Banana Muffin Bread

Low-fat fruit-filled muffin bread.

The San Jose Mercury News was running a recipe contest based on the foods mentioned in The Hunger Games. We checked out the site to see the entries and to decide if we wanted to vote for any of them. We didn't exactly connect with the fish shaped nori breads, especially the ones submitted with green food coloring. But variations of this bread popped up throughout the entries. We adapted it to our gluten-free kitchen and tweaked it with some leftover fresh blueberries and a fork mashed banana. We lucked out at Felipe's Produce Market and picked up a box of maybe 50 bananas for $3.00. Banana bread, banana pancakes, banana smoothies, banana raita, frozen banana circles, and bananas to the neighbors. You get the picture. So of course we added banana to this recipe. (Only 7 more bananas to go.) This bread is actually somewhere between muffins and scones. We made one other change from the original; it called for 4 cups of flower. (Ooops. Shows that the Mercury News doesn't edit.) We used flour instead. But it does make one consider if you could bake edible flowers into the dough.

It is really easy to make by hand. You don't need a mixer. The trick is to have all ingredients chopped and measured before you begin mixing. Turn on the oven to preheat to 350° F before you begin slicing/dicing. Once the liquid/dry ingredients are mixed, the dough should go right into the hot oven.

We cut the recipe in half and the amounts shown here are the ones we used.

Grease but don't flour a 1 qt round casserole dish or pie plate. We used our glass ikea baking dish, 10" x6-1/2" x2".

Banana Muffin Bread (Makes about 14 serving slices)
Amount Ingredient
2 cups gluten free flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1-1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon each guar gum and xanthan gum
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 egg
3/4 cup buttermilk
1-1/2 teaspoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon orange extract (we used Torani sugar-free orange syrup)
zest of 1 orange  
1 fork mashed banana
1/3-1/2 cup fresh blueberries (cranberries would also work well here)
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
a splash each of vanilla and brandy

In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and guar and xanthan gums.

Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or 2 knives.

Stir in the orange zest, raisins and chopped pecans. (we used navel oranges from our tree)

In a medium bowl beat the egg with a fork and add buttermilk, orange extract and 1-1/2 teaspoons orange juice.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, throw in the banana and blueberries, and gently mix with a large spoon. The dough will be sticky.

The recipe says to turn out the dough and gently knead with well floured hands. If you decide to do this, believe the part about well-floured hands. Or you can skip this step and just spoon the glop into your oiled dish.

Bake at 350° F for 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. The top of the loaf will be dry-ish. Don't worry.

While the bread is baking, put 3 tablespoons of fresh orange juice, 1 tablespoon sugar, and a splash of both vanilla and brandy, into a microwave safe glass. Zap until the mixture gets really hot and then stir with a spoon until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside to blend until the bread is done.

When the bread comes out of the oven, let it cool 10 minutes in the dish. Then take your cake tester (or a knife, or fork, or chopstick) and poke lots of little holes into the bread. Poke them at least 1/2 way down top to bottom. Then use a pastry brush and spread the glaze over the top and sides of the hot bread. It will soak in.

This bread is very fragile. We had to use 2 spatulas, 1 from either end, to get it out of the dish in one piece. If it breaks, don't sweat it. It will still taste yummy.

If you don't have or want a large loaf, you can use cupcake tins or english muffin tins for individual breadlets.

This bread is still fresh and fruity the next day.