I had been craving pumpkin bread on a whim before Christmas and true to form, wanted to find a way to squeeze as many calories out of a recipe as possible. I started out by googling a low-fat version just to see what tricks they had for making the bread healthier. After remembering some good tricks like substituting applesauce for oil, and after some experimenting with sugar/splenda blends and light butter, I ended up with my own little recipe which turned out divine. So this time when I wanted to make some banana bread to take advantage of some ripe bananas I had, I decided to do the same - making these same tweaks to this recipe I found on RecipeZaar.
So enjoy this version below based on some of my suggestions and the great ideas I found in the comments to the recipe on Recipe Zaar. Also, this supposedly makes two loaves, but they were awfully skimpy when I did it, so I think I would take the advice found in the comments to make muffins instead (plus this makes it easier to control portions!)
- 4 very ripe bananas
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup blend of regular sugar and splenda, equal parts.
- 2 tablespoons light butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons applesauce
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Some things to keep in mind...
- Make it healthier by making substitues for the flour... some people substitute half a cup of wheat flour, or half a cup of oats, or both - oats would be good in the muffin version!
- Not every "light butter" is the same... Land O Lakes light butter is 1/3 of the fat and calories of regular - and I can never taste a difference! I picked up a package of another brand of "light" butter that was only half the fat - Land O Lakes definitely won that contest!
- Always add salt... I was surprised when this recipe didn't call for salt at first, so I made sure to add about 1/4 of a teaspoon. salt really brings out the flavors in food, sweet or savory.
- This recipe is very sweet... Some of the comments mentioned cutting down the sugar blend to about 3/4 of a cup. This makes a lot of sense especially if you're using sweetened applesauce for the butter substitute. (I personally bought sweetened because I knew if I had to buy a whole jar, I would want to eat sweetened applesauce as a snack.) Not to mention that ripened bananas are deliciously sweet on their own!
There's really nothing stopping you from just dumping all the ingredients in a bowl, mixing it all together, and then pouring it in the greased pans to bake, but I really think following these directions will make the end product just a little better. So here you go:
- Preheat oven to 350
- Cream sugar with butter (this helps to get all the butter blended smoothly!)
- Add egg, and beat lightly to get the mixture to fluff up a little.
- Add the 4 bananas, already smashed up in a separate bowl (a pastry fork works really well for mashing and mixing the bananas if you don't feel like busting out the mixer)
- Add the vanilla, and applesauce.
- Then add all the remaining dry ingredients and mix well.
- Pour mixture into pan sprayed with cooking spray so they don't stick! (Either 2 loaf pans, or a 12-cup muffin pan)
- Bake for around 50 minutes, probably less for muffins, but keep an eye on them either way. You'll be able to tell it's all ready when the color is good and golden brown, or when a knife comes out clean from the center.
- Remove muffins or loaves from pans to cool on a rack.
When I made this recipe with the 2 Tbsp of butter, and full 1.5 cup of flour and 1 cup splenda / sugar blend, the whole batch had 30 weight watchers points - making 1/5 of each loaf about 3 points. I'm going to experiment soon with the muffins, using less butter and substituting 1/2 cup of oats for 1/2 cup of the flour - which I think can make these bad boys about 2 points per muffin!