Banana Crunch Bread

Over the weekend, I got the urge to bake.  That hasn’t happened in awhile, so I went with it.  I pulled some ripe bananas out of the freezer (I have a stash – impressed?) and looked for a fun new banana bread recipe.  I found a recipe for “Banana Crunch Muffins” in the original Barefoot Contessa Cookbook – holy granola, how’d I miss those? – and quickly adapted it to a quickbread and a little healthier (in certain ways) than the original.  I subbed in a cup of whole wheat flour for one of the three cups of all purpose (you can’t even taste it, I promise, and if you want to be even healthier you could bump it up to a cup and a half), and I replaced the butter with applesauce, which is a standard baking move of mine.  Then I cut the sugar almost in half and celebrated my healthiness by adding 3/4 cup of chocolate chips.  BOOYAH!  Just when you think you have me figured out, I go and completely change the game on you.  Don’t even try to keep up!

Just make the bread, okay?

Banana Crunch Bread

1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup skim milk
1 cup applesauce
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1 cup granola
1 ripe banana, diced

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Spray two loaf pans (or one loaf pan and one mini muffin pan) with baking spray (such as PAM for Baking or Baker’s Joy).  Set aside.
  • Sift together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl.  Whisk to combine and set aside.
  • In another mixing bowl, combine mashed banana, eggs, vanilla, milk and applesauce.
  • Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all combined, being careful not to overmix.
  • Fold in chocolate chips, granola, and diced banana.
  • Divide mixture into loaf pans and bake for 60-65* minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  (If you are making one loaf and a batch of mini muffins, bake together for 25 minutes, then remove the mini muffins and continue baking the loaf for another 35-40 minutes.)

*Nota Baker: My oven runs cool, so it took me the full 65 minutes to get my one loaf of banana bread fully cooked, although the mini muffins were out after 25 minutes.  It’s key to know your oven!  Start at the low end of the time range I’ve given and test with a toothpick or cake tester every 5 minutes to see if your loaf is done yet.  Better to babysit the loaf for 10-15 minutes or so at the end of the cooking process than to burn it and waste all those wonderful chocolate chips!

Yield: Two loaves of banana bread or one loaf and one batch of mini muffins.

Source: Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, by Ina Garten (not an Amazon affiliate link)

Also, just for fun… here I am just after running 10 miles!  Do I look thirsty?

4 thoughts on “Banana Crunch Bread

  1. Wow, I love the idea of using granola in my banana bread… I’ve never thought of that! And I pretty much as a rule use whole wheat pastry flour in all of my baked goods now – I hardly keep all purpose around the house (unless I want to make bread, as I haven’t mastered the art of whole wheat bread making). No one can tell that my treats are whole grain. 🙂

    • The granola definitely added some fun texture! I think it would be crunchier in muffins, but it was cool in the banana bread too. And that’s a great tip about using whole wheat pastry flour – I’ve definitely heard that and plan to try it, once I’ve used up all of my regular whole wheat flour! Waste not, want not. =)

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