Easy Low Sugar Banana Bread
A Slice of Comfort
To many, myself included, Banana Bread is Comfort, Coziness, Home and Mom. It’s warm kitchens on cold days, nourishment and indulgence in one tender slice, nostalgia studded with walnuts (or chocolate chips) and paired with cold milk (or hot tea). And it has been this to generations of Americans.
Banana bread is the most searched bread recipe online, ever. And particularly during times of stress or unrest, Banana bread searches skyrocket. Its universal appeal has stood the test of time.
Banana Bread’s humble beginnings…
Made popular during the 1930’s, it’s success was predicated by two factors; the great depression and the development and mass distribution of soda based leaveners. The Great depression necessitated the utmost frugality, so finding ways to use overripe fruit was paramount. And the availability of chemical leaveners like baking soda and baking powder, ushered in a new era of baking where “quick breads” could be made in a speedier fashion than long-rise yeasted breads.
This combination gave birth to the quick bread known as banana bread which throughout its history has been featured in cookbooks, newspapers, ladies magazines and now of course, hundreds of versions exist online. Variations run the gamut from heavy loaf breads with little flavoring other than banana to cake-like concoctions with all manner of additions (think nuts, chocolate, dried fruits, spices, vanilla, etc).
Many recent recipes mirror the health trends popular at the moment- gluten free version featuring a variety of alternative flours (click here for a gluten free version), paleo or keto versions which rely heavily on nut and coconut flours, both of which are high in fat and lower in carbohydrate and dairy free versions that drop the milk, buttermilk or sour cream. And there are ones like the one I offer here; lower sugar versions that cut the heavy sweetness (this version also happens to be dairy free). In fact there is no refined sugar in the recipe – it is sweetened by a mere ¼ cup pf honey or pure maple syrup and the natural sweetness of overripe bananas.
I love this recipe because it hits all the marks. The lower sugar content allows the banana flavor to shine but still offers enough deliciousness to feel like you are having a treat. The addition of a scraping of nutmeg adds nuanced flavor and complexity without overriding the banana. White whole wheat flour adds fiber and density without weighing it down, while almond flour brings in moisture, pumps up the protein and reduces the carb content of the bread. And the calories come in at a fraction of comparable cake-like banana breads, allowing this treat to go beyond dessert.
For breakfast with a smear of peanut butter and hot coffee? Yes please! For an afternoon pick-me-up with a swipe of cream cheese and a sprinkle of cinnamon? No-brainer. At 170 calories per slice, with 4 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber, this banana bread is a delicious way to enjoy some comfort anytime you wish. Or anytime the darkening bananas on your kitchen counter beckon….
Low Sugar Banana Bread
- 5×9 loaf pan
- 3/4 cup almound flour
- 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- dash grated nutmeg – optional
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 Tbsp light olive oil
- 1 cup mashed banana, approximately two large, very ripe bananas
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup or honey
- 1/3 cup mini chocloate chips plus 1 Tbsp (or chopped chocolate, walnuts, berries or dried fruit)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease a 5×9 loaf pan with pan spray, butter or coconut oil.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients; almond flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. If desired, grate a dash of fresh nutmeg into mixture or add a sprinkle of grated nutmeg. Mix lightly with a fork to combine.
- In a smaller bowl, combine mashed bananas, eggs, oil and maple syrup or honey. Stir to mix thoroughly.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and using a spoon or rubber spatula, stir just until ingredients are thorooughly combined. Do not overmix.
- Add the chocolate chips (or other mix-ins), stir quickly to combine and pour into prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle reserved chocolate chips on top.
- Bake in pre-heated oven for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown, from to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes our clean.
- Cool for 20 minutes in the pan. Once slightly cooled, turn out onto a wire rack to cool to room temperature.
- Serve immediately or wrap tightly in plastic wrap or tin foil. Will keep at room temperature for 2 days or refrigerated for 5-7 days.
- This bread freezes well. Wrap in plastic wrap and tin foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature.