Currant Chia Almond-Butter Banana Bread
*Preface: I wrote this post back in AUGUST and somehow it got lost in the shuffle. So currants are no longer in season, but this bread works perfectly with cranberries. Just in time for fall holidays- after all, it's not really too early to start planning your Thanksgiving menu, right??
That's a mouthful, isn't it? It is currantly (yep, I went there again) the ends of currant season and while I've eaten them raw before, I've never baked with them. I think currants are one of those fruits that people always admire and garnish with, but aren't sure how to exactly use this really pretty berry.
Currants are really flavorful and juicy little explosions packed into a tiny little berry. They are reminiscent of a cranberry's tartness. I'm going to draw a slightly strange parallel to describe the texture. It's kind of like taking one little drupelet of a raspberry and increasing the juiciness of it with cranberry juice. Considering my many unfortunate fruit allergies, berries have been my saving grace when it comes to fruit, so I embrace any and all varieties.
I used to make chocolate chip peanut-butter banana bread for my mom all the time, then slowly I started to replace some of the ingredients with healthier, simple alternatives since I didn't want her ingesting all that sugar. It's then evolved to chocolate chip almond-butter banana bread, using applesauce and coconut sugar, then swapping chocolate chips for other fruits, seeds, nuts, cacao nibs, etc. I'm like the mom in this situation, trying to sneak hiding veggies in her snacks. And my mom approves of these swaps, which means it's really still treat-like because she is very picky.
So I decided to try currants in my trusty old recipe, and also using my newfound love for freshly home-milled flour to put a healthier einkorn flour in. This is the first baking recipe I'm trying my homemade einkorn flour in, so I'm excited to see how it works out.
Pause. I wrote all the above content while it was baking in the oven, and I just took it out to transfer it to a wire rack to cool. A tiny bit of the bread got stuck to the bottom (guess I missed a spot when greasing), but I'm torn between being glad about it or mad about it. Glad about it because it beyond succeeded my expectations and it is already one of my favorite breads I've ever baked. Texture is wonderfully moist, the currants give that tart pop to the sweetness of the banana. But I'm mad because I now have to wait for it to cool but that's probably a good thing because right now I would eat more than necessary.
This loaf, if sliced into 10 pieces, racks up to about 245 calories, 11g fat, 34g carb, 7g protein, and it's got a decent balance of nutrients for a bread.
Currant Chia Almond-Butter Banana Bread
*makes 1 small 8.5 x 4.5 loaf. I would say you could double the recipe and it would still fit the pan, and baking time would need to increase a bit.
3 very ripe medium Bananas
1/3 cup unsweetened Applesauce
1/2 cup creamy Raw Almond Butter, room temp
1 large Egg, room temp
1/2 cup Raw Coconut sugar
1 cup Einkorn Flour
1/2 cup Almond Meal
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1.5 tsp Baking Powder
1 tbsp Chia Seeds
3/4 cup fresh Red Currants
Oil Spray to grease pan (I used Sunflower Seed Oil)
1. Preheat oven to 350º
2. Combine dry ingredients (einkorn flour, almond meal, baking soda & powder) in a small bowl and lightly whisk to combine.
3. Peel and mash bananas using a fork in a large mixing bowl. Add applesauce, and coconut sugar and mix well. Add in egg, whisk until blended in, then stir in almond butter until smooth and consistent.
4. Add dry ingredient mixture to the wet mixture in 3 parts, stirring gently after each addition. Be careful not to overmix- you want to just stir in gently enough until combined, no more.
5. Gently stir in chia seeds and currants, but reserve a tiny bit of each for later. Stir minimally until combined.
6. Lightly grease 8.5 x 4.5 bread loaf pan with oil spray (you can use butter or any oil to do this). Add in batter, and sprinkle reserve chia seeds and currants to top decoratively.
7. Place pan in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until edges are darkened a bit and start to pull away from the pan. Good test tip- stick a toothpick in the center and if it comes out clean, it is done. If batter sticks to it, it needs some more time.
8. Remove from oven, let it sit in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Slice and serve!
*This bread freezes extremely well- if you would like to freeze, slice bread, individually wrap each slice, and put in an airtight container. To thaw, leave out in room temperature for several hours, or you can oven/microwave to defrost.