One of the toughest aspects of going gluten-free is finding recipes for quality baked goods. Nowhere is gluten more critical than when attempting to make a fluffy cake or tender but giant muffins. The first batch of GF muffins I made were so hard that they clogged the garburator when I realized they were inedible. To add to the challenge, I can't eat eggs, which are an important part of my baking past. I have spent countless hours searching the web for good recipes, and bought way too many GF cookbooks. It has paid off, though, and I have a small cache of tasty and reliable recipes for sweets, when the mood strikes. I have also started converting some of my old family favourites and those recipes will make their way to this blog at some point.
This banana bread recipe is a winner. It is low in oil, has no eggs, and with the addition of chocolate chips, makes grown men cry. Well, not quite, but definitely beg for seconds. Speaking of grown men, Jon turned this bread into a spectacular dessert with a few simple steps. Lay a thick piece of banana bread in a non-stick pan and heat over medium-high heat until the chocolate chips start to melt, flipping so both sides are slightly crusty and lightly browned. Slide onto a plate and top with dairy-free Coconut Bliss "Naked Coconut" ice cream and devour. Absolute heaven.
A final word on gluten-free baking. I discovered a series of cookbooks by Donna Washburn & Heather Butt that are loaded with very good recipes. The secret they share is that the old methods of telling when a cake or loaf are done baking don't work with gluten-free recipes. You have to buy a small cooking thermometer, and when the centre of your loaf or muffin registers 200 degrees, it is done. If not, you run the risk of a gluey, sticky heavy loaf once it has cooled. This method works.
zed handmade banana bread
The chocolate chips are an optional addition to this great recipe, but I personally never make it without them!
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8”x4”loaf pan and dust with rice flour.
combine in a large bowl:
3 medium/large bananas, mashed
1/3 cup Safflo or light olive oil
1 cup organic light brown sugar (can use golden or dark brown sugar as well)
2 tsp GF vanilla extract
whisk together in a separate bowl:
1 ½ cups gluten-free flour mix (see below)
1 tsp baking soda
2 ½ tsp GF baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp arrowroot starch
½ tsp xanthan gum
Add the dry ingredients into the banana mixture and stir until smooth. If the batter looks too thin and wet, add more gluten-free flour, a tablespoon at a time, to thicken the batter.
½ cup chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life brand for non-dairy option)
½ cup chopped pecans
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the center of a preheated oven for 60 minutes, until the loaf is firm, a bit crusty, and a food thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf reads 200°
gluten-free flour mix
For 3 cups of GF Flour mix:
2 cups Brown rice flour*
2/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca flour (starch)
Mix well and keep extra in freezer. Always bring to room temperature before using in baking. Also, this flour settles so stir it up and lightly spoon into measuring cups for the best results.
Diane Zwickel lives and knits in South Surrey, B.C. Canada