On December 31st, I made a resolution that I’d go sugar-free for the month of January. I am 24 days in, and I am very aware of all 24 of those. I’ll probably write a whole post about this at the end of the month, but here’s the short version. I love sugar, and I miss sugar. But sugar and I had an unhealthy relationship, and we needed some time apart.
One of the good things that has come from this sugarless month is that I’m finding new, creative ways to satisfy what used to be a very sweet tooth. Banana bread is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods, and even without added sugar, this loaf did not disappoint.
For my own purposes, I’m defining sugar-free as eliminating cane sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, and other added sweeteners. So I’m still eating fruit (and occasional dried fruit), which do contain natural sugars, but I’ve drastically reduced my overall sugar intake. This bread is ever so lightly sweetened with fresh orange juice, and the orange zest and fennel seeds really take it up a notch. It’s not your typical sweet breakfast bread, but it’s a savory treat you won’t be able to stop eating.
(Sugar-Free) Banana Orange Bread
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50-55 minutes
Ingredients (1 loaf)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (whole)
3 large ripe bananas
1/3 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
zest of one large orange
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients – from flour through the spices.
In a separate, smaller dish, mash the bananas until they mostly liquid and there are minimal lumps. Add the eggs, vanilla, and orange juice, and whisk until all the wet ingredients are combined.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir with a spatula. Once the mixture is combined, use a microplane to zest one large orange over the batter. Mix the zest into the bread batter, and then pour into a greased loaf pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes. The outside should have a nice golden brown crunchy crust, while the inside will be fluffy and moist. Allow bread to cool on a wire cooling rack for a few minutes before slicing.
Slice and serve! This bread pairs well with many things – butter, jelly, cream cheese – but I personally recommend coconut oil or coconut spread. Yum!
I think my favorite thing about this bread is the orange zest. Seriously – don’t skimp on the zest. I made this recipe twice, and I really bulked up the zest on the second version. It was not a mistake – there is no such thing as too much!
I made this for my mom’s group on Wednesday (along with this veggie salad), and there was just a small stump left after everyone went home. I warned them ahead of time that I was going to try some sugar-free baking, but no one seemed to mind judging by what was left over.
Another bonus? I can feed this to Cullen with zero guilt or worry. At this stage in his life, he’s not really getting any sugar other than fruit, and a little bit of dried fruit. I know there will come a time where he’ll know all about cupcakes and ice cream, but I figure there’s no real need for that right. He’s been gobbling this bread down by the slice, and can’t get enough! He doesn’t seem to know that it’s missing anything…
Looking forward to my next batch of ripe bananas!