Friday, March 25, 2011

Brooke and Big Bird's Banana Bread

Cheap Eat Challenge: Watch as our family of 6 eats, or tries to, on $6/day.

My friend, Brooke, brought some banana bread to our house a couple years ago. We devoured it at an alarming rate. The next morning my husband said something like, "You should make banana bread like that. That's how I remember liking it as a kid." I said, "I guess I didn't realize you liked banana bread that much." And he said, "I like it when it's moist like that." Ahem.

Fortunately I don't have too much food pride and I asked Brooke for the recipe. She said she'd gotten it from a friend who'd gotten it from a 1970's Sesame Street magazine. When a recipe comes from the Big Bird himself, I suppose you should expect it to be wholesome, but I was still surprised at how many bananas it used. My no-longer-standby recipe called for only 1 large banana. And I was even more surprised to see that Brooke and Big Bird's recipe was entirely whole wheat. I even asked her if she had used all whole wheat. It was just so smooth and nice. I guess I forgot to notice it was virtuous too.

We often make this into muffins for breakfast. By eating just two, which is easy peasy for this clan, you're getting 1/2 of a banana and lots of whole grains. If I asked my kids to eat a whole wheat muffin and 1/2 a banana on the side, the majority of them would stomp around and complain of the utter trial that is their lives. So for us these muffins are a very good thing.

And if that's not enough good stuff, this is the type of recipe you throw into one bowl and mix with a spoon. I love those. And, one more good thing:  these taste even better the next day.

Below I've given you Brooke's/Big Bird's original recipe as well as a lower sugar, lower cost version of my own. (The original is better, but mine is good too and it fits better in our uber tight budget. Also, I feel even better eating these with less sugar.)

And in case your wondering why we're so heavy on the breakfast-y stuff on this blog, well, dinner was a bust tonight--edible, but not bloggable. And, yes, my life apparently centers around sweet breakfasts that I try to avoid feeling guilty about.

Brooke and Big Bird's Banana Bread
Makes 1 loaf or 12 muffins
Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes for muffins; 1 hour for the loaf
Cost: $1.70
(bananas: .40, honey: .75 (a little sketchy on this estimation), butter: .25, flour: .30)

3 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
3/4 cup honey
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 C chocolate chips (optional)

Mash bananas well with a fork. Add other ingredients. Mix together, pour into a greased bread pan, and bake at 350 for one hour. (Alternately pour into 12 muffins cups and bake for 15-20 minutes.)


The Cheaper Less Sweet Sister (Hmm, good thing this isn't a personals add)
Cost: $.78
(bananas: .40, sugar: .04, oil: .04, whole wheat: .30)

A confession: I used sugar and less of it. It was good and all, but if you've got honey and your budget can swing it, I recommend the honey instead of the sugar. It keeps the muffins super moist and makes for a more complex flavor.

A note: If you don't have quite enough bananas, use a bit of applesauce to fill the void.

3 ripe bananas
1/4 C sugar
1/4 C canola oil
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 C whole wheat flour

Prepare as above.



  1. That's quite the alliteration!

    I've also started making it with sugar and canola oil... especially when I'm making it to give to someone else :) Honey is SO expensive these days.

    Also, I've found that frozen bananas work GREAT! So, if your bananas are getting too brown for your kids' liking just toss the whole thing in the freezer. When you have enough to make banana bread, let them thaw in a bowl, snip off the end with kitchen shears, and squeeze out the banana like toothpaste.

  2. We've done the frozen bananas. They look super nasty, but they still work great.

  3. I just pulled these out of the oven and OMG they are so good!

    I found another whole wheat banana bread recipe that I planned to make today, but this morning I stumbled upon your blog.

    I used 1/3 cup of honey and 4.5 (really big) bananas. I also used half whole wheat and half buckwheat. I bet they would taste just as good using only buckwheat. That would make this recipe egg and gluten free. I also added a ton of raisins because my 14 month old loves them.

    I made mini muffins, it made 24 muffins and 1 mini loaf of bread. I plan to freeze them and use them as healthy snacks over the next month :)

  4. Cool. I have a friend who can't eat gluten, so I'm so glad you gave the buckwheat version a whirl. Thanks.

  5. Love this one too, thank you :)

  6. So glad you like them and the blog. It's always so nice to hear.



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