caramelized banana-walnut bread


When I set out to put a new spin on banana bread, I had a clear image in mind: a stack of fluffy oatmeal pancakes filled with caramelized bananas, topped with a drizzle of warm maple syrup and toasted walnuts. Happily, these caramelized banana-walnut breads contain all of those components in loaf form. Whole-wheat flour and oats enrich the bread with nutty flavor that stands up to the sweetness of the caramelized bananas and maple syrup. Serve slices warm with a drizzle of maple syrup, or use as a base for banana bread French toast (I haven’t tested this idea yet, but it sounds heavenly!).

Caramelized Banana-Walnut Bread
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 Tbsp butter
1 banana, thinly sliced
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup flour
1 cup regular oats
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp cardamom
1 cup plain fat-free yogurt
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F and place a baking sheet in oven; spray 3 mini (5 3/4″ x 3 3/4″) loaf pans with nonstick spray. Bake nuts in a single layer in a shallow pan about 8 minutes or until golden, stirring halfway through; set aside. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté banana slices in a single layer, flipping once, until edges are golden, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from heat; place on a plate lined with paper towel to cool slightly.

Whisk together flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and cardamom in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the mixture. Combine yogurt, mashed banana, egg, brown sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl; add to flour mixture and stir just until combined. Gently fold in toasted walnuts and caramelized banana slices.

Divide batter evenly between loaf pans and place pans on preheated baking sheet. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, for 28-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove bread from pans, and cool completely. Wrap breads well and store at room temperature up to 2 days, or in the refrigerator up to 4 days. To freeze, wrap tightly in foil or freezer wrap and store 2 to 3 months.

Yield – 3 loaves, 6 servings per loaf (serving size: 1 slice)
Calories – 137
Carbs – 24

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