no-added-sugar banana bread, three ways

This post was originally going to be about a no-added-sugar banana bread recipe I found almost two years ago and have been making ever since.  However, I recently found another recipe for no-sugar-added banana bread that looked intriguing, so I gave that one a try. Turns out the first one had great flavor and the second had a better texture, so I melded them together to create my own!

I mentioned the first no-added-sugar banana bread recipe here back in January and planned to post about it soon after.  Well, February has come and gone and we’re halfway through March and I’m just now getting to it. Sheesh.

(This is also NOT to be confused with the ‘made-over’ Martha Stewart banana bread recipe posted here.  Absolutely fabulous, but it does include sugar.)

Clearly, I’m into banana bread.  Or I just buy too many and have to find something to do with all my too-ripe bananas…

First, my recipe:


1 cup AP flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tablespoon flaxseed meal

6 bananas, very ripe and preferably thawed from frozen (approximately 2 – 2 1/2 cups)

2 eggs

6 tablespoons melted coconut oil or light olive oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

1/2 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin. Mash bananas and mix with beaten eggs, oil and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients and add to wet, mixing until just combined. Fold in walnuts and coconut, if using.

Using an ice cream scoop, portion into muffin tin and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.

Check out the height on this one!  And that nicely browned, domed top!  Sugar helps things brown, which is why sugar-free baked products don’t always look the same as those with sugar.


I was pleasantly surprised to find the inside had a very nice crumb as well, not too dense or rubbery like many ‘healthy’ baked goods. Again, sugar helps baked products achieve the right texture, so omitting it can lead to all sorts of baking fails.


I like my banana bread with ‘stuff’ in it, so I tend to add walnuts for sure and dried fruit or chocolate chips if I’m feeling fancy.  You certainly don’t have to add anything if you don’t want to.  I’ve also experimented with how much or little I mash the bananas and found I prefer mine with small chunks of banana. I’ve been adding shredded coconut ever since I tried Martha Stewart’s recipe (linked above) and haven’t looked back.  It adds excellent flavor and texture.

This was the first time I experimented with the two recipes and am very pleased. I think I might still experiment with some of the spices, as I like a really cinnamon-y bread.  I’m considering using more cinnamon, or substituting pumpkin or apple pie spice to achieve that flavor.

I split the flours to achieve a better texture and kept the increased bananas for added sweetness and liquid.  I’m not against a little fat in my bread, so I kept the oil from recipe two as well for good texture and flavor. I also like flaxseed meal for it’s health benefits (a great fat source!) and texture, so I kept that from recipe one.

And, for completeness, here are the two recipes that inspired my recipe with my recent photos.

Recipe one:

Like I said, I’ve been making it with pretty good results for a while now, but always felt the muffins turned out a bit dense.  This recipe includes whole wheat flour, a flax egg instead of a real egg and four bananas. Photo below:


Verdict: Compared to the other two recipes, this one looks, feels and tastes like a ‘healthy’ muffin.  But, I didn’t know any better and kept baking them because they were easy, tasted good and turned out relatively well. However, the muffins never really baked up high with domed tops and were susceptible to bad batches that turned out heavy.

Recipe two:

After seeing her photos, I was very excited to try it.  Check out the browned tops and height below!  Elle’s recipe includes regular all-purpose flour, two eggs and more bananas than the other recipe.



Verdict: A great product, but left me a little wanting on the flavor side.  I wanted more heft and heartiness without the density of the first recipe.

Honestly, both of the above recipes are winners.  I was shocked at how well the first recipe turned out, so I’m even more thrilled that others are experimenting with healthier baking that highlights the natural flavors of foods without sacrificing healthy fat and a pleasing texture.

And speaking of no-added-sugar…I bet you can guess what Andrew and I will be giving up in April!  More on that soon!



KAF whole-wheat pizza crust, step-by-step

As Heather and I have been eating our way through the pantry and freezer, we decided to make homemade pizza, since we had all the ingredients on-hand.  Instead of using the dough recipe that came from my breadmaker (not bad in a pinch, but made with all white flour, which I don’t prefer), I decided to take a peek in my King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking cookbook.

This was a book withdrawn from the Carmel, IN, library (libraries withdraw older, outdated books all the time and often sell them for 50 cents or so all the time) that Andrew’s grandmother gave me awhile ago.  I LOVE it.  I treat it kind of like a whole-wheat baking “bible” of sorts.  If I have something I’d like to make, or something I’d like to make in a whole-wheat version, I just open to the index and wha-lah!  There is a recipe for it!

I found this recipe:

Sounds yummy, huh?  Well, before you start salivating too much, I just used it for the crust.

It called for the water, honey, yeast and some of the flour to be mixed and then given a rest for an hour.

Disregard my crappy photos…my kitchen has almost ZERO natural light (something I MUST change in the next house!) and I’m still a beginner on Andrew’s fancy-schmancy camera.

After the rest, it called for 1 tbsp each of dried oregano and basil (a teaspoon probably would have been fine), as well as salt, cayenne pepper and olive oil.

After mixing the herbs in, the dough shrunk way down and was really wet.  Then I added the remainder of the flour, and this is what I got:

Doesn’t look much like dough, yet does it?  I should have used my KAF pastry mat here–would have made a better photo, and the measurements on it are so handy.

After 5 minutes of kneading, this is what the dough turned into:

Nice!  I did think this was one of the better photos, by the way.  I got two of these softball-plus size balls of dough, then gave them a 20 minute rest while I prepped ingredients.

A pineapple (how appropriate), leftover ham that had been frozen after our Easter feast, green peppers and mozzarella cheese.

I LOVE hawaiian pizza.  LOVE LOVE LOVE.  Unfortunately, neither Andrew nor Heather share this love, so I kept the pineapple pieces to 1/4 of the pie.

I rolled each ball into about a 12-inch round crust, then pricked the bottom with a fork and into the oven it went.  This was one of those recipes that calls for you to pre-bake the crust, which I have to admit, works best.  All too often my pizza crust is doughy in the middle from all the sauce and toppings.  Pre-baking ensures a nice crispy bottom and top before adding all the goodies.

Our topped pizza.  With two pizzas, this was a bit of a process.  Pre-heat pizza stone.  Slide crust #1 onto hot stone (tricky, to say the least), roll out crust #2, remove crust #1 and find somewhere to put it, then load #2 onto hot stone (trickier this time) and into the oven.  Top crust #1 while #2 is baking, then remove #2 from oven, crank up the heat and load topped pizza #1 onto hot stone AGAIN (this time, the crust was crisp, so very easy).

Our finished pizza!  YUM.  Verdict on the crust:  Heather wasn’t a huge fan, but it wasn’t bad.  If you’re in the mood for total splurge-worthy pizza, go with a white or half-white flour dough instead.  This is not pizza hut pizza.  While not cardboard-like in any way and very flavorful, it’s definitely a wheat crust.  I really liked it, mostly because of the texture.  It was a cross between a “hand-tossed” and a “thin and crispy” crust, which I loved.  And for me, a lot of the joy of eating is knowing I’m having something really good for me.

And because it made TWO crusts, I have one topped and in the freezer ready to bake for later :).  Half hawaiian and half green pepper and ham.