The banana is the avocado of my fruit bowl. One minute they are just barely yellow and a tasty accompaniment to my morning coffee, the next minute they are soft, brown, and unfit for my delicate palate. To be fair, some people like really ripe bananas. I, however, am not one of those people. When my bananas start to fade, I typically peel and freeze them for smoothies . Trust me, it's a HUGE time savor and will yield tasty results.
This past weekend I decided to forgo the freezing and did a little baking instead. Instead of adding fruit to my freezer, I dug deep and pulled out some frozen, pureed candy roaster squash. If you've visited our site before, you know I am blessed with parents that garden well and often. While I gobble up most of the produce as they pull it from their trunk and pile it on my kitchen counter, I also store some away for rainy days such as these (okay, okay it wasn't raining, but there was a ton of pollen coming down...does that count?).
Candy roaster squash is a great sub for pumpkin or butternut squash. I find the roasted and pureed end product to little more watery than either of the more well known squashes, but it has a sweet flavor that is perfect for baked goods. If you don't have experimental gardeners around to supply you with fresh candy roasters, feel free to substitute with the pureed squash of your choice (the original recipe actually called for pumpkin, I simply chose to get a little wild in my kitchen).
I have tried making banana bread in the past and it never turns out well. It is either too dry, or too sweet, or not sweet enough, or just downright bland. This recipe turned out perfect. I used Well Seasoned Table Pumpkin Pie Spice so it definitely was NOT bland. Using the candy roaster and applesauce kept the mixture super moist (go ahead, say it out loud and freak out the person sitting next to you). Using unsweetened apple sauce and a moderate amount of brown sugar kept the sweetness to a minimum. I'm telling you, this banana bread will knock your socks off. I've been alternating having a slice with my morning cup of joe or sneaking a slice in at the end of the day as a snack. It is delicious morning, noon and night. This specific recipe makes 2 loaves so there is plenty to share or you can pack some away in the freezer to pull out for your next rainy day. Happy Baking!
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2-1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon WST Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar, not packed
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cup candy roaster squash puree (you can use pumpkin or butternut squash)
4 medium, ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease two 8×5 inch loaf pans with baking spray.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, WST Pumpkin Pie Spice, cinnamon and salt with a whisk. Set aside.
In a large bowl cream butter and sugar. You can use an electric mixer but it was pretty easy to do by hand (with a fork) if your butter is soft enough. Add egg whites, puree of choice, bananas, apple sauce and vanilla, and beat until thick.
Add flour mixture and blend until combined. Do not over mix.
Pour batter into loaf pans and bake on the center rack for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let the pan cool at least 20 minutes, bread should be room temperature before slicing. Makes 2 loaves.
Recipe adapted from Skinnytaste's Pumpkin Banana Bread