Banana bread is a staple in my house. I buy bananas pretty much so they can turn brown and gross and then be perfect for banana bread. My original recipe came to me from my mom who got it from her mom. The handwriting on the recipe card is that beautiful, delicate, squiggly, old-lady handwriting and it calls for 7/8 cup of sugar. Isn’t that funny? What a weird measurement. Anyway, the recipe is impossible to ruin (unless you are my sister and you forget the flour), but once I went gluten free that super easy banana bread became a problem.
P.S. Gluten free baking experimentation is not for quitters.
The hardest part of not eating gluten is the baking. Dinner really isn’t that hard. Breakfast is cake. Lunch, snacks – whatever. It’s easy. The real problem is baking. I love baking. I do it when I’m bored or when I want a dinner to be special. I do it when we need to bring something to a potluck. I do it when it’s Tuesday. But the whole “no regular flour” thing stopped me cold and I wasn’t happy about it. So I started experimenting, by which I mean I started replacing regular flour with other stuff and throwing the results out. Until, one special, special day, I hit on a magic combination of flours and measurements that brought my beloved banana bread back into my life. Now I can once again buy bananas with abandon and leave them to rot without reservation. Oh the joy this brings me…
Bestest Banana Bread
2 large (or 3 medium) peeled bananas, very ripe*
1 cup sugar
1 cup white rice flour
3/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons milk
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup chocolate chips, optional
(*Regarding those really ripe bananas – when mine get brown and nasty I toss them in the freezer. I do this for 2 reasons. 1) In the freezer they will keep until I am ready to bake rather than turning to liquid on the counter and 2) Defrosting the bananas before use releases a ton of banana-y liquid which helps makes the resulting bread more delicious.)
Place peeled bananas (and any accumulated “juice” from defrosting) in a large bowl. Add sugar. Using a fork, mash up the bananas well and stir to mix.
Add all remaining ingredients to the bowl. Stir to combine. Let batter sit for 30 minutes. (I know it seems annoying to wait, but this step is very important. It will help the flours absorb the necessary moisture so your bread will be moist and delicious rather than gritty and crumbly.)
After the batter has rested, pour into a buttered and floured (use rice flour to keep it gluten free) loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. Add 5-7 minutes of baking time if you add the chocolate chips.
Allow bread to cool, serve toasted or not. Plain or with butter. Nutella is also delicious on banana bread, obviously, but let’s be clear, it really steers it more in the direction of dessert. Not that that’s a bad thing.