Black and Blue Banana Bread

Just the other day, it crossed my mind out of the blue that I never seem to post about kitchen disasters, which are of course inevitable. Given one of our Kindergarten mantras, “we always make mistakes; that’s how we learn“, this fact seemed out of sync with the open tone I like to think I’m going for here, and also unfairly holding back, even from myself. Like editing history, sort of. I made a mental note to myself that I would embrace vulnerability the next time I fell on my figurative face in the kitchen. The timing of  this thought turned out to be rather ironic, or at least was beginning to look so, as the next day I dove into a “bake in haste” kind of mode, and before long felt somewhat like an objective observer nodding coldly to unfolding tragedy. I seemed to be making one mistake after another…but  (sorry for being such a spoiler, but you should know this post need not be a waste of your time) it all worked out, thanks to the gentle nature of quick breads.

I have to confess, I’ve got my toe poking off the edge of my self-made safety zone with this bread. First of all, as you may know, I’ve been reducing my purchase and consumption of bananas, based on the unsustainable factors associated therewith. Secondly, I’m using berries out of season. In my defense, I’d like to say up front, they were two organic bananas that had begun to turn spotty, and the berries were on sale, frozen; and, this recipe has lots of options for easy tweaking, and is wholesome to boot. All week, I’d had this mouth-watering idea of banana bread,  I think because my teaching teammate Kelly made delicious sounding banana chocolate chip bread the weekend prior. I’d been craving blueberries, and had been seeing blackberries on sale week after week, too, and became fixated on the idea of making banana bread I could call “Black and Blue”. Maybe that was some kind of foreshadowing for the beating my batter was about to take. (Incidentally, I read this theory recently and can’t remember what it was called…but effectively says that the future can “leak” into your present and thereby influence your decisions leading to said future…kind of intriguing, in a surreal sort of way!)

First mistake, confession number two: I didn’t follow the recipe like it’s written below, and took more shortcuts than usual.  I whisked the dry ingredients in a large bowl, and then mixed the frozen berries in that mixture rather than mixing them in a little flour separately, so they wouldn’t bleed into the batter. Next, I made a well in the dry/berry mix, and poured all the wet ingredients in separately, mixing them in that well. The resulting color was reminiscent of a gloppy papier mache paste, and not at all appealing. Mistake number two, confession number three:  I had potatoes baking in the oven at 400 degrees F; my plan was to reduce the temperature when the breads (which I actually made as a mini loaf and muffins) went in, but I got distracted and forgot. One case of two wrongs making a right: the ingredients in this recipe could handle the higher heat, and the top became a nice golden brown, erasing that bruised look I’d anticipated. Most importantly, of course, this hearty low-sugar bread tastes great, by my and Dave’s Fish & Chips-followed-by-Cadbury standards, which generally require more seasoning and sweetening than my palate does.  Hope you enjoy it! : )

Black and Blue Banana Bread

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons flax meal
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted * (or olive oil)
1/3 cup plain yogurt (or applesauce)
1/2 cup honey or brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup skim milk (or almond)
1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries and blackberries (Confession number 4: a few raspberries “snuck in” mine, to no detriment, as well!)
1. In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients, flour through salt. In a separate bowl, mix the oil, yogurt, honey/sugar. Add in egg and vanilla. Mix in bananas.
2. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the egg mixture, blending to combine. Fold in berries.
3. Pour into prepared loaf or muffin tins, and bake at 400 degrees F until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean: approximately 15 minutes for muffins, 25-30 minutes for 5-3/4-in X 3 -in x 2 in loaf pans.
*Working with the coconut oil, bring your other liquid/wet ingredients to room temperature before mixing, to prevent oil from solidifying.
  1. Morag
    January 29, 2011

    cool – always looking for ways to use up fruit!! I always bulk buy fruit when my “must eat better” guilt kicks in during a shopping trip then have loads of fruit rapidly going off in the kitchen as I don’t eat it. Hence why in the last two weeks I’ve baked banana & raisin oat cookies, apple coffee cake and grape cake!! Looking forward to adding this into the rotation!! 🙂

    • Wendy McMillan
      January 31, 2011

      Great! Fill me in on how things go! So many combination and addend possibilities! : )

  2. Morag
    March 6, 2011

    Hey Wendy – just made this loaf with a few edits. Didn’t have any bananas so threw in 2 eggs rather than one, also did one cup white flour, and one cup whole wheat as I prefer the lighter batter. Used apple sauce cause didn’t have the yoghurt but put in quite a bit more milk as living in a desert I tend to find I need to add a lot more moisture to recipes!! Also put in layer of pomegranate seeds in the middle when I put the batter in the tin. Long story short, it is really tasty but I forgot the vanilla and it is missing a little bit of sweetness. Oh and I’ve now got a blackberry seed stuck in my teeth! 😉 Keep blogging, I love taking your recipes and experimenting on my own. Got any recipes for cakes with veggies in them?

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