Moist Whole Wheat Banana Bread

As if the world needs another banana bread recipe, right?

Well, if you’re conflicted like I am about balancing pure culinary delight with a modicum of health and nutrition, then you’ll find this moist whole wheat banana bread recipe a worthy contribution. It satisfies on all levels.

This is straight out of Whole Grain Baking by King Arthur Flour. I tweak it very slightly in the video but I’m not sure it’s to any advantage. The video, by the way, is quite unnecessary as the instructions below are more than adequate. But I do have fun shooting them and like to think there’s a chance someone will pick up a thing or two from watching.

Note: If you want to get wild and crazy, try adding a half cup of dried sweetened cranberries or, as my chocoholic wife quickly discovered, a half cup of semi sweet chocolate chips will send banana bread lovers over the top and maybe convert a few critics.

Enjoy!

Moist Whole Wheat Banana Bread Recipe and Instructions:

Be sure to use ultra ripe bananas for this. Their skins should be mottled black and they should feel soft to the touch. Using what you would normally consider to be ripe bananas will diminish the bread’s rich flavor.

½ cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) unsalted butter
½ cup (3 ¾ ounces) packed light or dark brown sugar
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups (~ 12 ounces) mashed ripe banana (3-4 medium to large bananas)
¼ cup (3 ounces) honey (I used sugar – works fine)
2 large eggs
2 cups (8 ounces) whole wheat flour, traditional or white whole wheat (I found that 2 cups was closer to 10 ounces – guess my whole wheat is heavy)
½ cups (2 ounces) chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.

Beat together the butter, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth. Add the banana, honey and eggs, beating until smooth. Add the flour and nuts, stirring until smooth. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and let it rest at room temperature, uncovered for 10 minutes.

Bake the bread for 50 minutes. Lay a piece of foil gently across the top and bake until a cake tester (like a toothpick) inserted into the center comes out clean, 10 to 15 minutes more. Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes before turning it out of the pan onto a rack to cool completely.

Handy Tip: If you don’t happen to have ultra ripe bananas around and don’t want to wait for yours to get that way, click here for an easy work around. Thanks to Melody for this.

High Altitude Baking Notes: Barbara posted some successful high altitude adjustments she made to this recipe. She lives at 6000 feet. Thanks Barbara!

{ 221 comments… read them below or add one }

Danielle June 27, 2012 at 4:39 pm

I was so eager to make this once I saw the recipe online. I LOVE to bake but sometimes I am yielded because my husband and I try to limit unhealthy ingredients. Usually, I would just bake something so pleasantly delicious, and we’d just throw it away because if it was right in front of us, we’d eat it all. Anyway, this recipe is so easy to make and is even easier to eat! SO delicious! I didn’t have any walnuts, nor do I really care for them so I used chocolate chips in their place.

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Kerri June 1, 2012 at 11:17 pm

I have loaves and muffins in the oven at the moment and as our family love bananas so, they had eaten the last lot and there were no over-ripe ones for my banana loaf. I had to buy some more. SO, I peeled them, mashed them slightly and threw the bowl in the freezer for an hour, then put the bowl into the microwave for 2 minutes. They were definitely mushier than they would have been. I can live with slight loss of flavour as long as the loaf is still nice and moist.

PS: I feel I can trust the comments on this site saying recipe is great as there seems to be a high proportion of ‘normal’ eaters trying to eat well (often people who have a peculiar or particular diet can be a bit too gracious with compliments when they just mean “edible”.) The other difficulty is where people change the recipe and then report low star ratings for a recipe they refused to follow. gees!

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karla May 29, 2012 at 2:06 pm

run, don’t walk to your car and go buy a couple of loaf pans. This banana bread is so awesom, you will want to make it all the time.

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Maggie May 29, 2012 at 1:43 pm

I am really interested in trying this! I don’t have a 9X4 loaf pan, but I do have muffin tins, does anyone know if I would need to adjust the recipe in order to make muffins? Thank you so much in advance!

