For a very long time I was firmly in the camp of “if I’m going to bake it’s going to be with butter, sugar, flour and eggs.” I had zero interest in vegan, gluten-free, Paleo or healthy baking of any kind. Then I started managing a CrossFit gym and becoming engrained in the CrossFit culture and learned a lot about the Paleo diet. I also stopped and took note of how many people struggle with gluten intolerance. The two of those things combined has resulted in a growing interest in Paleo and gluten-free baking. So while I am experimenting with it, I can assure you that my stock of flour, butter and sugar aren’t going anywhere and I promise you that you will never find me making a “single serving, 90 calorie chocolate mug cake with protein frosting.” A girl has to draw the line somewhere. I do have an open mind about using different ingredients to bake but I have no interest in whipping up low-calorie desserts full of artificial sweeteners and protein powder.
Now that we’ve got all that cleared up, let me present you with my first Paleo baking complete success…banana bread! It took some trial and error but this recipe definitely nails it. Banana bread lends itself so well converting to Paleo for a few reasons. First, the bananas are already so naturally sweet that you don’t need to add much more to it. Second, banana bread is so versatile in general. I’ve gotten pretty crazy with modifications to regular banana bread in the past and it’s very forgiving. And third, the bananas add so much moistness to the bread and they’re a perfect complement to the more dense almond and coconut flours.
I used this recipe from Comfy Belly as my base and modified based on testing and intuition. My main changes included reducing the number of eggs to improve texture, adding some additional spices, switching coconut oil for the olive oil and a few other small things.
I loved the way this banana bread turned out and I am pretty confident that you could serve this to anyone – regardless of their dietary preferences or restrictions – and it would be a winner!
Perfect Paleo Banana Bread
(Recipe adapted from Comfy Belly)
3/4 teaspoon of baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup of almond flour
1/4 cup of coconut flour
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
2 large eggs
2 very ripe medium to large bananas, mashed
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 9 x 5 loaf pan by either oiling the dish or lining with parchment paper. (I’m a big fan of the parchment paper for easy removal from pan and easy clean up.)
In a medium bowl, whisk together baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and flours. In a separate small bowl, mix together coconut oil, eggs, bananas, maple syrup and vanilla until very well combined.
Add wet ingredients to the dry and gently mix together until combined. Do not overmix.
Pour batter in prepared pan and bake for 45-55 minutes or until set in the center and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan for about 15-20 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Yield: 1 loaf
Also delicious topped with peanut butter (which is not Paleo!) or any Paleo-friendly nut or seed butter of your choice!