Monday, December 20, 2004

Banana Nut Squares

Three over-freckled bananas were making everything in the kitchen smell like banana. Oh, it bugs me to toss perfectly good, albeit overripe, fruit down the In-Sink-Erator. So while I had my pan and recipe still handy from making Butternut Squash Squares, I thought I'd use them for my bruising bananas. The ingredients are similar. Replacement of squash with banana and omission of spices were the biggest changes.


1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tbsp. wheat germ (raw or toasted)
1 tbsp. wheat bran
2 tbsp. soy flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup mashed bananas
3 tbsp. vegetable oil (e.g. peanut oil)
1/4 cup honey
3 tbsp. brown rice syrup (or honey)
1/2 cup buttermilk or plain non-fat yogurt
Dash cider vinegar
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Makes 16 squares

Note: Each square contains:
Protein3.5 g
Carbohydrate19.4 g
Fiber2.1 g
Fat 5.8 g

1 Preheat oven to 350°F.

2 Rub 1 tsp. vegetable oil on the insides of an 8 by 8 inch cake pan.

Note: Insulated cookie sheets and cake pans were a boon to baking. The small pocket of air trapped between two closely-spaced sheets of aluminum slows heat transfer, preventing edge or bottom burning and allowing batters to rise more evenly, without the characteristic hump in the middle. You can simulate an insulated pan by nesting two inexpensive pans of the same size. I've done that here with two 8 by 8 inch pans.

3 Combine the mashed bananas, oil, honey, rice syrup, buttermilk, vinegar, and vanilla extract. Whisk or beat vigorously.

Note: You'll need either two medium or three small bananas. If after mashing and measuring them you come up short, you can substitute plain apple sauce to make up the difference.

4 Whisk the egg and egg white separately from the banana batter.

Note: Egg proteins coagulate or curdle in the presence of acids. The liquid ingredients in this recipe are acidic enough to cause coagulation. This can be reduced if eggs are added just before baking.

5 Stir together the first 7 ingredients (dry ingredients).

Note: Sifting is an effective way to mix and aerate dry ingredients. However, the particulate matter in this combination will make sifting difficult, so be sure to mix these dry ingredients thoroughly, breaking up and distributing any chunks of baking powder or baking soda.

Unless your flour uses the word "pastry" or "soft", it is probably made from a hard or winter wheat that contains a little more protein. This extra protein will absorb more water and produce more gluten, resulting in a denser, less voluminous product than if you used pastry flour.

6 Measure nuts and chop if necessary.

7 Add about 2 tbsp. of the liquid batter to the whisked eggs and beat. Slowly pour the beaten eggs back into the liquid batter, whisking the batter as you pour.

8 Add dry ingredients to wet. Fold in slowly until just combined and no or very few dry lumps remain. Add chopped nuts as you're folding. Pour into prepared 8 by 8 inch pan. Bake at 350°F. for approximately 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

9 Cool thoroughly (1 to 2 hours) in the pan before cutting into squares. (The squares will be very moist and need this time to set.) They may be eaten then or stored in the freezer.



Douglas said...

I was wondering if you think this would work with quinoa flour for the whole wheat pastry flour and flax seed oil in place of the vegetable oil?

I am trying to come up with a healthy protein bar and I think this would be awesome if I could get it to work....

Bix said...

I would definitely try it. You might have a different outcome replacing the whole wheat flour - you won't have as much of its gluten structure to hold it together. But I've never tried it. I'm curious now.

The flax seed oil will work fine. But if you're looking for those omega-3s in flax, they degrade when exposed to heat. Not all though.