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Breadtopia May 30, 2012 at 4:59 am

Hi Maggie,

The only thing you would need to adjust is the baking time. The muffins will bake up a bit faster so start the toothpick test earlier until the toothpick comes out clean. Then you’ll know the timing for future reference.

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Nicole March 31, 2012 at 5:46 pm

I made this banana bread a few weeks ago and I’m making it again right now. It is hands down the best banana bread I’ve ever had. I didn’t add the walnuts, and I used the honey and it’s perfect. I’m making a double batch right now to take to a party tomorrow. I’m sure everyone will love it as much as I do. Thank you for sharing this awesome recipe.

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karla February 27, 2012 at 8:41 pm

This banana bread barely borders on “kinda healthy.” Use walnuts and lose the chocolate chips. It’s awesome as it is.

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Molly February 26, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Holy cow I just made this..best banana bread ever! Added choc chips..MMMM..

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Sonya February 25, 2012 at 10:24 pm

I doubled the full recipe – & loved being able to mix it in 1 bowl, with no need to dirty a mixer or processor! . I just mashed the bananas w potatoe masher, then added the brown sugar, salt, baking soda, vanilla , spices & butter to the mixing bowl at once – (i left out the honey) —stirred with wooden spoon till blended–then in with the eggs & stir till blended; then stir in the wheat flour –last added 1.5 cups choco chips (no nuts) . Sprayed a springform ring pan with cooking spray, spooned in the batter evenly & baked it in preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour 10 minutes (my oven cooks slower ; – recommend u test for doneness w a skewer at 50 minutes). It turned out perfectly! Definitely going to keep this recipe as a favorite!

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Sonya February 25, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Forgot the photo – here u go :)

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Sharon February 13, 2012 at 2:37 pm

I made this last night and we love it. Since I’m trying to cut back on the amount of sugar we eat, I left the sugar out completely. The bananas and honey provided plenty of sweetness. This will certainly become my go to banana bread – thank you for the recipe.

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Jessica November 26, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Wow! My toddlers gobbled this up in seconds! This is amazing even though I doubted the whole wheat flour, you cannot taste it! Really ripe bananas is key, thank you for that tip! I added chocolate chips and used buckwheat honey which I like to use for baking (dark and strong honey flavor). I usually love to buy starbucks low fat banana chocolate chip bread but this is 100 times better and healthier too!

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Shweta November 6, 2011 at 3:42 pm

I just made this bread today. It is absolutely delicious and so moist. I have tried so many different banana bread recipes before this one and none came to close to how this turned out! I will be making this again very soon.

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Nicole October 8, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Thanks for sharing this recipe with us. My boyfriend and I recently started the South Beach Diet and we are limited in what type of breads and dessert like items we can have. However, this fits in with the type of foods we’re allowed in Phase 2, so I will be trying this recipe out tonight. I can’t wait to try it. Thanks!

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Carolyn August 27, 2011 at 5:32 pm

This bread is absolutely DELICIOUS!! I used light margarine in place of butter and added a few chocolate chips for flavor. I also put them into a cupcake tin to make little chocolate chip banana muffins. The honey really adds a good flavor to it.

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Nadine February 24, 2012 at 10:57 am

Margarine is the worst thing to eat. It is made up of plastics and terrible for your heart..
Use the butter, it’s much more healthy.

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Shane July 30, 2011 at 8:42 am

This was a great recipe! Thanks for posting!
Do you think this could make a blueberry bread by subbing the bananas for an equal amount of blueberries?

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Breadtopia July 30, 2011 at 9:32 am

Hi Shane.

Yes! But you’re only allowed to do that if you tell us how it went and post a photo ;).

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Diana March 5, 2012 at 8:53 am

I like your blueberry idea! I will try that next. BTW, I have heard that adding frozen blueberries, rolled in flour, works best. It makes the colour smear into the batter less.

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karla March 5, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Interesting, I would think frozen berries would keep the dough from cooking evenly. Report back.

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Mgau July 14, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Made this last night with additional raisins and chocolate chips. Even my finicky son loves this whole wheat bread-awsom! So moist and gooey .

