This Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread loaf is your dream Sunday morning companion to coffee and books. Easily substitute the gluten free flour for all-purpose if the gluten-free is not your style.
I have been wanting to get back to posting recipes since I finished my book last year. I thought I had better ease into it rather than posting more cakes! Last weekend my boyfriend told me he was craving banana bread, and I thought, ya that's a good place to start!
Banana breads are easy and forgivable. The bananas themselves add moisture to your loaf so that you don't need to worry to much about ending up with a dry product. Adding the cinnamon swirl brings another layer of flavour to this bread which helps make the top nice and crisp while achieving a beautiful moist inside.
As a baker I get a lot of requests for gluten free and vegan products, so most of my recipes end up either being both, or easily adaptable to make it more accessible to more people. With the cost of dairy and eggs right now, you don't have to be vegan to want to lean towards dairy free products. I can assure you, that you will not miss the dairy and eggs in this recipe, in fact I can guarantee you won't even notice that they are not there. While gluten free flour can cost more, you can easily make this recipe with all-purpose flour. Use the same amount of flour that the recipe calls for and remove the xanthium gum.
This recipe comes together easily and quickly. In the directions I have suggested mixing together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. I do this to ensure all the dry ingredients are fully incorporated before I add it to the wet ingredients. If you want to make this one bowl, start with the wet ingredients mixed together in a large bowl and add in all the dry ingredients. You will want to mix this extra well to be sure that everything is incorporated. You do risk having dry clumps in your final product if it is not mixed thoroughly.
Obviously you can't make banana bread without bananas. The reason you want to use very ripe bananas for baking is because of the flavour and softness. Ripe bananas have a stronger, deeper flavour. Using un-ripened bananas in a bread will you mean you taste very little banana. Another reason to use ripe bananas is so that you can mash them into a smooth mixture for the bread allowing all the ingredients to blend together.
When my bananas begin to look over ripe, I put them in the freezer. Then when I want to make banana bread, I pull them out and defrost them in the microwave. This makes the bananas already mushy so that I do not have to spend as much time breaking them down in the bowl.
I have used brown sugar in this recipe to create a richer (more caramelized) flavour that pairs well with cinnamon. Brown sugar also helps create the nice dark brown colour you can see in the pictures. Moreover, brown sugar helps create that crisp outside with a soft inside.
Gluten Free Flour and Xanthium Gum
When I bake Gluten Free products I always use Bob Red Mill's All-Purpose Flour. This is because it's the only gluten-free flour I have found that doesn't alter the taste of the finished baked good. When I bake gluten free I add about 1tsp of xanthium gum for every 1 cup of flour used. The xanthium gum is used to adjust the absorption of the flour. Because gluten free flour does not react the same as regular all-purpose flour (and as you know, baking is really about substances reacting with each other), adding the xanthium makes gluten free flour react similar to regular flour, meaning you will not have to change the amount used when substituting one flour over another.
Ground Cloves I have added cloves as optional in this recipe. Cloves are a spice that you will find paired with cinnamon in fall and Christmas recipes to help bring warmth. My grandma used to use cloves in her chocolate chip muffins meaning that cloves bring a nostalgic addition to anything I add them to. That being said, I add cloves, even when I don't need to. Therefore, this one is up to you whether you want to add more flavour into your banana bread.
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