I usually poo-poo anything low-fat. I don't believe in no-fat or low-fat foods. I'm fortunate not have to worry about calories or where they come from (please don't hate me). The doctor recently suggested that I would be in better shape if I gained a few pounds. Outside of this, I eat whole fat everything including milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream because it is much more gratifying. Plus, I actually eat less of the item than say they're lower fat/cal version. My craving is fulfilled and I haven't eaten something with substitutes and additives.
Given this, I was surprised that I wanted to try this low- fat version of banana bread. I tried it only because it came out of Cook's Illustrated and if they like it, it must be pretty good. Plus, did you know that a slice of banana bread has 220 calories and 6 grams of fat?! This is actually not horrible considering the alternatives but Cook's was challenged to come up with something leaner, moist and full of banana flavor.
Their secret ingredients, fat-free cream cheese (I know, fat-free!) and roasted bananas which makes them sweeter, hence less sugar is required. Have you ever roasted bananas? It was my first time, and it really made the bread pop. My guinea pigs devoured the bread -- it was gone in two days. Given the low-fat content, I'm not sure this version would freeze well. Eat pronto!
Makes one 8-inch loaf
- 4 large ripe bananas
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 c sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 T canola oil
- 2 ounces fat-free cream cheese, cut into 4 pieces and chilled
1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly coat and 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with the vegetable oil spray and set aside.
2. Bake the bananas (skins on) on a rimmed baking sheet until the skins are completely black, about 20 minutes. (Do not turn off the oven.) Set the bananas aside to cool at room temperature.
3. Peel the bananas, then mash them with a potato masher in a small bowl until smooth. Measure out and reserve 1 1/2 cups of the mashed bananas, discarding any excess.
4. Whisk the eggs and vanilla together in a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together with a handheld mixer on medium-low speed until combined. Add the oil and cream cheese, 1 piece at a time, and mix until only -ea-size pieces of the cream cheese remain, about 1 minute. Slowly beat in the egg mixture, then add the mashed bananas and beat until incorporate, about 30 seconds.
5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth top. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 50 to 60 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.
6. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack and let cool for 1 hour before serving. (The bread can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up toe 3 days.)
I found that I need an additional 10 minutes though I have an oven thermometer that helps me gets the temperature just right.