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Breadtopia June 30, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Hi Maxina,

Haven’t tried it but I’m sure spelt would work and probably be very good.

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Maxina June 30, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Wow! This is a great recipe. I’ve been looking for a decent banana bread recipe. So many versions are just too “cakey” and plain YUK. You wouldn’t know this was whole wheat – or maybe my taste buds have just got so accustomed to whole grain taste.

Question though. I love spelt. Has anyone tried this recipe with spelt flour. Should work. No?

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Victoria January 31, 2013 at 4:43 pm

Spelt works beautifully. I’ve also used a combo of spelt, whole wheat,and kamut flours that was yummy. I also put in EVCO (extra virgin cocnut oil ) instead of butter. Half the sugar, double the spice of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Lots of chopped walnuts and some organic dried cranberries.
It’s a joy to experiment with basic already fabulous recipe. Thanks again for this incredible site and everybody’s info! :)

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Johnnie June 3, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Baked this yesterday. It’s pretty good! I made it vegan just by using a ground flax seed mixture and water. My non-vegan boyfriend really enjoyed it too. Thanks for the recipe!

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Grnmtngrl May 20, 2011 at 10:55 am

This is by far the best banana bread recipe I have ever used! I was too impatient (and hungry) to wait for my bananas to be overripe, so I just went ahead and made it with the ones I had. I only had three bananas or 1.25 cups, so I added 0.25 cups of warm water to make up for it. Also, I only had organic cane sugar, so I used that instead of honey and added a tablspoon of molasses. No nutmeg either, unfortunately. Despite all of these modifications, the bread turned out wonderfully- incredibly moist, with a unique flavor. Thanks for sharing, Eric!

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Holli December 14, 2012 at 7:30 pm

That’s a freakin’ cute chopping block :)

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katie May 2, 2011 at 12:03 am

Just made it and its awesome. Added chocolate chips though for that little extra touch and its phenomenal

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Karla May 1, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Someone, I believe Nickie added powdered ginger. It is wonderful. I made it again this weekend and added my usual whole fresh apple. This is the best ever. The ginger intensifies the flavors. Try it.

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saltcitybabe April 27, 2011 at 10:49 pm

I don’t know about the dates, but the ginger sounds intriguing. Will add that next time.

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Nicki April 27, 2011 at 9:03 am

This was my FIRST time baking homemade…well, anything from scratch and it was WONDERFUL!!! Followed the directions to a T, except I added 1/2 cup of chopped dates, and 1 tblspoon of ground ginger! It was sooooooo goooood! Was SO moist and flavorful!

Has also sparked an interest in doing more baking!

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Dale April 16, 2011 at 7:41 pm

I’m on a neverending quest for the best banana and pumpkin bread recipes. Based on the comments here, this will definitely be the next sweet bread I try. And by the way, I’ve been baking for over 40 years, so I don’t need to watch any videos, but there was something so satisfying about watching “Mr. Breadtopia” put this little number together. Thanks!

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Rhiannon April 3, 2011 at 9:14 am

Made this bread this morning and it came out perfectly. Substituted chocolate chips for nuts and had only one egg so I added about 1/4 cup olive oil. Made with King Arthur white whole wheat flour and old bananas out of the freezer.

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aj March 31, 2011 at 2:14 pm

I made this recipe with my 5 year old daughter after watching the video. She decided she wanted to add dried cranberries and butterscotch chips to the recipe for something “wild and crazy” as recommended by the author. Otherwise we followed the recipe to a T. We had to use 3 frozen bananas (thawed) plus one ripe for eating since I didn’t have any more frozen. The finished dough mixture was thicker than other banana bread recipes I’ve used in the past. It acted more like a true bread dough. It was delicious and just slightly sweet as mentioned by another post. Yum!

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Frances Ouellette March 1, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Thanks so much for this yummy Banana Bread came out moist. Added suagar instead of Honey. Husband like it to.

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Cgomps February 26, 2011 at 9:21 am

Delicious! moist- made with splenda and brown sugar splenda blend. Smart blanace light vfversus butter. VERY Yummy

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JoAnne February 23, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Love, love this recipe!! moist and full of flavor!

