf and put into the oven for 40 minutes or so. Test with an inserted toothpick: if it comes out clean then the loaf is ready.
- Remove loaf from tin and let cool. Slice into 1.5 cm slices. Dust with icing sugar before serving. To store for later, banana bread can be kept frozen. Feel free to toast the banana bread in your toaster before serving. Enjoy!
BANANA-RAMA | Banana, desiccated coconut, and crushed walnuts unite to create a moist and wholesome financier.
I have truly jumped onto the financier bandwagon. This time, seeing I had two overly ripe bananas sitting inside my fruit bowl, rather than let them expire and go to waste, I decided to put them to good use by creating some banana financiers with desiccated coconut and crushed walnuts. The banana adds an extra degree of moistness and ‘stickiness’ to the basic financier recipe (not to mention flavor and fibre). And because bananas are naturally sweet, I’ve drastically reduced the sugar content by more than half (more or less to keep the waistline “trim”).
To make these financiers even more healthy, I’ve incorporated walnuts into the mixture. Walnuts contain the amino acid l-arginine, which offers multiple vascular benefits to people with heart disease, or those who have increased risk for heart disease due to multiple cardiac risk factors. Walnuts also contain several unique and powerful antioxidants that are available in only a few commonly eaten foods. This includes the quinone juglone, the tannin tellimagrandin, and the flavonol morin.
One of the lesser-known benefits of walnuts is their impact on male fertility. Among men who consume a Western-style diet, adding 75 grams (a bit over one-half cup) of walnuts daily significantly improved sperm quality, including vitality, motility, and morphology.
Afternoon tea? Serve these freshly baked financiers with a cup of warm or organic tea.
TIME: 30 minutes | Makes: 12 financiers
- 125 grams of butter, melted
- 2 ripe bananas, mashed
- 70 grams dessicated coconut
- 50 grams almond flour
- 70 grams plain flour
- 50 gram walnuts
- 6 egg whites
- 50 grams of icing sugar
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius (350 degress farenheit). Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat until it browns. Brush some of this butter on to the financier mould or muffin tin. Leave remaining butter to cool at room temperature.
- Mash ripe bananas in a shallow dish.
- Crush walnuts into small pieces in a mortar and pestle.
- Whisk egg whites in a separate bowl. Once done, add melted butter into the mixture.
- Combine all the almond flour, plain flour, icing sugar, crushed walnuts, and desiccated coconut together in a separate bowl. Fold in the egg white mixture into the flour mixture and continue to fold until well combined.
- Pour batter into the financier moulds, until 2/3rds full each. Bake in oven for ~16-20 minutes until golden brown.
- Turn financiers out on a wire rack to cool. Dust with icing sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature. Financiers can be stored in an airtight container for several days.
PISTACHIO-LICIOUS | A combination of pistachio, blackberries, and a dash of banana gives these financiers a touch of the extraordinary.
Since having left Paris not too long ago, I’m still going through a financier-crazed phase. This time I wanted to go real lush and experimented with blackberries, pistachios, and a smudge of banana.
Once again, the key is getting the beurre noisette (hazelnut butter in French) right in order to achieve that nutty flavour that makes a financier so distinctive and sets it apart from the ordinary muffin.
For those who aren’t aware, financiers are basically what I consider to be “baller” teacakes. They were so named because they were so “rich” (both in ingredients and in price) that only financiers/bankers could afford to eat them. The cakes were rich with brown butter, shaped into a gold bar, and made small and crumbles for portability – perfect for a busy banker.
Egg white, almond meal, and beurre noisette are the key fundamental ingredients that constitute the basic financier. After that, you are free to experiment at your whim and add any addition of fruits, nuts and/or spices.
For me, financiers are the perfect accompaniment to a cup of earl grey team come five o’clock. Simply relax and unwind with a good book. What’s more, tie two financiers together with a cute ribbon and voila, you will have a perfect treat for a special friend or special someone.
Simply tie two financiers up in a stack with a ribbon and it’ll make for a perfect gesture of love.
Total time: 30 minutes | Servings: makes 6
- 125g butter
- 90g icing sugar (plus extra for dusting)
- 1 tablespoon of mashed banana
- 1 punnet blackberries
- 60g almond flour
- 60g plain flour
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 freshly grated lemon zest
- 50g pistachio (shells excluded)
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius (or 180 degrees celsius if fan forced). Then prepare the beurre noisette by melting the butter on a pan over medium high heat till it turns amber in colour and smells nutty. After a few minutes, you will see specks of brown bits. Remove from heat and let it cool.
- In the meantime, with a grater, freshly zest one lemon.
- Grind pistachio into fine crumbs using a mortar or pestle (or if you are more high-tech and have a food processor, opt for that instead). I purposely left some pistachios semi-grinded only so that I could get more texture.
- Mash a portion of a ripe banana to yield ~1 tablespoon.
- In a large bowl, mix pistachio flour with the almond and plain flour. Add in remaining sugar, cinnamon, mashed banana, and lemon zest.
- Separate egg yolks from egg whites. Place egg whites into a mixing bowl and add a pinch of salt and two tablespoons of sugar. Whisk egg whites with an electric mixer until frothy.
