I love banana bread, it has to be one of my favourite tea time treats! This is another surprising dairy free, wheat free, egg free, and sugar free recipe! It is the perfect mixture of wholesome and sweet. Make sure to use very ripe blackening bananas as these will produce a much sweeter result than less ripe bananas. I prefer my banana bread to not be too sickeningly sweet and cakey so I use wholemeal spelt flour for this but if you would like it to be more refined, you can use white flour and maybe adjust the recipe to make it a bit sweeter. I used chopped dark chocolate instead of nuts this time, but I often use walnuts.
In terms of replacements, the spelt flour naturally replaces wheat. The ground seeds mixed with water form a gel with binding properties in order to replace eggs, and the oil replaces dairy. I have yet to try this using coconut oil but it is on my to do list! Not only would it be healthier, I think the banana and coconut combo would blow my mind! The biggest replacement is the adaptation from using sugar to using agave syrup.
Agave is a plant based sweetener produced from a type of cactus. It ideal for replacing sugar in some baking recipes, particularly in cakes. It is much lower GI than sugar, and so has a less negative impact on blood sugar levels. I enjoy using agave in treats and bakes, but it is not without it’s controversy and many feel that it is too processed and high in fructose. You could try replacing it with another liquid sweetener such as date syrup instead, but bear in mind that you may have to increase the quantity as agave tastes so sweet. As agave has different properties than sugar, there are naturally some amendments necessary when replacing sugar for agave syrup in baking recipes. Agave is sweeter than sugar, so a general replacement of 2/3 cup agave to 1 cup sugar is recommended. Agave adds extra liquid and moisture to baked goods, and so the amount of liquid in the original recipe will need to be reduced accordingly. As a general rule, reduce all other liquids by one third if replacing sugar with agave. Agave’s acidity (un-noticeable in taste) reduces the impact of the baking soda, so I added 1/4 tsp extra. Agave can cause baked goods to burn and brown quicker than recipes using sugar, so I have reduced the oven temperature and increased the baking time accordingly.
- 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
- 1 and 1/2 cup spelt flour
- 2 tbsp ground flax or chia seed mixed with quarter cup of water to form a gel
- 1/2 cup agave syrup
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 3.5 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinamon
- 1 tsp vanilla essence/extract
Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Mix the flour with the salt, baking soda, baking powder, nuts and cinnamon. Mash the bananas with the agave syrup, sunflower oil, flax or chia gel and the vanilla.
Stir the wet ingredients in to the dry ingredients. Pour in to a greased loaf tin and bake for about 45 minutes until a skewer comes out dry.