May 30, 2010

grain-free banana almond butter bread


Taking a departure from my usual Sunday morning whole-grain muffin baking, today I felt the urge to try a grain-free, refined-sugar-free, nut-butter-based quick bread. Hmm, no flour, no sugar. Sounds like fun, eh? Stay with me, the results are actually delicious!

Plugging "almond butter bread" into google, I came upon a basic recipe on the blog Grain-Free Foodies. Their bread is based on almond butter, eggs, and honey, with baking soda (activated with vinegar or lemon juice) for leavening. Intrigued, and also somewhat skeptical -- I've never tried baking without some sort of grain product, since even our gluten-free classes in culinary school involved corn flour, oat flour, rolled oats, or the like -- I decided to give it a try.

I made a number of changes to the original recipe: used a couple of mashed ripe bananas in place of the honey (I'm a banana bread fanatic), reduced the number of eggs from 3 to 2, added a couple of tablespoons of freshly ground flax seeds, vanilla, cinnamon, and shards of dark chocolate (roughly chopped from a bar of Endangered Species 72% dark I had in the cupboard). A light sprinkling of date sugar gives a little extra sweetness and crunch on top (date sugar is simply dried dates that are finely ground into a powder. It's a great unrefined sweetener for baking.)

And I was astonished with the results -- the loaf rose beautifully in the oven, emerging tall and golden brown, slid easily out of the pan after cooling for about 15 minutes, and held together perfectly when sliced. The flavor is very banana-y and subtly sweet, with nice hints of complex bitterness from the dark chocolate shards. It has a moist, tender, and light texture and a fine crumb. I've got to admit, I don't exactly understand how this came out so well without any flour. But I'm going with it.

The chocolate is the only source of refined sugar in this recipe; since we're using a small amount of a high-cacao dark chocolate, I don't consider it a big deal. But feel free to leave it out if you prefer -- an equal amount of chopped walnuts, pecans, or unsweeteened coconut flakes would be good in its place.


grain-free banana almond butter bread
Adapted from Grain-Free Foodies

butter or oil for greasing loaf pan
2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 large eggs
1 cup unsalted almond butter (I used chunky)
2 Tbsp freshly ground flax seeds
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of fine grained sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
1/3 cup roughly chopped dark chocolate, or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp date sugar (to sprinkle on top)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Combine bananas, eggs, almond butter, flax seeds, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl. Blend for a few minutes (I used my electric mixer) until mixture is smooth. 
  3. Add baking soda and vinegar and mix for about 15 seconds more. Stir in chocolate pieces.
  4. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan, and sprinkle date sugar evenly over top. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes before slicing. 

15 comments:

  1. wat a lovely n tempting color...very interesting recipe.
    You are most welcome to my blog.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fascinating. Grainless bread! It certainly looks as inviting and delicious as grain banana breads. Of course you do have that grand chocolate....

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh my, this looks like a fantastic recipe!!! It's not easy to make a flourless bread, and it looks like it turned out beautifully! I'm totally going to try this!
    oxo

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am astounded, Nancy. How did that turn out so beautifully without any kind of flour?? I'll have to try it just to prove it to myself! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Must try this as anything with banana is my fav.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow, Nancy---this is totally new ground for me----and it looks stupendous! No one would guess it was made without flour. I gotta give it a try..

    ReplyDelete
  7. You should try the banana caramel sticky buns and the hazelnut cake. Those are my two favorites and popular with family and friends who can eat whatever they like. It is my understanding that the eggs give these baked goods their loft and the nuts/seeds that provide the structure.

    Grain-free baking is a special field, and I'm glad you found us. And oh how I envy you and that chocolate!

    Teri from Grain-free Foodies

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks, Jay!

    Claudia - true, how can you go wrong when chocolate is involved?!

    Lady Grey - this is one of my favorite breads now - hope you like it!

    Barbara - I'm still a bit astounded at how well this turned out. And I can also report that it kept beautifully for several days, at room temp in an airtight container. Might try baking it in a muffin tin next time.

    Welcome, Haddock - thanks for your comment!

    Nancy - yup, while eating the first slice I kept saying "I can't believe this is made without flour!" If I didn't know, I never would have guessed.

    Hi Teri - thanks for stopping by! I will most definitely be trying the sticky buns and hazelnut cake. Mmmm, hazelnut is one of my favorites. Thanks for the great recipe inspiration; thanks to your blog I'll be going grain-free much more often.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This gluten free bread looks quite fabulous, dear Nancy!

    I follow a gluten free diet & I feel a lot better, have a lots more energy & lose weight at the same time!

    This is surely a must try!!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sophie - glad to hear that gluten-free is working for you!

    ReplyDelete
  11. It's like you are daring me to make this cause I'm reading the recipe and thinking no way!:-)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hey Wizzy - yup, I dare you! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I couldn't believe it either! I made two loaves today! This bread is so moist and delicious!!!!!

      Delete
  13. Made it, loved it, thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wonderful! So glad you enjoyed it, Becky, and thanks for letting me know :)

    ReplyDelete