Tuesday, November 15, 2011

an ode to banana harvesters and my kitchenaid mixer

i would like to dedicate this post to all the hard-working banana harvesters around the world. because while they have been working long hours in horrible work conditions and recieving little pay, i have been letting my once-gorgeous bunch of bananas sit on my counter, wilting away just so i can mash them into a shiny, yet sticky pulp of banana goo.

because although i like bananas in their raw, peel n' eat convenient form, mashing them, adding flour and some other nasty-on-their-own-but-somehow-magical-when-mixed-together ingredients and baking them into a loaf or a muffin always seems like the more delicious option.

but the guilt always arises as i proceed to dump in cups upon cups of sugar and flour into the mix. the hope i once had of convincing myself it was healthy because there was fresh bananas in there slowly fades with the 2nd stick of butter.

but friends, let me tell you. this recipe is good for you... but it tastes like it's not.

you know what i mean, don't you?

anyone who loves sweets but doesn't like the love handles that come along with them has tried making a "healthy" version of their favorites.

but aren't you always disappointed when the end product has a weird texture, doesn't taste the same, or (like most "healthy" versions) has no taste at all?
psst. the answer is yes.

well, this recipe is different. it's got greek yogurt and olive oil and whole wheat flour. and instead of pouring in 3 cups of sugar, the cinnamon and bananas add enough sweetness that you won't even miss the sugar!

just mash up those nanners, the yogurt and the baking soda until it's all combined. leave some chunks of banana that way the flavor is more prominent after it bakes.

next the dry stuff. twice as much whole wheat flour as regular flour is probably the ticket here, kids.
it keeps the bread moist without weighing it down too much. however, there are some perks to the all-purpose flour (which i won't go all nerd-town on you right now), but that's why there has to be a little bit of that still in the mix.

cream the sugars and the olive oil until it looks like caramel...

too bad it's not.

but don't get sad yet! here comes the good part!

first start with the dry. then the wet stuff, then the dry, then the wet, then the dry. 

got it?

words do not describe my love for my kitchenaid mixer. when i got it for christmas from my mom last year, i was literally squealing.

"jeez mol, it's a mixer, calm down," my brother slides in between my "oh-my-gosh-oh-my-gosh-oh-my-gosh-what-can-i-make-with-it-right-now-oh-my-gosh-get-it-out-of-the-box-let-me-look-at-it-it's-so-shiny...gaspforair...oh-my-gosh-oh-my-gosh-oh-my-gosh."

biggest geek-out fest over a stand mixer this side of wisconsin has ever seen, i'm sure.

if you have one, you understand it's wonder.
if you don't, you probably think i'm a freak.
but this is the mixer of all mixers.
it's like the ziplock of sandwich bags, the q-tips of cotton swabs, and the kleenex of tissues.
someday, we will be referring to all stand mixers as kitchenaid mixers. either that, or everyone will have one because they have all realized how great they are.

oh yeah, banana bread... heh, minor sidetrack... whoops.

anyways, once it's all mixed, pour the mixture into your pans. the amount of batter that i had made 5 mini loaves and 1 shorter regular sized loaf.

and i am telling you, these taste like the ones out of the box with all the calories and preservatives and crap. only better, because you know what's in there. not a pat of butter to be found and not a lot of sugar either. your taste buds and your missing love handles will thank me later.

also, in lieu of the upcoming holiday season, i decided to give some of those cute little loaves away (and altough they're not crazy fattening, i still don't need them sitting around here begging me to eat them everytime i walk into the kitchen). one to my crazy cat-lady neighbor across the hall, one to my boss, and the rest to some friends.

showing the love of God one mini loaf of healthy banana bread at a time. :)

The I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Not-Bad-For-Me Banana Bread
4 bananas, overly ripe and mashed
1 cup Greek yogurt, strained
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup AP flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or grease 6 mini loaf pans or one large loaf pan. Set aside. 

In a small bowl, mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, and baking soda, then set aside. In a larger bowl, beat oil and sugars, slowly adding the eggs, then vanilla. In another medium mixing bowl, add all the dry ingredients (flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon), and whisk to combine (or sift). Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the creamed sugars. Next, fold in ½ of the banana mixture, alternating with the flour mixture until everything is just moistened. Pour into prepared pan(s) and bake for about 35-45 minutes, watching carefully not to burn the top. Cool for 10 minutes before attempting to remove the delicious bread. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store leftovers on a covered plate or in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic or aluminum foil.

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