Sweet genes.

Throughout the years, I unknowingly took a lot of food cues from my dad. I've mentioned that I grew up in an Italian-American family, but my father and I shared preferences that far transcend the typical wedge of lasagna or tiramisu. 

I'm talking carbs, here. Simple sugars (the whiter and starchier the better) that are broken down and rebirthed into sweet bites of bread, cookies and tarts. Brian likes to tease that when he met me in high school, I would put away chocolate-covered cannolis and cinnamon rolls as though they constituted a square meal. In my mind, they did. Especially the cinnamon rolls. You know, the ones in the can. 

While we were suckers for almost any sweet that passed our way, when I think of my father's favorites I think of three in particular that share a common bond...bananas.

1. Banana Bread--classic American favorite.
2. Bananas Foster--classic dessert reserved for nice meals out when the night calls for a flaming finish.
3. Entenmann's Banana Fudge Cake-- classic American processed indulgence that never, ever expires.

Moral of the story? For starters, I like to think that good taste is passed down and I'm happy to carry the torch in the defense of bananas and more importantly, what they bring to the dessert table.

Secondly, no one should eat that much white flour and sugar. Luckily, we've learned that lesson and now only put our bodies, digestive systems and waistlines through crazy carb fests on special occasions.

Banana Bread
Makes one loaf

This recipe combines the classic elements with some new school ingredients. White sugar is toned down by organic cane sugar and coconut nectar. Eggs are replaced by flax and pureed fruit. Rest-assured: The results are still deliciously old school.

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. groung nutmeg
pinch all spice

3 medium bananas, mashed
1/4 cup apple sauce (I prefer to use apple butter for more flavor)
3 Tbs. flaxmeal*
1 cup cane sugar
1/3 cup coconut nectar*
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup almond milk with 1 tsp cider vinegar (to create a 'butter'milk)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
* Can be found in the health section of your supermarket

1. Prehead the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients and stir until evenly combined.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and whisk vigorously together. The flaxmeal may become slightly frothy and simulate an egg white--this is what you want!

3. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and fold in gently until all of the flour is incorporated and you have a smooth batter. Grease a loaf pan and pour the batter in, smoothing out the top to create an even layer.

4. Bake for about 50-60 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool briefly before serving.

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