WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- This has been a weird week for the Inspired Chef. A few nights ago I was out to dinner at a Greek restaurant with family, squished into a banquette between my brother, David, and my older son, Sam.
Since I couldn’t get out, I asked the waiter to bring me a Kleenex. Now, what I should have requested was a tissue because he looked at me very confused. I covered my nose to try to show him what I meant but still don’t think he understood because he came back five minutes later with a tray of toothpicks! Maybe I had spinach in my teeth?
Then the next day, I went to get my eyebrows waxed and Susie, who’s been expertly crafting my brows for years, asked me if I also wanted to have her wax my mustache. My mustache? I didn’t know I had one! Maybe that’s because my eyes are getting so bad that I didn’t see it.
So, I was a little disconcerted about my appearance and feeling a bit blue. When I’m down, what I like to do is bake, because heaven knows I need to add expanded love handles to my list of age 50-plus afflictions.
What I decided to bake was banana bread. The good news for my love handles is that while most recipes for banana bread call for 1/4 cup of oil, I made one that substitutes applesauce for the oil.
Some of you may be thinking that it can’t possibly taste as good if you don’t use oil or are questioning if it has the same texture and moistness. All I can tell you is my husband, Bob, told me it was the best banana bread that he ever had.
Plus, it helps to add the chocolate chips, although that probably cancels out the calories you save by using applesauce.
Banana Bread Adapted from Canyon Ranch Cooks: More Great Tastes
3 small very ripe bananas mashed, about 1 cup 1/4 cup brewed coffee 1/2 cup sugar 1/4 cup brown sugar 1/4 cup naturally sweetened applesauce 1 whole egg 1 cup whole-wheat flour 1/4 cup bread flour (you can substitute regular flour) 3/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice 3/4-1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or you can substitute chopped walnuts) Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly coat a 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 bread pan with butter and dust with flour.
In a small bowl, combine bananas and coffee. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix sugar, brown sugar and applesauce. Add egg and mix well. Add to banana mixture and mix until smooth.
In a small bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Add to banana mixture and mix until all ingredients are just combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pan and bake for one hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on rack for five minutes. Remove from pan and slice when cooled completely.
Laura Joseph Mogil is a freelance writer and publicist residing in Briarcliff Manor. You can read her blog at www.theinspiredchef.blogspot.com
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