Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sugar Free Banana Bread

We don't do the sugar thing in our house for a large variety of reasons. It started out because a couple of us have some seriously horrible reactions to sugar. While I've been aware of a variety of natural sweeteners, finding recipes, and learning to use them, is a whole different story. However, it's always a load of fun when we find a great recipe that everyone enjoys. Such was the case with our recent rendition of banana bread.. 

You see, Morgan had been begging for banana bread for a while. I have a recipe, somewhere, for making it with pure honey. He isn't particularly found of honey, and while he can't taste it in many baked goods I do believe he wasn't impressed with the banana bread recipe I'd used a year or so ago. (Yes, seriously it's been a year since I've made banana bread....)

I recently purchased the cookbook Sweet and SugarFree by Karen E. Barkie. Keep in mind that the cookbook was written by a women who hadn't had sugar in quite sometime. None of the recipes call for sugar. All recipes are made using fruit, fruit juice, fruit juice concentrate, or some combination of the aforementioned products. This was a tough one for me.

I can't go to my local grocery store and pick up a bottle, frozen can, or any other sort of fruit juice concentrate. However, I know I can make my own fruit juice concentrate (if I wanted) by boiling fruit juice until it's reduced in half. Again, not something I'm terribly interested in considering the fresh apple juice we buy is a bit pricey. However, I was game for the book..

We have since made 2.5 recipes. Yes, I did say half, trust me on this one.. Our first recipe was for a blueberry cake. Unfortunately the cake called for orange juice concentrate and coconut. I omitted the coconut (can't stand the stuff!), and just used regular orange juice.  I ended up adding a half teaspoon of pure stevia to it because I knew my gang wouldn't like it. Between that and the blueberries you put in it they loved it.

I preferred the Apple Raisin Coffee Cake which was awesome! Super moist too. I will admit that I also added a half teaspoon of Stevia because I had no apple juice concentrate. I can obtain it here, but I have to pay a fortune (double the price of normal juice) and I can only get it at select health food stores. If I had used the concentrate instead of regular juice I think it would not have needed stevia.

Remember though, I haven't had sugar since before the first of the year, and the kids haven't had any since the first of February.. So we're not into anything mega sweet. This can cause problems when serving things to others, but so far most of our non-sugary treats have been okay with our guests. I'm not saying all treats with all guests, but at least some of the guests have liked whatever they've been given. Trying saying that one 10x fast!

Now for the half recipe. I have four recipes for banana bread in the house that I hadn't tried. Two were VERY close to each other. The other one was from our Stevia cookbook, and the third was an apple banana bread recipe. I opted to combine the two (and add a few things of our own) and the kids felt it was a total hit! Once I threw some leftover homemade vanilla ice cream on top they were 100% sold. (All though the following day they were just as happy to eat it without ice cream.) Here's what I ended up doing:

Banana Bread

3/4 c mashed banana (don't skimp)
1/3 c veggie oil
3 eggs
1/2 c water
2 T pure maple syrup
1/2 t stevia
1/2 t cinnamon
1 heaping t baking soda
2 1/4 t powder 
1 c white flour
1 c barley flour

1/2 c grain sweetened or mini chocolate chips
1/2 c currants

Mix the banana, oil, eggs, & water. Mix the dry ingredients together. Combine the wet and dry and mix until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and currants. Bake in a greased loaf pan for about 40-50 minutes, at 325 F (just under 180 C).

Notes: I didn't have enough white flour so I subbed with barley flour. The original recipe called for 2 cups of white flour. The original recipe(s) also called for 1 cup of nuts, but no one here much likes nuts. I mixed the stevia in with the dry ingredients. After about 20 minutes I covered my loaf with foil. It still browned, but not as quickly or as darkly. If baked goods get to "browned" around here the kids are certain they are burned. 

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