I remember the first time I decided to make gluten-free banana bread. It was fall. I dreamed of the days when I’d eat a piece of buttered, hot banana bread and drink a cup of hot tea for breakfast.
Those were the days – back before I learned that gluten was the poison wrecking my body. But those days were gone. There was no way I would ever find a good gluten-free banana bread recipe, so I thought. Boy was I wrong.
There’s something you need to know about me and gluten-free baking. Often I take the path of least resistance. I want it to be as simple as possible. I’m not as cool as the Gluten-Free Girl, who bakes by weight. I may try it someday, but for now I don’t bake enough to learn. I do make my own flour mix, but beyond that, I’m lazy. Sorry to disappoint you.
I remember searching the internet for gluten-free banana bread recipes. They were horrible. Obscure flours. Random ingredients. Pictures of dry, mealy banana bread. I didn’t think I’d ever find a recipe. And I was right. I didn’t. I made my own.
I took the banana bread recipe I’d used for years and made a few modifications. It was perfect. It was beyond perfect. It was soft and chewy in the middle and crusty on the top. And it reminded me that a gluten intolerant life was still a sweet life.
Years later, banana bread at the start of fall is still a reminder of the simple pleasures that do not end when a gluten-free diet begins.
This go around, I decided to experiment with Better Batter, a gluten-free all-purpose flour mix. I wanted to experiment with it for several reasons:
1. I occasionally get calls from people needing advice on modifying a recipe because they’re cooking for a gluten-free friend. I’m not going to recommend that they go buy $30 worth of ingredients needed to make a flour mixture. It’s good to be able to recommend a quality all-purpose flour mix.
2. Better Batter is a company worth supporting. On their website, they offer financial aid purchasing options for gluten-free families on food stamps or gluten-free families who have members undergoing expensive autism treatments (a gluten-free diet has been shown to help people with autism). Being gluten-free is a financial burden on The Professor and me. I can’t imagine what it is like for a family below the poverty line.
3. I’ve seen it used on Gluten Free on a Shoestring, one of my favorite gluten-free blogs.
4. Better Batter has xanthan gum already mixed in, so it’s perfect for novices. Also, it doesn’t have salt. It’s a big pet peeve of mine – salt in gluten-free mixes. Gluten-free baked goods become too salty fast. This is why using unsalted butter is imperative, and why I like adding my own salt. Thank you very much.
Making banana bread starts with ugly bananas and preheating your oven to 325. This recipe cooks for a long time, so if you have suspicions that your oven runs hot like mine, now is a good time to buy an oven thermometer. You don’t want to burn your banana bread. That would be tragic.
This is also a good time to grease and flour your pan. Make sure to use gluten-free cooking spray and gluten-free flour. I hate this step and always procrastinate it. Don’t do that.
Cream the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Add the bananas, eggs and vanilla.
I didn’t take a picture of the opened over-ripe bananas. They looked like parasitic space worms from a Star Trek episode I watched a long time ago. I didn’t want you to have to see that. Enjoy this pretty picture of sugar instead. Plus I’m confident that you all know what sugar and butter looks like.
My friend Elizabeth made this for me for Christmas two years ago. Homemade vanilla. It’s way good.
I was really pleased with the texture of the Better Batter flour. It wasn’t the slightest bit grainy.
This is my banana bread secret ingredient, given to me by my bestie, Sarah, and her husband, Jon. It is the best cinnamon ever. In fact, the label says that you should use only a 1/3 of the called for amount because it is so strong. Directions which I whole-hardheartedly ignore.
If you are not using a mix and instead using flour and xanthan gum, it’s especially important to mix the wet and dry ingredients separately so that the xanthan gum gets good and incorporated into the flour before it hits the liquid. Liquid activates xanthan’s gluten-mimicking sticky goodness.
Did I mention that this is chocolate chip, pecan banana bread, also known as the path to world peace.
Add your chocolate chips or pecans (if you want those) after everything’s good and mixed. Throw into your pan and bake for a looooooong time. Until a knife comes out cleanish. If it’s been cooking for more than an hour and fifteen minutes and your knife is still a little doughy, take the bread out. You don’t want it to get dry, and it will continue to cook as it cools. Mine usually cooks for an hour and fifteen minutes.
The result with the Better Batter was perfection! If you’re gluten-free and looking for a quick dessert, or if you have a gluten-free friend you want to cook for, I recommend Better Batter for banana bread and other quick breads.
I also used Better Batter to make chocolate chip cookies and sweet corn fritters. Those reviews and recipes will come soon.
- 1 full stick of unsalted butter (or casein-free margarine), softened to room temperature
- 4 large, ripe bananas, mashed
- 1 1/4 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups gluten-free flour mix and 3/4 teaspoon Xanthan Gum OR 2 cups Better Batter mix.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup of chopped nuts and chocolate chips (optional)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 teaspoon (or more) of cinnamon
- 1. Preheat oven to 325
- 2. Grease and rice flour a 9-inch loaf pan.
- 3. Blend butter and sugar in a large bowl until creamy.
- 4. Add vanilla, eggs and bananas.
- 5. Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl; add slowly to banana and butter mixture.
- 6. Add nuts, if desired.
- 7. Blend batter until well mixed and then turn into loaf pan.
- 8. Bake for 70-90 minutes or until edges are browned and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean(ish).
- 9. Remove from pan and allow to cool.
- 10. Put it on a pretty plate. Make yourself a cup of tea and eat, feeling very fancy and special.