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Nan February 18, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Thank you Melody and everyone else for all the tips. I only have one ripe banana, so I will freeze it until a few more bananas turn ripe. I actually hate raw bananas, so it won’t be hard for me to let the whole bunch turn ripe!

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Teresa February 16, 2011 at 2:34 pm

I made a loaf of the banana bread today and it turned out wonderful. It’s moist and full of flavor. This recipe is definitely going in my recipe box :)

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lola January 11, 2011 at 4:44 pm

great! I followed the recipe religiously, and it turned out so good! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

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Melody January 6, 2011 at 2:45 pm

I think it should work fine. In any case, if it’s way too dense, do what I always do with a loaf that comes out “special” – toast slices, then slather it with butter. You can never go wrong with that :)

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karla January 3, 2011 at 3:43 pm

I bought some spelt flour. Who thinks it will work as well as whole wheat?

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Victoria September 26, 2012 at 1:01 pm

It works beautifully! I used spelt flour on its own and the result was a lovely light loaf.

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Andrew January 3, 2011 at 12:48 am

When I make this, I just squeeze the bananas through my fingers. This way there are some sloppy bits, some lumpy bits and I get to lick my fingers clean!

The lumpy bits add a certain something extra in the way of texture to the bread when it is cooked.

My bananas never last long enough to get ‘black’ so I use fairly ripe ones when I buy too many (not often, as I love bananas) – still cooks well and has a nice texture.

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Jewely January 1, 2011 at 8:44 pm

I feel like you should cover the bread with the foil at 40 min, the outer crust was too hard, but it didn’t stick to the pan like all the others. I think it’s great! I should have tried the apple.

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Melody January 1, 2011 at 7:08 pm

By the way, just in case anybody has readily ripe bananas, but no time, my friend Krissy taught me that the bananas get more ripe and gooey if you freeze them. So whenever we buy bananas and they get too ripe but I don’t have the time or inclination to make banana bread, I just pop them into the freezer. When you’re ready to bake, you take however many out, thaw them on the countertop, and then you just snip one end and squeeze the banana out. They come out already very mush so there is less mashing needed, and the bread always comes out wonderful. I’m eager to try out this recipe though, I like making mini-loafs instead of one large one (I don’t feel as bad if I eat the whole thing then!). Alas, no time…so until then, the bananas get to go into the freezer!

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Stu March 18, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Peel the banana before freezing makes life so much easier.

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Holli December 14, 2012 at 7:24 pm

I’ll one-up you Melody – you can just microwave the [peeled] bananas instead of waiting for them to freeze. 30 seconds on high.

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Nina March 26, 2013 at 7:44 am

Another way to get them good and brown (if you don’t have or like to use the microwave) Pop them in the oven, peel on, at 375 for 10-15 mins until they turn brown. Gives them a nice roasted flavor too.

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Ben November 21, 2013 at 3:38 pm

I`ve been using bananas out of the freezer for a long time now, wouldn`t do it any other way.
I tried something different a few months back, instead of a loaf of Banana Bread I put them in a muffin pan, no papers
needed, just spray the pan with Pam, or what ever you use, I
also put a mixture of sugar & cinnamon in the bottom after spraying, just a small a mount out of a shaker, then fill them about 2/3 full, another quick shake of sugar & cinnamon on the top of your Banana Muffins, makes them a little crunchy on top. DELICIOUS I MUST SAY! ENJOY!

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karla December 27, 2010 at 8:28 pm

vita mix??????? You can afford your own chef. I was supremely happy with the little black and decker. It’s fun to experiment. I think I love this site. My hips are loving it.

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Rus December 27, 2010 at 7:51 pm

I followed saltcitybabe’s example and tossed a couple apples into the Vita Mix (skin and all) to add fiber and covered a loaf with sunflower seeds. The bread tasted great and the sunflower seeds gave a nice nutty taste after they were toasted on top of the bread.

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Ty Hiller December 26, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Are the spices optional?

