Ah, where to begin? As you may already know, I have never been too happy with the quality of the gluten-free baked goods out there. They are usually guilty of one or more of my five “good for gluten-free” offenses. They are too chewy, are too heavy, too are crumbly, too are oily or leave an aftertaste. Now to be fair, the mass majority of gluten-free bakers are not pastry chefs and are simply trying to get through their day with a gluten-free lifestyle. I understand, however, I am a hard-core foodie and “good for gluten-free” does not cut it with me.
So when I set out to make a paleo version of banana bread, I encountered the same obstacles. You thought gluten-free baked goods were heavy? They are nothing compared to how dense these Paleo recipes must be. I realize banana bread is a heavy cake but it is still a cake afterall. C’mon people! Really?! Now I do need to experiment more with cassava flour however, I was sidetracked by my discovery of something called banana flour.
What? How perfect for banana bread, right? And since creating structure in Paleo baked goods seems to always be an issue, what could be better than banana flour. Structure plus no additional liquid! I’m in heaven! (Yes, I realize, I need to get out more.)
Next, I wanted a ton of banana flavor but extra banana was too liquidy with the almond flour, until I toasted it. Have you ever toasted flour? It usually is just to enhance the flavor but, in this case, I needed to dry out the almond flour so it is serving two purposes. OK just one more before I lose you and completely food nerd out, since I can’t use sticks of butter to pump air into the cake, I used the eggs.
Yields One 8½ By 4½-Inch Cake, 8 Servings
50 minPrep Time
55 minCook Time
1 hr, 45 Total Time
Inspired by Sally’s Baking Addiction’s Best-Ever Banana Bread with Cream Cheese Icing
Inspired by Roasted Root’s Paleo Banana Bread
1 1/2 cups almond flour (Bob’s Red Mill now has a SUPERfine ground that I am loving)
1/2 cup banana flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup maple sugar
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) clarified butter or ghee (two names for the same thing), melted and slightly cooled*
1 3/4 cups mashed bananas (about 5 or 6 very ripe bananas)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
*There are a million instructions on the internet detailing how to clarify butter but my favorite was this article by Simple Life Mom How and Why You Should be Making Ghee.
- Put each of the flours in a frying pan set over medium heat, stir constantly with a whisk, 6 or 7 minutes for the banana flour, 10 to 15 for the almond flour. Set aside to cool. Note: Usually the flour will not brown, it is ready when you start to smell it. However, almond flour isn’t really flour so when you see it starting to brown, promptly remove from heat.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the toasted almond flour, toasted banana flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs on medium speed (5 on a Kitchenaid stand mixer) for two minutes. With the mixer still running, gradually add the sugar and beat another minute. Note: Keep the mixer running for this entire recipe. Have your ingredients all ready to go before starting, especially if you are using a hand mixer.
- Add the ghee and vanilla extract and beat until thoroughly combined.
- Add the mashed banana and beat until thoroughly combined.
- Turn the mixer down to low (2 on a Kitchenaid stand mixer) and add the flour mixture mixture. Beat until thoroughly combined. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl. Beat a few more seconds until thoroughly combined
- Fold in a 1/2 cup of chopped nuts. Tip: View a video on How to Fold an Ingredient into your Batter.
- Let the dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes. Tip: Alternative flours do not absorb fats as well as wheat flour. Resting the dough gives the flours more time to soak up the oils so the end result is not crumbly or greasy.
- While the dough is resting, position the oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 325F degrees. Line the bottom of a (8½ by 4½ by 2½-Inch) loaf pan with parchment paper and grease the sides with ghee or coconut oil.
- When the 30 minutes is up, pour the batter into the pan. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/4 cup of chopped nuts and press them down slightly.
- Bake for 30 minutes uncovered. Tent with foil (that means very loosely cover with foil) and bake for an additional 25 to 30 mins. Cool on rack for 20 minutes before running an offset spatuala or knife around the edges and unmolding onto a cooling rack.
- Wrapped bread can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 7 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Tips: 1. Banana bread is better after a day or two. The flavors need to meld. 2. I like to reheat my piece in the microwave for 10 seconds before eating it. Works great on cookies, too. 3. When freezing any baked goods, wrap them first in foil and then place them in a freezer storage bag.
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