- Spoon 1/3rd of the egg white mixture into the flour batter. Fold with spatula until just combined. Repeat process with remaining egg white being careful to fold only and not over mix.
- Coat berries lightly with flour. Then add to the batter and fold.
- Spoon batter into buttered financier moulds (or muffin tins). Fill each mould with the batter until about 2/3rds full. Press any remaining blackberries on top of each financier (for aesthetic appeal).
- Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes. Financiers are done when they turn golden. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack for 10 minutes. Dust with icing sugar to serve.
Found some overly ripe bananas lying around so decided to seize the opportunity and do something about it. Inspired by Nigella’s banana chocolate muffin recipe, I decided to put to good use my Ghiradelli unsweetened cocoa I purchased from Ghiradelli Square last year in San Francisco and whip out my pretty blue and white striped muffin paper cups for display. Despite Nigella’s recipe says the batter can make 12 muffins, I guess I was too overly generous with my serving sizes since I only ended up with 5 muffins (albeit steroid-sized). I handed out my muffins to my friends the next day and the feedback was that they all thought it was delicious and super moist, not too oily or sweet.
The beauty of this recipe is that it is very straightforward and pretty fail-safe. In less than thirty minutes, you will end up with super moist muffins bursting with the goodness of banana and paired with the richness of premium cocoa.
INGREDIENTS: (makes 12 small or 5 gigantic muffins)
- 3 very ripe or overripe bananas
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup (packed) light brown sugar
- 1 ¼ to 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons best-quality unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Ghiradelli), sifted
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch salt, optional (I skipped)
- Icing sugar, to dust (optional)
1) Preheat the oven to 400˚ F / 200˚C and line a muffin tin with paper muffin cups. Show no mercy and mash the bananas.
2) Beat in the oil with a whisk, followed by the eggs and sugar.
3) In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add this mixture to the banana mixture and stir gently until combined. Spoon into the muffin cups.
4) Bake for 15-20 minutes, by which time the muffins should be dark, rounded and peeking proudly out of their cups. Let cool slightly in the pan before removing to a wire rack.
5) Once cooled, dust with icing sugar.
Banana bread has always been a favourite treat of mine. To lower the overall fat content, I lessened the amount of butter and substituted greek yoghurt instead. Given the natural sweetness of ripe bananas, I also reduced the amount of sugar required. I also added a slight twist by infusing some lavender into the batter. How’s that for something more unusual?
INGREDIENTS (makes one loaf):
- 2 cups plain flour, sifted
- 90g butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 6 ounces (170g) of Greek yoghurt
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 3 ripe bananas
- 2 tablespoons lavender
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1) Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
2) Cook lavender in a saucepan on high heat for a minute until scent is released. Turn heat down to medium and add butter. Mix slowly until all melted, making sure not to burn the butter. Pour content through sieve, reserving 1//2 teaspoon of lavender. You now have your infused lavender butter.
3) In a mixing bowl, add flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda.
4) Mash bananas using a fork or masher.
5) In a separate bowl, mix eggs, vanilla essence and yoghurt. Pour in the infused butter. Fold in the ripe bananas and 1/2 teaspoon of cooked lavender. Gradually fold in the flour mixture from the other bowl until all combined throughly.
6) Pour contents into lined loaf pan and bake in oven for 45-50 minutes until golden brown and skewer comes out clean.
7) Let it cool before slicing. Serve while fresh.
So I woke up this morning thinking I’ll be embarking on a challenging hike today with some friends. On the presumption that I’ll be conquering the deadly Twin Peaks (name of trail) and burning a bucketload of calories, I thought I could justify devouring something scrumptious for breakfast without the associated guilt trip. Seeing I woke up early and had some wholewheat flour in my cupboard and some bananas lying around, I decided I’d whip up some healthy pancakes.
Unfortunately though – and much to my disappointment – everyone flaked due to sheer idle laziness and “adverse weather conditions”. Okay, they can be ‘forgiven’ given it is rather overcast and gloomy today so excuse duly accepted this time. Point is, I already made and ate these pancakes and was psyched about the hike. Luckily, I did end up hiking to the peak with another girlfriend to visit one of my closest friends who just gave birth to a baby daughter yesterday at Matilda Hospital. Guilt factor obliterated.
Anyways, enough of my ramble. Below is my healthy and delicious ‘no-brainer’ breakfast pancakes.
INGREDIENTS (serves one, makes 3 pancakes):
- 1/3 cup wholewheat flour
- 2/3 cup of milk
- Knob of butter for greasing pan
- 1 banana
- Maple syrup to drizzle
1) Whisk flour and milk thoroughly together in a bowl.
2) Heat up a skillet on medium heat. Add a knob of butter. Add a ladle of the pancake batter into the pan and cook for a few minutes until golden brown. Flip and repeat.
3) Repeat step 2 with the remaining batter (should make approximately 3). Layer the cooked pancakes onto a plate and keep warm. Slice the banana.
4) Serve pancakes with the banana slices and a drizzle of maple syrup.