Crackly banana bread

Cooler weather today meant that my way, way overripe bananas were not destined for an icy smoothie. No, it was time for banana bread.

But I’ve always had a problem with banana bread. For me, it is too sugary for breakfast, but not sweet enough for dessert. This leaves it firmly in afternoon snack territory–but the idea of baking something only to be a snack (rather than a full meal or a proper, killer dessert) has always left me uninspired.

So, I set to work. I jiggered a Smitten Kitchen recipe to make it more fibrous and less sugary–and also to accommodate what I had in my pantry. The result is only very lightly sweet, wheat-forward, crackly, distinctly banana-y, and only requires one bowl. It also keeps me full (see blog name) and completely avoids the 10am sugar crash that comes with more sugary banana breads. Problem solved.

If your overripe bananas need a place to call home, or if you want a loaf that can play the role of grab-and-go just as well as it does I-wonder-what-would-happen-if-I-dipped-this-in-my-coffee, this is it.


Crackly banana bread (makes one 9×5-inch loaf)
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

3 large overripe bananas
1 large egg
1/3 cup olive oil
scant 1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg**
Pinch of ground cloves
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds***
1/4 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed (to remove bitterness)

*Using expensive maple syrup in baked goods rather than, say, on top of pancakes makes my budget hurt. I used agave nectar, which is less expensive.
**Try freshly grated, if you haven’t. It’s a different ball game–it’s like smelling nutmeg for the first time. If you’re grating your own, just eyeball the amount.
***I used this to increase fiber and to chip away at a glut of flaxseeds. You can skip it and increase the flour to 1 1/2 cups.

Preheat your oven to 350F and butter a 9×5-inch loaf pan.

In the bottom of a large bowl, mash bananas with a potato masher or fork until virtually smooth but a few tiny lumps remain.

Whisk in egg, then oil, brown sugar, syrup and vanilla extract. Sprinkle baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves over mixture and stir until combined. Stir in flour and flaxseed until just combined, then stir in quinoa.

Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean–about 45 minutes, but start checking at 35. Let loaf cool in pan on wire rack before turning it out of the pan.


3 thoughts on “Crackly banana bread

  1. Such a winner! I made some changes based on need and desperation (HOW did I not have cinnamon?), subbing in a bit of ground ginger and using millet instead of quinoa. The sleeper hit for me is the whole wheat flour, which adds a lovely depth of flavor. The crunch of the millet is the perfect balance between plain bread vs chopped nuts. Was delicious warm out of the oven and even better the next day once settled. 10 out of 10 would make and eat again!


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