This month for the Secret Recipe Club I had the privilege and pleasure to fill-in for a blogger who wasn’t able to make their assignment at the last minute. After volunteering and getting the blog information I would be filling in for, I was a little overwhelmed because I’ve been following this blog for years and have been so impressed with it that I almost felt I wouldn’t be able to do it justice. That said, I certainly loved looking through all the wonderful posts and deciding what I could do with just a couple days left until the reveal.
Spinach Tiger is the blog I am posting for since our Group A leader, Jane, didn’t want her left out. Angela’s blog, if you haven’t been there yet, is full of such great recipes. But not only that, she has added a perfect balance of wit, humor and knowledge with her sharing. She lives in Nashville with her husband and writes great posts for restaurants they visit in the area. You should finish my post and go right to hers. Read more about her on her About Page. You’ll soon wish you were her BFF. How I would love to be able to cook like she does. My family is too picky. If I was real life friends with Angela, I would eat everything she makes. ;)
In my haste to find something to make from her blog, as I only had two days to do it, I settled on this Banana Nut Bread. I know, kind of lame of me—but with overripe bananas on the counter and everyone here loving banana cake, bread, muffins, I decided to try her recipe. I’ve probably made too many banana bread recipes in the past to count them, but just like chocolate chip cookies, you can never try too many.
Angela got the recipe from a friend and it is quite similar to many others, though she cut the sugar, which is totally fine. I agree with her, banana bread often has more sugar than necessary. What I did like was that she said you can basically put whatever add ins on the top of the loaf or inside. Her friend puts the nuts on top that are mixed with a little brown sugar. That then reminded me of one of my favorite cakes, this Absolutely Delicious Banana Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake that has a swirl of brown sugar, nuts, cinnamon and chocolate in the middle and on top. I decided I had to do that with this bread. Had to. ;) I only wish I could eat some of it. It looks great. Technically I could eat some, but since I’m not eating gluten or refined sugar right now, I haven’t eaten any of it. The boys are eating it and Kevin even made a piece of French toast with some this morning while making breakfast for the boys.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup mashed over ripe banana (3 medium)
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup canola/vegetable oil
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x5 inch pan with cooking spray. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Whisk together to combine. Mash the bananas. (I also do this in the food processor, I like it more like a puree than a little chunky.) Combine in a separate bowl the eggs, vanilla and oil. Add the bananas and egg/oil mixture to the dry ingredients and stir just to combine. Don’t overmix.
Make the swirl/topping mix. Combine in a small bowl the nuts, 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, mini chocolate chips and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Pour half the batter into the pan. Sprinkle evenly half the swirl mix over the first layer. Pour the rest of the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle the remaining topping mix over the batter. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Let cool completely in pan. Remove from pan by carefully turning it to the side and letting the loaf fall into your hand. (A few of the nuts and topping will fall off, but it’s okay, you can eat those.)
Definitely a test of wills here for me with this one as I love all things banana and adding nuts and chocolate are like heaven to me. I suppose there comes a time when we choose our health over indulging in all the treats we’d like and I don’t feel like I’m suffering.
That reminds me, do you know how cool Angela from Spinach Tiger is? Just because she wanted to see what it was like, try it out, be in the know and understand what being gluten free is like, she did just that for a month recently. Check it out here. She had a craving for a fresh tomato tart at that time and made a gluten free pie crust. I SO wanted to get that done in time for this posting, but it was not to be—it WILL happen soon though. I’ve been craving apple pie, so I do plan to try her Gluten Free Pie/Tart Crust here. Her post is full of tips on making a gluten free crust work just right. An apple tart or galette is calling my name. ;)
I, like Angela, don’t have dietary reasons for giving up gluten (or refined sugar for that matter), but after being diagnosed with MS recently, I decided to try going gluten free and sugar free. I don’t really know if it is helping me, but I KNOW it certainly can’t be hurting me to not have white flour and refined sugars. I am finding a world of good things that are still just as much a treat as the refined things out there. And I know it will be okay to go for that splurge once in a while if I really want. Check out my blog in recent months for those “healthier” treats I’ve been making.
Thanks for picking me to fill-in this month, Jane. My apologies to Angela for not being able to do her blog more justice that it deserves. The best thing to do is CHECK OUT SPINACH TIGER for yourself, especially if you haven’t been there before. Since I have two posts today, don’t miss my other post for my October secret assignment for Kate’s blog, Kitchen Trial and Error. So many great blogs out there, so little time.