The Best Ever Gluten-Free Banana Bread!

Elle's Awesome GF Banana Bread

Elle’s Awesome GF Banana Bread

Okay, to some people, it might not be the “best ever” per say…but it’s my favorite recipe. People seem to really like it. If you actually read my blog, which is unlikely, but if you do, then you know that I just said that after baking I never feel like blogging. That’s true usually, but this is while it’s still quiet in the house. The kids aren’t awake yet, the neighbors haven’t pulled out their power tools, and I’m enjoying the silence and a cup of coffee. This is before the four yapping dogs, drills, saws, and my bickering children have had a chance to crush my spirit for the day. Besides, the website where I originally found this recipe is down. I had to have my husband search the dark spaces of the internet for a cached copy, so that I could write it down (and tweak it a little).

For people who already know how to bake and don’t appreciate my witty monologue, trust me, I understand. In a couple of hours, I’m going to have two kids in the house who don’t care how it magically appeared. They will just want to consume my offerings and go numb their minds with some form of technology. Such is the life of tweens. (Editor’s note: I am not a bad parent, or at least the worst. Most of my kids’ games have been educational and non-violent. They also love reading. I’m not suggesting they are going to play DOOM or Grand Theft Auto while facebooking and tweeting.)

So, I’ll cut to the chase. Post the recipe here, and then go through it for clarification for some people who might not understand certain terms or know what substitutions can be made. People, say, perhaps a software engineer who might tell his wife that he can bake, but ever since the Great Cookie Debacle of ’07, she might tend to believe otherwise. (I’m lookin’ at you, Osmani.) He is a web wizard, though. If your ‘ key suddenly stops working, as mine did earlier, he will fix ‘er right up. If you need a caked iced, though, he’s more likely to lick the spoon when you’re finished than help. I know a lot of people who will see how long it takes to make this recipe or the ingredients, and they will feel intimidated and not try or just “wing” it. For those people, I’ll give a few tips at the bottom, but for people who know how to bake, I’ll shut up and get on with it.

Elle’s Awesome GF Banana Bread

(My recipe, so I get to name it.)

Ingredients:

(Dry Ingredients)

1 1/4 c. Gluten Free Flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. xantham gum

1 c. sugar

1/3 c. brown sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon (optional)

(Wet Ingredients)

2 eggs

2 1/2 ripe bananas, mashed

1/2 c. coconut oil, melted and cooled

1 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F/175 C

Prepare bread pan

Melt and cool coconut oil

Mash bananas with a fork. Mix wet ingredients along with the sugars together with hand mixer until combined.

Measure the remaining dry ingredients in separate bowl. Whisk until cinnamon, salt, xantham gum, and baking powder are incorporated into the flour.

Slowly add the dry mixture into the wet mixture and mix with hand mixer until combined.

Pour into pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy! Should make 1 loaf. ❤

Now, for the some people that might look at some of this like:

jackie-chan-confused

I mean, why is sugar a dry ingredient, but is almost always mixed with the wet ones? I don’t know. I’ll tell you what my Grams always tells me…because I said so, that’s why.

Some people don’t think pre-heating the oven is important. It takes a few minutes for the oven to heat up. You want your food to cook thoroughly and for it to come out at the correct time. Some people would say: I know that, I’m not an idiot. You would be surprised. I find myself forgetting to turn the oven on first sometimes. Usually before my first pot of coffee…

The difference between greased and prepared is pretty simple. A greased pan is coated with an oil. I prefer to use butter when I am baking (making sure to get into the corners really well.) I just think it works nicely and tastes better than trying to use say…olive oil. A prepared pan is greased, then you tap flour around the inside (cocoa powder if you are making something chocolate, like brownies or a cake) until it’s lightly dusted. Even though the oil I use in this recipe is coconut oil, I still prepared/greased the pan with butter (note: allow the butter to “soften” a little before you use it), and although this recipe only makes one loaf, I greased an extra pan to show the difference.

Greased vs. Prepared

Greased vs. Prepared

Now, when it comes to the coconut oil. I usually measure it out into a glass measuring cup, then I can just microwave it at 30 second intervals, adding a little oil if needed, as I go. This is the WARNING: that I write on my recipe cards, so that even I won’t forget it. Make sure the oil is cooled before you add it! Otherwise, it will scramble your eggs. Literally. You don’t want your eggs to start cooking until they are in the oven.

Not So Pro Tip: In the picture the eggs are in my other glass measuring cup (if you look closely you can see I have one for the US and one for the UK). I was taught to crack my eggs in a separate container, so that if you crack an egg with say a “gross little surprise” inside, it won’t go messing up all the ingredients you already have in the bowl. Also, it makes it easier to pick out shells.

Eggs & Oil

I’m sure you could try to an egg substitute if you wanted to make this a vegan gluten-free recipe. We like eggs, milk, and meat in this house, but the head of the household can’t handle his gluten. (I’m lookin’ at you, Osmani.) You could also use melted and cooled butter, sunflower, or canola oil instead of coconut oil. (It goes without saying that the sunflower and canola oils are already melted and cooled, but I’m saying it.) I like coconut oil in this recipe, because I think coconut oil is better for you, and the slight trace of coconut flavor compliments the banana more than it would say, fried chicken.

I find myself having to substitute quite often, but google it first, don’t go guessing all willy-nilly. I left the gluten free flour up to the imagination a little bit. There are a few types of GF flour. I use a blend. I would not compromise or omit the xantham gum if I were you, though. A lot of gluten-free baked goods are dry or crumbly. This is the ingredient that gives it that faux-gluten texture in my opinion.

