My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Match Made in Heaven!


I had several really ripe bananas I needed to use up, and decided to make banana bread. I hadn't made banana bread since I started cooking and baking without added fats two years ago, so I didn't have a good recipe at hand. So I do what I always do in that case; I turned to Susan V's wonderful FatFree Vegan Kitchen site. And as usual, I found a great recipe; this time for Cherry-Walnut Banana Bread. Hmmm... well, that wasn't a combination that ever would have occurred to me, and I didn't have any dried cherries in the house but I DID have fresh cranberries. Susan's recipes have always been huge successes, so I decided to give it a whirl. I made a few (very few) other variations on her recipe, so here's Susan's recipe with my notes and variations provided in cranberry red. :-)

This flavor combination is absolutely divine! I intend to get some dried cherries when I go gather my weekly provisions tomorrow and as soon as I have more perfect-for-baking ripe bananas on hand, I'm going to make it with those. I love that this recipe can be varied according to the seasons... I imagine cherry-banana bread in the summer, cranberry-banana bread in the autumn and winter. (She also has a recipe for blueberry-banana bread, which I haven't tried yet). I also love cranberry pumpkin bread and make it a lot this time of year, but it's nice to have another delicious cranberry-laden alternative! Thank you - yet again - Susan V!

3 over-ripe bananas
2 tbsp. lemon juice
4 ounces unsweetened apple sauce
(1/2 cup)
1/2 cup dark sugar
2 cups whole wheat flour
(1 cup whole wheat flour plus 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour)
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup dried cherries
(fresh cranberries, halved)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Demerara sugar (2 tsp or so, for sprinkling on top)
Preheat the oven to 350ยบ F.
In a large bowl, mash the bananas and add the lemon juice, apple sauce, and sugar. Stir well to combine. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture, and stir just until the mixture is well-combined.
Spray or wipe a loaf pan with oil (I used non-stick spray on a silicon loaf pan) (I used a silicon loaf pan too, but didn't use any oil on mine. Just let it cool and the loaf will come right out). Spread the mixture evenly in the pan, sprinkle top with demerara sugar and bake until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Allow to cool completely before serving.
Note: Fat-free quickbreads like this really benefit from being allowed to cool completely, which is why they often taste better the next day. The crust, which is chewier than breads with oil, will gather moisture and softness over time. Ignore the tempting aroma; pleasure delayed will be pleasure multiplied. (She's absolutely right, so don't be ignoring this advice!) ;-)
(The chickens on my plate look like they're calculating whether they could sneak a nibble and get away with it!)
Update: This week I made a loaf of this bread using dried cherries, and then another loaf using the fresh cranberries again, and I've gotta say ~ we like the cranberry version better. So I have renamed this bread "Cranana Bread!" :-)


  1. SusanV's recipes rule. FatFree Vegan is probably my favorite blog. Cranberry banana bread sounds terrific--I love cranberries in anything!

  2. Couldn't agree more! :-) I'm hoping you can make a gf version of this!


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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