It’s been a while since I last posted something. I just came off a major writing stint. To be honest, that’s going to happen every year around this time (May), and again in December. I’m on a semester system, and as many students can attest, it’s crunch time during May. It is also a really exciting time of year. Many of my friends are graduating and moving on to do even greater things. It’s both wonderful to see, and produces a bit of angst for me as well. It wasn’t too long ago that I graduated with my BA and was experiencing the joys of walking the graduation stage with my son. I too was filled with great anticipation about the next phase of my life. However, I’m in the middle of my PhD program now and it often feels like the doldrums. I’m ready to walk that stage again and move onto the next phase in my life. Except… I still have at least two more years (being optimistic) before that can happen. Sigh.
Anyway, this post is dedicated to a dear friend of mine that just finished her PhD, and is off to the next phase of her life to do a postdoc. This is another hard part about being a student. You make wonderful friends and it is generally inevitable that these are the friends that you will part ways with since that’s the nature of being a student (whether an undergrad or a graduate student). I dedicate this post to her because when she bakes she loves to do it HEALTHY! This means she likes to replace all-purpose flour with whole wheat, and butter for oils, and she’ll cut both the fats and the sugar in a recipe by half, at minimum.
So, my friend, you will like the fact that this recipe has only a 1/4 cup of oil (except next time I make it I’m totally adding at least another 1/4 cup of some butter in addition to the oil, and probably browned butter at that), and it also has beans! Yup. That’s right. Heart healthy, good for you, BEANS. Don’t worry though, the beans (after a whiz in the food processor) simply melt into the background and nobody will ever know they’re in there.
And, since we’re being healthy, there’s no harm in adding a bit of chocolate. Chocolate, like wine, has been proven to be good for you. Serious.
Chop some up (or use chocolate chips) and throw it in there. If you’re a banana-nut lover you can also add a 1/2 cup of chopped pecans, or walnuts.
You can make this bread in a traditional loaf pan, or use a bundt pan like I did. Just make sure to butter and flour up the pan well so that it won’t stick.
FOLD, don’t stir, the ingredients. This is a “quick bread” and we don’t want to activate the flour (the gluten) too much, since we want to keep the texture of this bread cakey rather than chewy.
Load ‘er up.
Let her rest in the pan for 10 minutes and then pop her out. Then let it cool for another 30 minutes before cutting in.
And, enjoy! To your health
Oh, and Willow, I sure am gonna miss you :’(
Banana Bean and Chocolate Chip Bread
Slightly adapted from Spilling the Beans
2 very ripe bananas (I used 2.5 smaller bananas)
1 cup of canned white beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup cane sugar
1/4 grapeseed oil (you can also use canola, vegetable, walnut, etc.)
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chocolate chips (or you can use nuts, or a combo of both)
1. Preheat the oven to 350′ F.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the bananas, beans, sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla and pulse until well blended. Then pour the mixture into a large bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt and whisk together until blended.
4. Pour the flour mixture into the the wet mixture, and then using a spatula, fold all of the ingredients together until almost combined.
5. Pour in your chocolate chips (and/or any other additions you are using), and then fold them into the batter until combined. Don’t go crazy on the mixing. This is a quick bread, and you don’t want to activate the flour too much in order to ensure a tender bread.
6. Butter and flour a 6 cup bundt pan (as I did), or an 8 x 4 inch loaf (or a 9 x 5 is fine, too), and then pour in the batter. Lift the pan an inch above the counter and then gently let it drop to knock out any big air bubbles. Smooth the top of the batter with a spatula, and then put it into the oven for about 45 min to 60 min. Check on it at the 40 minute mark by sticking in a tooth pick. If the toothpick comes out dry, it’s ready.
7. Let the bread rest in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then flip it over and out of the pan to let cool for at least another 30 minutes.