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saltcitybabe December 24, 2010 at 8:19 pm

I made this tonight. I was lacking enough bananas (I doubled the recipe) so I put two apples in my teeny Black and Decker hand held food processor. Get one, they are awesome and take up no room to store. Anyway, adding these two Gala apples made up for one cup of bananas. I am totally in love with this recipe. The texture is awesome, and I love the whole wheat effect. If I remake it, I will do the apple thing again. Can’t claim it is more healthy what with all the sugar and butter, but it is the best I have tasted. Not as sickenly sweet as my other recipes.

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Nina March 26, 2013 at 7:47 am

I didn’t have enough banana either so I used the one I had and added roasted acorn squash to make up the rest of the 1.5 cups. Great to have a recipe that can be altered minimally and still be amazing.

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Linda December 22, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Wow! Good stuff! I am enjoying a piece of banana bread right now, while the other one is still in the oven. I added raisins to the first loaf and left the raisins out for the other loaf (because my husband doesn’t like them.)

I also added sugar in place of honey because I didn’t have any. And I also left out the vanilla extract because that was also not in my pantry. :(

MUST BAKE AGAIN!

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Jojo November 29, 2010 at 6:45 pm

Hello, I just finished baking my Banana Bread & it came out delicious. I really doubted whole wheat flour, but I think this recipe pushed me to bake with healthy ingredients in the future. I will definitely make this recipe again. Yum :) I included my picture :)

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Breadtopia November 29, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Yum is right!

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Ashley Thompson November 21, 2010 at 10:47 pm

To Debbie and any others lacking a food processor/mixer:

I’ve made this recipe by hand several times and it never disappoints! Just throw everything into a mixing bowl and whip it up with a fork or whisk. I feel like the added elbow grease translates to more love in the oven. :)

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Saeriu November 16, 2010 at 3:12 pm

This looks great. I wonder, in the spirit of the season, an equal amount of pumpkin puree could be substituted for the banana? Just curious…I’ll definitely try it with bananas. :)

Saeriu

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Breadtopia October 28, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Hi Debbie,

This, as with many of the bread recipes on our site, is easy to make without any special equipment. Your food processor aught to work quite well blending the bananas and other ingredients. You might try it in pulse mode so not to over work it.

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debbie galayda October 27, 2010 at 5:13 pm

dont have a mixer or hand blender, live in a small place, but really love to cook! i am just getting into baking and am a litttle nervous because its so scientific. trying to be healthy, so like the whole wheat, can i do all this with a little elbow grease and get the same result? i do have a food processor, can i use that if its a small batch?

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melinda April 5, 2012 at 7:11 pm

so I am just barely getting into this as well. I noticed you left this note in 2010. I was wondering if you could help me out with what you have learned trying to figure out cooking and healthy.

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Celena May 17, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Hello Melinda. I highly recommend checking out heavenlyhomemakers.com (even if you’re not a Christian, she does a wondeful job explaining nutrition, and has many healthy recipes as well). In a nutshell, cooking healthy just means that you eat foods as close to their natural state as possible. That means no hamburger helper… get out some organic whole wheat noodles (wheat is notorious for pesticides), grass fed hamburger, etc. and mix it up yourself. There are so SO many things that you can make at home (crackers, granola, bread, rolls, granola bars, etc) that are so much tastier and healthier. :) Hope that helps a bit.

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Jason in Los Angeles October 22, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Hey,

I made this bread not too long ago. It puffed up nice and collapsed during cooling. Despite its brick shape, its texture and taste came nowhere close to approximating a brick. It’s the best banana bread recipe I’ve made. I also used toasted cashews instead of walnuts because of a tree nut allergy. Might try sunflower seeds next time.

Have you read the Cooks Illustrated method of preparing the bananas for the bread? I am interested to combine these two recipes.

Thanks for your great videos and recipes. I would not have baked bread without them.

~j

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j. Peterson October 22, 2010 at 12:22 am

Try chopped dates along with the mashed bananas — the 2 flavors together are more than twice as good!

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christi holden October 6, 2010 at 6:54 am

SOOO Good. Made with pure cane sugar instead of honey and it was so delicious. It is moist!

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