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For a blogger whose blog title included the word “cupcake”, I have not done very much blogging about baking lately. That’s not to say that I haven’t baked a bunch of stuff, I’ve just not been good about photographing and actually getting recipes written down. But I made some banana bread last night that deserves a place in blog-history. Seriously, it’s delicious. And gluten free. And low fat. I know, I know. How could something low fat and gluten free be amazingly delicious? Read on and I will tell you how!

This was my first ever foray into GF baking and as I plan to make this recipe to give to someone as a gift, I wanted to make sure that I got the texture right and the flavor right without the gluten. I used Bon Appétit’s Best Banana Bread recipe as the base to figure out my ratios, and I used a variety of websites to read about and to come up with the best way to replicate the texture and crumb without pricey ingredients (read: xanthan gum) or chemical dough conditioners. Pack-out is coming and I don’t want a bunch of expensive, one-trick-pony ingredients to try to get rid of before then. After reading up on a bunch of options, adding an extra egg and using chia seeds seemed to be the best and most readily available options.

I took the loaf to work today and had a bunch of people taste test for me and not one person guessed that the loaf was gluten free so I’m counting it as a mission accomplished. Here’s the recipe. I’m making it again later this week and will update this post with pictures once I have them.

Gluten-Free Banana Bread
adapted from Bon Appetit

1 1/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour. (I used Bob’s Red Mill brand.)
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp chia seeds
1 1/2 tbsp water
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup Kefir yogurt (or cream cheese)
1/4 cup applesauce (you could use 1/2 stick of room temperature butter instead)
3 large eggs
4-5 ripe bananas
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 350. Grease a loaf pan with shortening or cooking spray and line with parchment. Make sure enough parchment overhangs the sides so you can pull it out of the pan easily. If you are lazy like I am and don’t want to have to wash your pan after, you don’t have to grease it but the grease does help the parchment to stick to the pan.
  • Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside. Pour chia seeds and water into a small cup, swirl the water around to coat the seeds and set aside. In a large bowl, use a mixer to mix brown sugar, yogurt, and applesauce until smooth and no longer gritty (about 4 minutes). The mixture will be quite thin and will not be fluffy like it would be if you used butter. Don’t worry. This is normal. Add the eggs and beat thoroughly to incorporate them. Make sure you get all the whites beaten into the mixture because they’ll help act as a binder in the absence of gluten.
  • Add the flour mixture and beat on low just until combined. Scoop the chia seeds out of the cup and add them to the bowl. Mix briefly (30 seconds to 1 minute) to combine and then set the bowl aside for 10-15 minutes. This step is CRUCIAL to get the correct texture without the gluten. Seriously, don’t skip it.
  • While the mixture is setting, peel and mash the bananas in a small bowl. After the time is up, mix the bananas into the batter, keeping the mixer on low speed to avoid splatter and to preserve a few yummy banana chunks. Stir in the walnuts by hand.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and cook for 60-75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Cool on a wire rack in the pan 10 minutes. Then, using the parchment, gently pull the bread out of the pan and set back on the rack to cool. For an extra treat, brush the top of the bread with melted butter or maple syrup.

I think that the best part about this bread is the crust. It gets kind of shiny and is the perfect combination of smooth and craggy. The bread itself is rich and delicious and would be absolutely perfect with a tiny cup of espresso as an after-dinner treat.

Enjoy!

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