Sometimes using all whole wheat flour is just enough to make a treat more permissible.

A small store that I frequent bundles up its old-ish produce and sells the packages for $.99. Most fruits and vegetables aren’t appealing with wilted edges and age spots. However, when I spy a tray of 8-10 browning bananas, I have a hard time being rational. It seems like the universe is telling me to make banana bread.

As we float through the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the holiday spirit replaces the little devil on my left shoulder whispering in my ear that all the sweets, treats and cocktails are a once-a-year indulgence that I deserve. Our Christmas tree is already up, lights are twinkling and the house is much more cozy filled with the aroma of baked goods!

I don’t usually experiment with banana bread because this standby recipe is unbeatable in my estimation. But, to assuage my guilt a bit, I substituted all the flour in the recipe with whole wheat flour. Though it wasn’t quite as succulent, it was still delicious. And now, we can honestly chalk up a slice of banana bread as a good source of fiber.

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 large, ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup butter, melted

Grease and flour two 9 x 5 loaf pans or twelve muffin tins.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, soda, salt and sugar. Mix in the slightly beaten eggs and mashed bananas. Slowly stir in the melted butter just until incorporated. Pour into prepared pans. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes for bread or about 18-20 minutes for banana muffins or until the center is set and springs back when touched.  Let cool in pans for 5 minutes then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

Additional Banana Bread Tips:
– Banana size varies drastically. I use very large bananas. If you have really small bananas, add an extra half.
– What is a ripe banana? Well, I like mine almost all brown with some specs of yellow. Once I used all brown and it smelled a bit like alcohol. I think they were fermenting and on their way to banana liqueur :)
– Mash bananas well with a potato masher or fork but leave some small chunks. Don’t go all the way to baby food consistency.
– Do NOT over mix this batter. I would not use an electric mixer – just a few circles of the wrist while incorporating the ingredients.
– Do NOT overbake. The moist, banana-y center should be soft and crumbly.

– Let the bread cool completely before storing. The edges and outside will get sticky and icky if you wrap it or put it in a ziploc too soon.