Thursday, November 04, 2010

Banana Bread | Healthy Snack

I usually poo-poo anything low-fat. I don't believe in no-fat or low-fat foods. I'm fortunate not have to worry about calories or where they come from (please don't hate me). The doctor recently suggested that I would be in better shape if I gained a few pounds. Outside of this, I eat whole fat everything including milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream because it is much more gratifying. Plus, I actually eat less of the item than say they're lower fat/cal version. My craving is fulfilled and I haven't eaten something with substitutes and additives.

Given this, I was surprised that I wanted to try this low- fat version of banana bread. I tried it only because it came out of Cook's Illustrated and if they like it, it must be pretty good. Plus, did you know that a slice of banana bread has 220 calories and 6 grams of fat?! This is actually not horrible considering the alternatives but Cook's was challenged to come up with something leaner, moist and full of banana flavor.

Their secret ingredients, fat-free cream cheese (I know, fat-free!) and roasted bananas which makes them sweeter, hence less sugar is required. Have you ever roasted bananas? It was my first time, and it really made the bread pop. My guinea pigs devoured the bread -- it was gone in two days. Given the low-fat content, I'm not sure this version would freeze well. Eat pronto!

Makes one 8-inch loaf

Ingredients
- 4 large ripe bananas
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 c sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 T canola oil
- 2 ounces fat-free cream cheese, cut into 4 pieces and chilled

Preparation
1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly coat and 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with the vegetable oil spray and set aside.

2. Bake the bananas (skins on) on a rimmed baking sheet until the skins are completely black, about 20 minutes. (Do not turn off the oven.) Set the bananas aside to cool at room temperature.

3. Peel the bananas, then mash them with a potato masher in a small bowl until smooth. Measure out and reserve 1 1/2 cups of the mashed bananas, discarding any excess.

4. Whisk the eggs and vanilla together in a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together with a handheld mixer on medium-low speed until combined. Add the oil and cream cheese, 1 piece at a time, and mix until only -ea-size pieces of the cream cheese remain, about 1 minute. Slowly beat in the egg mixture, then add the mashed bananas and beat until incorporate, about 30 seconds.

5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth top. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 50 to 60 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.

6. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack and let cool for 1 hour before serving. (The bread can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up toe 3 days.)

I found that I need an additional 10 minutes though I have an oven thermometer that helps me gets the temperature just right.

24 comments:

Katerina said...

You are so lucky not having to worry about your weight. I used to be like you but now that I am 41 my metabolism has changed and I have to be very careful if I don't want to gain weight. The bread is ideal for me.

Julie M. said...

I have never roasted a banana before; I'm intrigued! But of course, being the foodie that I am, I will now HAVE to try this. The bread looks delicious and you usually can't go wrong with a cook's illustrated recipe!

Beth said...

I sometimes find banana bread a bit lacking in flavor, but I like your idea of roasting the bananas. I'll try that next time!

lostpastremembered said...

I love banana bread but hardly ever make it since it has soooo much oil in it... look forward to trying a lower oil version.. thanks for the recipe@

sinfullyspicy said...

Lucky you ..that you need to put on pounds..
The banana bread looks super moist ..I never used cream cheese in banana bread and I am slightly scared of doing anything with bananas except mushing them or slicing them..but roasting sounds new and yum too!

Tasha said...

What a wonderful idea to roast the bananas! This sounds awesome.

Chow and Chatter said...

looks wonderful and I agree all in moderation :-) but you can have a little extra :-)

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

You are very lucky that you don't have to watch fat or calorie intake! I never used to until I reached a 'certain' age. I would be happy to try this lower fat version of banana bread!

My Carolina Kitchen said...

I used to poo-poo things that were low fat too. So many new products have come on the market since they first began to have low fat foods. Things have definitely changed a lot.

Love your banana bread. It would be great toasted for breakfast.
Sam

Pushpa said...

Have to try your version of the banana bread must have a nice flavor to it,I love you potato curry too...

A SPICY PERSPECTIVE said...

I have a great banana bread recipe, but it's definitely NOT low-fat. I'll have to give this a shot! It looks decedent enough!

Dimah said...

This bread sounds and looks fabulous!

Joanne said...

I try to eat low fat food most of the time but when it comes to baking, I go all out. If you're gonna have dessert you should just have dessert you know? The roasted banana in this does sound delicious though!

In response to your comment about marathon running, I think most people actually gain weight when they run a marathon because you're so hungry all the time and you're gaining muscle. As long as you eat a lot of dense, high calorie foods (like peanut butter) while you're training and if you really try to eat enough, I think you'd be fine!

Stella said...

Hey Nirmala, I won't hate you b/c you're skinny and beautiful (smile). I'm pretty skinny myself, though I do love low fat foods. Just b/c I know what fat does within the arteries though;) Oh, and your banana bread from Cook's Illustrated looks perfect. Almost like one could make a sandwich with it. Nice...
p.s. I made a version of one of your breads the other day. It was really good (it's gone). I'm still suffering in the 'pretty' category though. Maybe I just can't make a pretty loaf. I'll keep trying though!

fortheloveofyum said...

Lucky you! i wish I had your metabolism! ;)

Your banana bread looks fantastic, love the addition of cream cheese, a slight tang to the sweetness of the bananas.

redmenace said...

I wish I was so lucky. No one ever tells me to put on weight. Quite the opposite lately :(

This looks wonderful! Perfect for my lower fat diet these days. Thanks! xo

Ameena said...

I've never thought to put cream cheese in banana bread and I make banana bread constantly! Brilliant idea. I usually cut the sugar down to half of what a recipe says and I never have a problem with something not being sweet enough.

Roasted bananas...what a fantastic idea!

Ameena said...

PS - I miss the days when I didn't have to worry about calories...

Diana's Cocina said...

You are such a lucky lady! Your bread looks heavenly:)

Foodessa said...

I probably would have never really considered roasting bananas especially since the ripe ones I mash and freeze are always at their peek of sweetness.
I may have to give it a try just for the heck of comparing. Thanks for sharing.

Flavourful wishes,
Claudia

Rita said...

I am always looking for low fat; so I'm keeping this banana loaf

s said...

I also have been told I need to gain weight so when I saw your post I jumped right in - Banana bread is my all time favorite actually banana anything - every year for my BD I have banana cream pie! Never though to roast a banana but then they do that with Plantains so why not?! Thanks for the weekend project I doubt mine will be a pretty though.

nancy at good food matters said...

Like most of us, I have never roasted bananas, but when you think of it, it makes perfect sense---intensifying the flavor. Terrific tip, Nirmala!

kathie said...

I LOVE banana bread. Never roasted a banana before, though