This gluten free caramelized banana bread is inspired by a recipe I recently saw on Pinch of Yum for Caramelized Banana Oat Muffins. Lindsay. the recipe creator over there, isn’t exactly known for low sugar baked goods. Recently, she accepted a challenge from another blogger to live without refined sugar for a while, and she and her husband decided to see how it would go . . . only to find out it was easier, and had more rewards, than she expected.
Cutting sugars out of my diet was a gradual process(I used to LOVE gummy bears on frozen yogurt), and while there have been long stretches where I have eaten nothing but sugar from fruit, I am more relaxed about it now. I use small amounts of honey, blackstrap molasses, and natural molasses sugar. I also like to use bananas, dates, and other dried fruits to add sweetness. Life without sweet would be boring, and I have no interest cutting these things out entirely. You only live once, right?
When natural sweeteners are combined with foods high in protein and healthy fats (like almond, flax, and coconut), the impact on your blood glucose is mitigated. This is because the glycemic index of a food comes from a combination of all the ingredients, not from a specific thing (yes, the glycemic index of dates is high, but not when combined with almonds, which have a very low GI).
I love to lower the sugar in baked goods, and sometimes when I do, it turns out . . . alright. Meaning, most people wouldn’t eat it, but I appreciate it knowing the ingredients are healthy and it isn’t pumping me full of sugar. It usually takes me at least 4 or 5 tries to get a recipe to the point where I know other people won’t notice what’s missing.
So when I saw the recipe on Pinch of Yum, where a blogger who typically uses sugar generously in her recipes claimed that caramelizing the bananas caused little need for added sugar, I knew I would love them. I knew they needed to be recreated gluten free.
And I was blown away. The simple step of slicing and baking the bananas first brings out so much natural sweetness.
I usually don’t drink sweet drinks, but since I created my Caramel Mocha Iced Coffee Concentrate, I’ve changed my thoughts on that. The “sweet” from fruit (even really sweet fruit like dates!) is so much different than “sweet” from refined sugar. It has substance. It has flavor. And it provides more sustained energy since our bodies take a longer time processing the “package” of a fruit’s nutrients and fiber, which is removed when sugar is refined.
If you bake this gluten free caramelized banana bread for colleagues at work, I guarantee no one will peg you for a “healthy” baker. A skilled baker, yes.
- 4 medium bananas
- coconut oil cooking spray (or other spray)
- ¾ cup oat flour*
- ½ cup almond flour
- ¼ cup flax meal (ground flax seeds)
- 2 tablespoons natural molasses sugar (like sucanat, or brown sugar)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- 2 eggs
- ⅓ cup butter, melted
- ⅓ cup oatmeal
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil (or melted butter)
- 1 teaspoon natural molasses sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
- Slice the bananas, and lay out over a cookie sheet. Spray lightly with coconut oil. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF.
- Line a loaf pan with baking paper, or alternately, spray with cooking spray.
- Mix all the dry ingredients together, including optional walnuts.
- Mix all the wet ingredients together, then pour over the dry ingredients. Stir until the dry ingredients are wet, but be careful not to overmix.
- Gently mash the caramelized bananas, leaving them chunky, but broken up. Gently fold the bananas into the batter.
- Pour the batter into the lined loaf pan, and smooth.
- Add all the oatmeal crumble ingredients into a small bowl, and stir until all the oatmeal is covered in coconut oil.
- Sprinkle the oatmeal topping over the loaf.
- Bake for 45 minutes (+/- 5 minutes, depending on your oven). The bread is done when its browned and solid in the center.
- When it's hot, it will be a bit gummy and seem underbaked. As the bread cools, it becomes a very moist, easily sliceable bread.
- For best results, store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. It also freeze well, and can be stored frozen for much longer (although it's never made it to the freezer for long over here!).