Banana-Avocado Bread

Stay with me here….. You might be as dubious as I was to see an avocado infiltrating a harmless banana bread, but this is one of those healthy “recipe makeover” substitutions I can whole heartily endorse. I’m all for healthy food of course, but I’m not a big fan of healthy versions of not-so-healthy things if they fall short on the yumminess factor.

It turns out you can substitute avocado for half the butter in many baking recipes. So you’re not only replacing bad fat with a healthier one, you’re also adding some extra nutrients. In our banana bread test, the avocado didn’t end up altering the flavor or color significantly and the end result was as moist and tender as the original. This is excellent news since my family has a major addiction to banana bread and I have become “the banana bread lady” at my son’s preschool. So now we’re eager to see how the avocado fares in some of our other favorite baked goods.

We decided to put this “healthier banana bread” experiment to the ultimate test by making it for a recent family soiree put on by the awesome folks of SF Music Together. [If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, Music Together is a fabulous children’s music program not only here in San Francisco, but around the world, where families can share and create music.] The party was tons of fun with face-painting, singing and tambourine shaking galore — Simran even snagged some totally cute hair clips from Made in the Haight.  The banana-avocado bread was a big hit across the board and there wasn’t a crumb left to take home. We heard many a “yum” which is definitely music to our ears.

Banana-Avocado Bread

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup softened butter (half a stick)
  • Half an avocado (approximately 1/4 cup)
  • 2 cups flour (I used 1 1/4 cups app purpose, and 3/4 cup whole wheat)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 very ripe bananas (this is not worth making if your bananas aren’t super ripe)
  • 3 TBL milk
  1. Cream together sugar, butter and avocado.
  2. Stir in the eggs and vanilla extract and mix well.
  3. In a seperate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt until well mixed.
  4. Fold together the butter and flour mixture until well incorporated.
  5. Mash 3 very ripe bananas. Mix in the mashed bananas and milk.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until the top springs back when you press it.

Crummy Weather & Rotten Bananas

Stuck at home on a rainy morning with nothing to do and a bunch of very rotten bananas sitting on the counter, we decided to pass the time by making banana bread.  Somehow whenever we are stuck at home, Ria and I end up working on trying a fun recipe together.  Then off she goes to her afternoon preschool and “shows off” to her friends and teachers about what she cooked in the morning.  “Teacher Nancy, I just made the BEST banana bread,” she says as she is getting out of the car.

Banana bread is one of those classic things almost everyone can bake and a fun project with the little ones.  Get them busy with the peeling and mashing of the bananas, measuring, mixing and adding their own creative little touches.  In Ria’s case the “creative” addition was chocolate chips.  We love our banana bread slathered with nutella (yes, we are a little bit crazy around here) and made into a sandwich with tiny scoops of vanilla ice-cream.  Great treat for picnics and school lunches.

Banana Walnut Bread – from Food Network Kitchens

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for preparing the pan
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 very ripe bananas, peeled, and mashed with a fork (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips (a Ria-addition)

Directions

  1. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl, set aside.
  2. Whisk the eggs and vanilla together in a liquid measuring cup with a spout, set aside. Lightly brush a 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan with butter. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. With an electric hand-held mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually pour the egg mixture into the butter while mixing until incorporated. Add the mashed bananas
  4. With a rubber spatula, mix in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Fold in the nuts and chocolate chips and transfer the batter to the prepared pan.
  5. Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Cool the bread in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Turn the bread out of the pan and let cool completely on the rack.