Double Banana Bread (Vegan and Gluten Free)

by moonwatcher on July 25, 2014

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When Mike and Kelly and I come together, we always wind up with an overabundance of bananas from both our households. Some travel all the way to Moscow from Portland, needing to be used up before they turn liquid. Others have accumulated at my home base, as I try to squirrel away more than usual for Mike’s morning smoothie habit. The result is usually a mountain of overripe bananas. The week they came to help me move was no exception to that rule. Mike walked through the kitchen on the way to something else, pondering the bananas along the way. “Someone needs to make a banana bread,” he said more to himself than anyone else.

But I heard it. And it catapulted me into banana bread land, and a funny memory long ago when some overripe bananas were sitting on the very same kitchen table. Mike was maybe 11 or 12. I kept asking him if he would eat some banana bread if I made it (wanting to use up the bananas, but fearing I would eat it all myself if he didn’t want any), and like a typical preteen, he kept not answering me with anything definite. Finally, he said, “MOM! What IS it with the banana bread?!” I looked at the bananas, and looked at him, and said,  with an absurd amount of misplaced passion,”The clock is TICKING on these bananas!!” Suddenly I saw both how ridiculous I sounded and could picture how ridiculous my hyper-focus on not wasting the bananas might have looked to him. We locked eyes and both started to laugh. And I made some banana bread.

This time we were dismantling the house. And that, I rationalized, was good reason to use up bits and pieces of things in the fridge and in the cupboards. Could I pull together from such bits and pieces a banana bread that would delight all the hungry movers I would have on my hands in a few hours? I had sorghum flour. I had tapioca starch. I had a little maple syrup. And all those bananas. Even though there were a million other things to do, I couldn’t resist the challenge, and the chance to bake one more thing in my old kitchen before it wasn’t mine anymore.

Most of the useful and effective techniques I learned for baking gluten free come from Karina’s fabulous blog Gluten-Free Goddess. And most of the ingenious strategies for making baked good fat free come from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. In fact, I referred to Susan’s blueberry-banana bread recipe as I mocked up this version. It’s “kicked up,” as Karina would say–goodness I love that phrase (as if the banana bread itself had heels to kick up in the air!)–with a little bit of lime zest, some powdered ginger–and never fearing too much of a good thing–some dried banana bits. That’s what makes it “double” banana bread. So don’t leave them out if you can find some that are not made with oil or extra sugar. In fact, if you have a food dehydrator, you can make them yourself in just a few hours by cutting up part of a banana into small pieces. Line your tray with baking parchment first though, because they get really sticky as they dry.

When Mike saw that I had banana bread in the oven, he was thrilled. When it was ready to slice, he said, “Mom, this is great–but you didn’t have to make banana bread.” I smiled, and said, “I know. But I wanted to.” And I thought to myself, the clock is ticking on the bananas. And on our time in this kitchen. So why not sweeten our last hours on Asbury Street with a new twist on an old favorite? It was good enogh that I made it again in the new kitchen, so I could share it here. Maybe next time I’ll use lime juice instead of lemon. A little more ginger. Or leave out the dates and use all dried banana bits. Maybe. But maybe not. Have you got any bananas that are going tick tock? As Shakespeare wrote, “ripeness is all.”

Maria (moonwatcher)

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Laurel Ann Bower July 26, 2014 at 7:38 am

Hi Maria!
While in the waiting room for a doctor’s appointment, I came across an article about roasting almost over-the-hill bananas for banana bread recipes. Roasting bananas caramelizes the sugars in them. Just roast bananas in their skins on parchment paper or foil at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, then let cool and add to the recipe. Pierce the bananas skins a couple times with a fork so you don’t have a major disaster inside your oven. Happy eating! Laurel

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2 moonwatcher July 26, 2014 at 8:06 am

Welcome, Laurel, and thank you for the comment! That’s a really neat tip. I will definitely have to try that some time, and make this a “triple” banana bread. :)

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3 Donna July 26, 2014 at 8:39 am

Maria,
I so much enjoy all your stories along with your recipes. Would you please e-mail me privately. I recently met a man who has MS for 20 yrs now. I wanted to share something he told me with you.
Donna

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4 Teresa July 26, 2014 at 8:58 am

Hi Maria!
Looks like another great recipe! One of my favorites is your crust from Pumpkin Pie in the Free World. I live in Boise, and visit our sons in Moscow a few times each year. I love Moscow!
Teresa.

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5 moonwatcher July 26, 2014 at 9:00 am

Welcome Teresa! So glad to hear you like the crust from Pumpkin Pie in the Free World–it’s one of my favorites too. Next time you’re going to be up in Moscow, e-mail me–maybe we can meet at the co-op or something. :)

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6 Teresa July 26, 2014 at 9:20 am

I’ll do that Maria! I always stop by the Coop!

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7 Veronica July 28, 2014 at 8:46 am

Yum! I do love me a good banana bread. :) I love your addition of the dried banana bits! I’ve got a bunch of overripe ones, but I have an alternate plan for them (writing it up for my blog!)… However, I’ll probably make some of this bread the next time! I often buy extra bananas just so I know some will go to the overripe state and I have an excuse to make tasty baked goods.

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8 moonwatcher July 28, 2014 at 8:52 am

Thanks, Veronica! You’re such a good chef, I’m pleased you like the addition of the dried banana bits. :) Can’t wait to see what banana magic you’ve dreamed up yourself. :) extra bananas are like money in the bank!

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9 Mrs. Doodlepunk August 2, 2014 at 3:50 pm

Oh my goodness! I have all the ingredients to make this. Right. Now. Including, and wait for it, it’s fantastic… my very own maple syrup from our very own trees made by my very own Mr. Doodlepunk this spring!

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10 moonwatcher August 2, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Wow, Mrs. Doodlepunk that is just so cool you have your own maple syrup harvested by Mr. Doodlepunk to use in this recipe. You are one lucky lady. :) Hope you enjoy the banana bread. And thanks so much for your comments! :)

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11 Jules August 4, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Hi Maria – This sounds delish! If I don’t need to make this recipe gluten free, could I just sub the sorghum and the tapioca flours with plain ol’ all purpose flour? Just wondered about that. If I did so, would the measurements still be the same? Also, would I need to keep both the baking soda & baking powder in the recipe at the measurements that you have listed? Thanks much! Jules

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12 moonwatcher August 4, 2014 at 3:23 pm

Welcome, Jules, and thanks for your question. Since this recipe is a gluten free version based off of Susan’s Blueberry Banana bread, yes, you can just use two cups of wheat flour instead of the sorghum and tapioca flours. You would need to adjust the proportion of baking soda and baking powder back down to 3/4 tsp of each. In gluten free baking more baking powder is needed. Here’s the link to the recipe I improvised on, so you can double check proportions of flour and baking soda and powder.

http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2009/06/blueberry-banana-bread.html

Happy Baking!

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13 Corrin Radd August 11, 2014 at 9:14 am

Made this today for breakfast. It’s really good, thanks!

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14 moonwatcher August 11, 2014 at 9:25 am

You’re welcome, Corrin! So glad you liked it. :)

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