Baking
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Banana Bread (Egg & Dairy-Free)

I owe this perfectly simple and healthy recipe to a dear friend of mine in Geneva. It’s deliciously sweet thanks to a little aromatic honey and orchard fresh apple juice­­. Amazingly healthy, this banana bread recipe can be transformed into something divine by using your favorite variety of honey or maple syrup for its caramel-like overtones. We had fresh apple juice from the farmer, so used that for this recipe. But if you love peach or pear juice, spruce it up and use that instead!

The wonderful thing about this banana bread is it that it is so amazingly simple to prepare and is perfect to have on hand when you are craving something a little sweet, but guilt-free. I think you’re going to love this one!

Magali educated me on the fact that one of the best things you can do to improve your baking is switching to aluminum-free baking powder (not to mention whole wheat pastry flour for its delicate texture). The baking powder is the leavening agent usually called for in recipes where there are alkaline ingredients, as opposed to baking soda which is often used to balance acidic ingredients, such as vinegar, lemon juice, buttermilk, or yogurt. What happens is that when the two come into contact, carbon dioxide bubbles are formed, resulting in a leavening of the batter. Baking powder on the other hand, doesn’t need an acidic ingredient to release its leavening power. I digress…what makes aluminum-free baking powder special? Well, there’s that wonderful thing called “taste”. Have you ever experienced a bitter, “tinny” flavor when biting into a muffin? If so, that’s because of the type of baking powder used…and possibly the overuse of it.

I even read somewhere that there that there may be a correlation (although not definitive) between health problems due to the use of regular baking powder and cooking with non-anondized aluminum pots and pans. Read more here.

BANANA BREAD (Egg & Dairy-Free)
Yields 1 loaf

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup regular whole wheat flour (spelt flour works great too)
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2-3 medium-sized ripe bananas
1/2 cup honey (alternatively, use 1/3 cup maple syrup)
1/3 – 1/2 cup cloudy apple juice (alternatively, use peach or pear juice) (80-120 ml)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (60 ml)
4 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
2 teaspoons powdered vanilla
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

METHOD:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C

2. Cream the oil and sweetening ingredients together. Mash the bananas separately and beat them into the oil mixture.

3. In a separate bowl, sift all the dry ingredients together and add them to the wet mixture.

4. Add the 1/3 cup juice (80 ml) and vanilla and beat well. Add the extra juice only if the batter is too stiff.

5. Bake for 55-65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean. Turn out onto wire rack and allow to cool before slicing.

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