When it comes to the bananas, make sure they are ripe. Try not to bake with green bananas. Brown ones are great. I like to buy the discounted brown bananas at the grocery store, peel them, and throw them in a bag in the freezer to use for pancakes, muffins, bread, and smoothies.

Here’s another little tip that I learned when I first started baking. Another, oh, yeah, that’s totally obvious tip. Don’t measure your ingredients into the cups/spoons over top of your mixture. Measure out over another bowl or plate, so that if you go overboard, you don’t have to adjust all your ingredients accordingly. For sugar this isn’t as bad as say accidentally spilling a tablespoon of salt into the recipe.

I could just tell you this, but I am adding a photo to show off my heart shaped measuring cups, because they are pretty.

<3 Measuring

And here comes the heart-shaped whisk (but if you aren’t fab enough for the heart shaped whisk, you can use a fork). Make sure the flour, baking powder, salt, and xantham gum are blended before you add them to the wet mixture, so they are evenly distributed. You don’t want a clump of salt in your food.

<3 Whisk

Don’t over mix the bananas with the hand mixer. The original recipe said you could combine everything in the blender or food processor, but I like to make things harder on myself. Which is why I mixed everything by hand, because I like to be difficult and forgot to remind myself before my first cup of coffee about the arthritis in my hands and wrists. Ususally, though, I use a hand mixer for this recipe.

Not So Pro Tip: When you put the bread into the oven, put it on a middle rack, so that you don’t over bake the top of the bottom. I have a tiny British oven, so I put it on the middle rack for 45 minutes, then check the bread, usually moving it down to a lower rack for the last 10-15 mins, so that the top/edges don’t burn.

Since the pan was prepared beforehand, it should pop right out of the pan after you pull it from the oven. I put my bread on a wire cooling rack, but it barely had a chance to say hello to the air and let me take a picture before it was gobbled up. This is a family and friend favorite recipe. If you found out before now that I don’t actually eat the banana bread, you might have stopped earlier and said “screw this.” It’s a great recipe. People love it (I have one friend who seems to ask me every Sunday at church when I’m going to bring her some more), but I prefer cookies.  *insert winky face*

I hope that I helped people who might need to eat Gluten-Free but think they can’t bake much more than a frozen pizza. It’s not as hard as it looks/sounds. Promise.

So, Good Night Day and Good Luck.

Love and Loaves,

L

xoxo

Advertisements

You Are What You Eat?!

I guess I’m a little more crab and chicken than I am cow or pig.

Maybe a little fishy.

Occasionally a shrimp.

I like the natural things in life. It’s hard to go wrong in the produce department or at the butcher’s counter. You’re seeing your ingredients for the most part. I mean, if it walks like a duck…or rather, did at one point…

Anyway, you get the picture.

My point is that I’m wary of things that have colors not found in nature. Yes, most dyes are synthetic now, which should scare me even more I suppose (did you hear the rumor that red dye gives you cancer? So, does smoking, but that hasn’t stopped me in ten years. Although, it prolly should). MY POINT IS, some natural dyes make me more wary than the synthetic ones. Some people just don’t realize what is in their food (and I won’t get started on the dyes or ingredients used in makeup, which is equally as concerning, not to mention time consuming), but when it doesn’t contain that synthetic carcinogen, what does it contain?

What can naturally make food red?

Well, let me first say that I’m not bothered by what can naturally make my food red at some stances, paprika or beets, and that’s fine, I use paprika a crap load, and I could learn to love beats. Turmeric and Saffron are other natural food dyes, and I don’t even cringe at my cheesy poofs possibly having algae in them.

No, what makes me shudder like no other is what they use for a natural red dye. It’s called “Cochineal”. It’s a fancy name for bug juice. It’s crushed up beetles. Usually females.

Female Dye Bugs

Female Insects In Your Food!

I know, why do women always get the axe? C’est la vie.

But mostly, I hate how the FDA regulates these things, and requires the manufacturer, because, lets face it, they’re not all farmers, butchers, and bakers…to put these long, crazy sciencey sounding words on the label under ingredients. And do you know what? Not just Americans, but I find it hard to believe that the average person, globally can understand most of these terms.

My point is that it might not stop me from eating that entire bag of synthetic Skittles (oh, but I will look twice at my jello and pasteries), but if you don’t know what you’re eating, and you’re curious. You can always use google. If you can read this insignificant blog, then obviously you have access to google. Type it in. Cochineal is actually the “plain English” for this buggy dye. . Not even the “I’m A Nerd And Speak Latin” term for it. You’d probably be looking for carminic acid.

Now, it’s not just food dyes. Don’t get me started on preservatives, or we’ll be here all day. You can just read this amazing article by Dr. Joseph Mercola. It will open your eyes to the horrors of fast food. At least McDonald’s nuggets. Which was enough for me not to want to eat there, but let me put it this way. If you can sit your food out on a shelf for more than a decade, and it doesn’t age, you have to wonder what kind of effing preservatives are in there?! (And where can I get some for my face?! just jokes.) Will it sit in your stomach and never age or go anywhere? If so, no wonder why Americans are so fat. I feel like anything that might contain Plaster of Paris, should definitely be more controlled by the FDA, sorry.

Anyway, I promise to have a happier, more uplifting blog later. It’s just that it’s rained here for nearly a week, my place of employment is currently swimming with the fishes, and I woke up in the middle of the night for my own special rant. I might even promise a more uplifting blog post in just a moment.

But what is the question of the blog/day? Okay, what is the grossest thing you’ve knowingly eaten?

Some people might say it’s when I ate the foot of a teletubby, but I’m going with the time I ate a hotdog that fell in the dirt…I used to eat anything on a dare. USED to.

I don’t want you getting any crazy ideas…I’ve left you with enough of those for tonight.

Peace, Love, and Bugs,
xoxo
L.