Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Banana Oat Bread

Bananas are a special comfort food for me. As a young child in Japan, I was badly burned by boiling water from an overturned teapot. It was an accident of course, but I did have to go to the hospital and my hands were wrapped in bandages and restrained. I apparently went on a hunger strike and refused to eat anything except the bananas my mother smuggled in and fed me. To this day, bananas make me feel safe and I have them around most of the time. The only problem is I like them on the green side and they don't stay that way very long. So, I'm always looking for yet another way to use overipe bananas. Consequently, I have tried every banana bread recipe I can find and yet I always return to an old standby that I have been making for over 30 years! I like the denseness of the bread and it is just perfect with a cup of tea.

The origins of this recipe are a little murky, but I believe it was once clipped from the LA Times. Over the years I have adapted and changed it to suit my various dietary experiments - sugar free, gluten free, dairy free, etc. I have used unrefined sugar instead of refined, almond flour instead of wheat, applesauce instead of butter and eggs, apple juice, soy or rice milk instead of regular milk. It has alway worked worked no matter what I have added or substituted. So, I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I have.

Banana Oat Bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup unsifted flour (can also use Cup4Cup Gluten Free Flour)
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cup bananas mashed (about 3 large or 4 small)
1/4 cup milk
1 cup oats
Optional - 1/2 cup of walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, almonds, raisins or shredded coconut

Cream butter and sugar together, then add eggs. Mix flour, soda, salt and cinamon. Add to creamed mixture. Mash bananas and add bananas to milk. Stir into mixture, then mix in oats. Add nuts or fruit last and stir to combine.

Turn into a loaf pan or into 18 muffin tins filled with 1/4 cup batter each. Bake the loaf for 60 minutes and muffins for about 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Five Element Analysis

Tropical fruit is so sweet that it has to be considered part of the earth element and bananas being yellow and having a soft mushy texture make it even more so. Oats add even more earth element so banana bread is very grounding and using either almonds or coconuts would make it extremely earthy. Using wheat flour adds the wood element, walnuts or pecans add the water element and cinnamon gives just a hint of metal so that the only thing missing is fire. That's why you need to make some coffee or tea to go along with the banana bread and enjoy!

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