A few months ago, Big Papa ventured into gluten-free land. He did not go willingly –it took a number of years, at least seven trips to the emergency room (he has a rare allergic reaction to a combination of wheat and exertion which can result in anaphylaxis), and some clever insistence on the part of his wife (me) to convince him to at least give it a try.
After his last ER trip, I decided it was time to experiment with gluten-free products, starting with cereal, bread and pasta. My own memories of gluten-free forays (friends who couldn’t eat wheat) did not leave a pleasant taste in my mouth. I remember rice pastas that were gummy and mealy textured, and dry, flavorless bread.
I brought home several boxes of granola cereals, four different sliced breads, a package of dried pasta and fresh Manini’s gluten-free pasta. Big Papa found several cereal options; that was an easy switch. Udi’s bread and bagels are great for sandwiches and snacks, and Udi’s thin pizza crusts are now a “regular” item in our dinner rotation.
We both gave the dry pasta a “meh” rating (though gluten-free pasta made from quinoa flour was the tastiest). Then we tried Maninis fresh pasta. Wow! I actually made a pasta dish, using Maninis Gluten Free Lemon-Thyme Linguini and did not tell Big Papa it was gluten-free. He couldn’t tell the difference and neither could I. Thanks must be given to the Pacific Northwest because we are blessed to live in a place where we have so many gluten-free options (and the only place Maninis fresh past is sold).
So when I discovered Maninis Multiuso Multi-purpose flour at PCC (which you can buy online!), my culinary light bulb flashed on, and along with it the answer for the five overripe bananas on our counter: Gluten-free Banana Bread. I searched recipes on the internet, found one that looked good, and tweaked it a bit to make it mine. The tweaking involved swapping out pedestrian walnuts for creamy, rich Hawaiian Macadamia Nuts (a souvenir from a trip to Hawaii).
Wow again! Gluten-free banana bread made with Maninis flour was moist and delicious, really delicious. If someone put a blindfold on me, gave me one slice of wheat-based banana bread and one slice of this gluten-free banana bread, I would be hard-pressed to know which was which.
Gluten-free cooking is new to me, but after my inaugural baking success, I’d say there’s a strong likelihood there will be more to come. Make this recipe and I promise you’ll find it hard not to eat the entire loaf!
Take the road less traveled,
Gluten-free Banana Macadamia Bread
Prep: 20 min. Bake: 45 min. (plus cooling time)
Yield: Two loaves
- 2 cups Maninis Multiuso Multipurpose Flour Mix (or any other gluten-free all-purpose baking flour)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups mashed ripe bananas (4-5 medium)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chopped Macadamia nuts (any nut: walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, etc. could be substituted here, or no nuts at all if that’s how you roll)
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, bananas, sugar, applesauce, oil and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
- Transfer to two 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans coated with cooking spray (or rubbed with some oil). Sprinkle with Macadamia nuts. Bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (found it was moist and needed more time, but check at 45 minutes and then cook for 10 minute increments).
- Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.
Want to broaden your culinary horizons? Check out Wanderfood Wednesday!