I’ve been on this kick of baking lightened up versions to some of my favorite baked goodies. I’ve tried Light Chocolate Chip Cookies, Light Chocolate Chip Muffins, and Light Fudgy Brownies. There are a lot of ways to lighten up a recipe and if you are like me then you are wondering if those ways actually work. The age old question… Can lighter recipes really deliver a healthier outcome that still tastes just as good as the real deal full fat one? The answer is absolutely yes, if you have the right recipe. Trial and error, my friends (hopefully less error).
I’m adding to my growing list of “healthified” baked goodies with this low fat and low calorie banana bread. Not only does it taste amazingly delicious, I love it MORE than the real deal.
Light Banana Bread Recipe
(Makes 1 loaf)
- 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup white sugar (divided per the directions)
- 1/2 cup cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 very ripe bananas (equivalent to about 1 and 1/2 cups), mashed
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan and set it aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup of the white sugar, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set the dry ingredients aside.
- In a small bowl, mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, and vanilla extract together. Set the banana mixture aside.
- In a large bowl, cream the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and butter.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
- Mix in one third of the dry ingredients and then half of the banana mixture. Then mix in another one third of the dry ingredients and then the remaining half of the banana mixture. Last mix in the remaining one third of the dry ingredients. Do not overmix. The batter will look thick and chunky.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
- Sprinkle the chopped pecans on top of the batter.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 55 minutes or until a tester inserted comes out clean.
- Let the loaf cool in the pan for about 10 minutes and remove it from the pan onto a wire rack to cool completely.
The phrase “quick bread” is a bit deceiving. You can prepare the ingredients in very short order, but it does take its sweet time in the oven. We should consider the entire preparation time before we are too quick (hehe, pun intended) to call it a quick bread. 😉
Let’s get down to brass tacks. Like with my other light recipes, it’s virtually impossible to do a true side by side comparison of where you are saving fat, calories, sugar, etc. because there are tons of recipes out there. However, I can compare this recipe to my Classic Banana Bread recipe. This recipe contains over 60% less butter, 50% less nuts, and 25% less sugar. I think those numbers are impressive. Especially considering this has now replaced my favorite banana bread.
Thanks to the bananas and their amazing texture and seemingly endless supply of delicious moisture, you really can get away with using way less butter.
Greek yogurt? Yup, as I’ve said many times before, it’s a great ingredient to use to help maximize the moistness while minimizing the fat.
Half as much nuts? I don’t know about that, T. If you’re not adding anything fun like chocolate chips, won’t this be boring? Nope. The oven toasts the nuts on top of the bread so the flavors are intensified. Meaning you can use less of them and they still convey virtually all the same crunch and flavor as in the real deal bread.
Now to the real question that I’m sure everyone wants to the know anwswer to… Drum roll, please… Does this taste good? I know I’ve said this a couple times already, but I actually like this lighter banana bread better than the real deal. (My husband agrees.) It tastes identical to the high test version, except that this has a lighter texture, which is what I prefer. My youngest sister also tried and loved this banana bread. She had no idea it was a “light” recipe. Sweet!
This is now my new go-to banana bread recipe. 🙂
Have you lightened up a classic recipe? If yes, what was it and how did it turn out?
Slightly adapted from: The America’s Test Kitchen: Family Baking Book
Here are some other delicious banana recipes.