The sugar-free banana bread recipe in this post is a joint effort. Thad loves his banana bread – to the point that he bakes it sometimes twice a week. Sadly, it’s got a cup of sugar in it, and we all know that I try to avoid sugar, lest my body dissolve into something that can only be described as biological Chernobyl. He’s trying to avoid it too… “trying” being the operative word.
Anyways – while lamenting the fact that I couldn’t eat another slice of his grandma’s beloved banana bread, it occurred to me that I should just search the internet for a sugar free banana bread recipe. Duh. Google revealed this recipe, which I modified pretty heavily to change the sweetness, leavening, and types of flour used.
I was excited. Thad, on the other hand, balked. Not terribly interested in “hippie-dippie” banana bread sans-sugar, let alone whole grain baking, he stuck his tongue out at the recipe and said that he probably wouldn’t like it. And that, dear readers, is where the challenge started. I’ll let Thad explain the rest.
Challenge accepted! First, let me make it clear that everything Stephanie has introduced me to, I have loved. Certainly I would be a fool not to try this banana bread, lest it be amazing; though my sugar craving brain had already made the decision that, ‘Nope, it won’t be good at all’. Just the thought of freshly baked banana bread, with sugar, wafting throughout my apartment sent mad amounts of dopamine careening throughout my neural chemistry. To me, baking anything sans sugar is akin to a water park without the water. In other words, why try?
The question ‘why’ is answered for one main reason: keeping Stephanie healthy, and by proxy, myself. With that thought firmly planted in my heart, we gathered everything we needed. I manned the mixing and baking, while Stephanie remixed the original recipe. It certainly was odd to add vegetable oil, honey, and heavy cream to mashed bananas. It took a while to get the batter mixed, but once everything was together, I couldn’t have been more surprised at how much it tasted and felt just like the recipe I’m used to making.
Baking this bread provided more excitement as it really smelled like my old banana bread recipe. Still skeptical, but excited seeing it rise through the oven window, I started to believe that this might actually taste good. Steph carefully took the bread out and let it cool down before we finally took a bite.
I was bowled over. EHH, more like my head exploded! Now this was GOOD! Between shoving bites in my mouth, I kept stating how great it was. You could imagine Steph’s surprise, and it was warranted. There was no way to tell the difference between what I normally make, and this recipe. The best part of this whole challenge? I could eat as much as I want, knowing that I’m eating something delicious and healthy.
You win Steph… This time!
Steph here again. I just wanted to note that this recipe was surprisingly perfect — so close to your standard banana bread that you might not be able to tell the difference in a blind taste test. This recipe calls for one cup of spelt flour, which makes for a much more fluffy, tender crumb. Honestly, this banana bread is so soft and luxurious that you might slip into a dream state while eating it.
We used Arrowhead Mill’s spelt flour instead of Bob’s Red Mill’s “light” spelt flour, though I suppose you could use either if you like. Bob’s light spelt has a lot of the bran stripped away, making it less healthy and fiber-rich, but it will still work for our purposes here. You can find spelt flour in any health-food store or large-scale natural supermarket (think Whole Foods or Wild Oats) or you can buy it online.
If, though, you don’t have any spelt or don’t want to spring for it, feel free to omit the spelt and use an additional cup of regular all-purpose flour instead — making 3 cups total for the entire recipe. But, you’ll definitely be missing something special.
- 4 overripe bananas, mashed to a pulp
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon milk
- 4 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup spelt flour (we used Arrowhead Mills regular spelt, not Bob’s Red Mill light spelt)
- 2 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
- Make sure oven rack is in the middle of your oven. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a large loaf pan.
- Combine bananas, canola oil, honey, vanilla, almond extract, milk, and egg in a large bowl, mixing well.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, spelt, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, mixing well. Add to wet ingredients, mixing just past the point that there are no dry lumps – do not over mix, but you don’t want to under mix, either. Stir in nuts, if desired. Add apple sauce or an additional mashed banana if mixture seems too thick.
- Pour mixture into prepared pan, filled about 3/4 full, and bake 1 hour, or until top is well browned and a cake tester comes out clean. Turn loaf out onto its side on a cooling rack and let sit for 30 minutes before slicing.
If you like this sugar-free banana bread recipe, check out these other recipes: