Ok emphasis on the slightly part. I’m not going to count the calories and compare. Just tell myself that by swapping out the oil for applesauce it totally means I can have two pieces. Right? Oh wait…I also added in a couple tablespoons of butter. Hmm..so like I said..slightly healthier. You have been warned.
This original recipe comes from a well-known (like on Food Network kind of known) bakery here in Boston, Flour Bakery. And the original recipe seriously doesn’t need any messing with. It’s fabulous. Hands down the best banana bread recipe I have ever come across. Perhaps it’s the laborious time spend whipping the eggs and sugar together. Or those couple of tablespoonfuls of sour cream added in. Either way, the recipe is flawless.
So why go messing with it? Out of necessity comes genius right? Well I was out of oil. (Ok so not really a genius moment.) That really is the only reason I changed it up. I had to. Otherwise there would have been no need to. I had 3 frozen bananas in the freezer and a fourth lonely one hanging out on the counter that needed to be used, but no oil to go with it. I did however have butter, and applesauce. I figured what the heck let’s add a little of both! I added equal parts of applesauce, and threw in a little butter because well everything is better with butter right? I was right.
I decided to bake it in a cake pan instead,, which required about 10 minutes less bake time. I would recommend just watching your oven closely on this if you decide to use a cake pan. I originally set my oven timer to 45 minutes and kept a close watch on it from there. I used up the remaining half of a banana to slice up on top just for fun. The banana bread was still as delicious as ever. But if you want the original recipe, click here.
My (slightly healthier, but probably not) and slightly adapted version you can find it here. Bake it up and feel perhaps a slight less pang of guilt when you enjoy.
best ever banana bread (slightly healthier)
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
½ cup applesauce
2 1/2 Tbs. butter, melted
3 ½ very ripe medium bananas (1 1/3 cups mashed)
2 tablespoons crème fraiche or sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
Heat the oven to 325ºF degrees. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment, beat the sugar and eggs on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (Or whip by hand with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy, about 8 minutes.)
With the mixer on low speed, slowly drizzle in the butter. Be sure NOT to pour the butter in all at once; add it slowly so that it has time to incorporate into the eggs and doesn’t deflate the air you’ve just beaten into the batter. This took about 1 minute. Then add your applesauce in the same fashion.
Add the mashed bananas, crème fraiche, and vanilla and mix on low speed until just combined. Fold in the dry ingredients and nuts by hand until thoroughly combined, so there are no more flour streaks in the batter.
Pour the batter into a buttered 9×5-inch loaf pan and bake for 60 to 75 minutes, until the top of the banana bread is golden brown and springs back when you poke it in the middle. If your finger sinks when you poke it, it needs to bake a little longer. Let cool for at least 30 minutes and then pop out of the pan and serve. Keeps for 2 to 3 days at room temperature, tightly wrapped. Or store in the freezer, tightly wrapped in plastic, for up to 2 weeks and defrost overnight at room temperature.