I tried 7 different banana bread recipes and have concluded that this one is the best by far. It was quite interesting and fun. Here’s what I learned: Adding coconut flour gives the bread an odd consistency and adds nothing to the ultimate result. Using only baking soda and no baking powder, like many recipes call for, results in a denser and less appealing bread. 2 eggs instead of 3 also result in denser and slightly gummy bread. Eliminating the yogurt works, but the bread isn’t quite as tangy and moist.
In my wheat and gluten eating days I baked many a banana bread. I think that this wheat-free option rivals the best of them. I really don’t believe I’m being wishful thinking or forgetting.
Bananas have quite a bit of sugar and carbs in them. So it’s not really proper to call this “low carb” for that reason. But, I did want to let people know that this recipe is low carb compared to a recipe that uses wheat flour. I could have called it “lower carb” but I figured that anyone googling a low carb banana bread would search for “low carb” not “lower carb.”
And, a word on sweeteners – Hawaii has these great little bananas called “apple bananas” (see note at bottom of recipe). They are sweeter than the big, regular bananas. Since banana sweetness varies by type and ripeness, it is difficult to give an exact measurement of how much sweetener should be used. I suggest tasting a bit of the dough to judge for yourself.
Baking is much like a science experiment; there are so many variables and the smallest variation matters. It is much more unforgiving than, say, a chicken dish with sauce. Please let me know your experience with this recipe, I would love to hear any yummy variations that you create.
- 4 regular bananas or 8 apple bananas* (see notes), divided
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled a little
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup plain full-fat yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups finely ground almond flour (also called almond meal), preferably
- Honeyville because it's more finely ground and works best
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup xylitol or a combination of 1/4 cup xylitol and 1/4 cup erythritol** (see notes, taste a bit of the dough to check sweetness and add more to taste)
- Variations: Add these things, if using, as a last step before turning the batter out into the loaf pan.
- Add 1 1/4 cup toasted, coarsely chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (contain sugar so this will no longer be sugar-free)
- Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and preheat oven to 350°. Grease a regular 9" x 5" x 3" loaf pan with butter or coconut oil.
- In a large bowl, mash enough bananas to equal 1 1/2 cups (pour into a measuring cup to check and then add back into the bowl). You should need about 3 regular bananas or 6 apple bananas.
- Add butter, eggs, yogurt, and vanilla to bananas in bowl and stir to combine.
- Add almond flour, baking soda, baking powder, and xylitol/erythritol to bowl. With a large spatula, stir to combine well. No need to worry about over mixing since there is no gluten in the almond meal. Add walnuts and/or chocolate chips if using. Stir to combine.
- Pour batter into prepared pan. Slice remaining banana (1 regular or 2 apple bananas) into 1/4" thick rounds and lay, overlapping like shingles, on top of batter, creating 2 rows along the sides. Leave the middle open so that the bread will rise properly. This decorative step is optional.
- Bake for approximately 55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes.
- Run a sharp knife around the edges of the pan and gently invert bread to remove.
- * Apple bananas are a variety of banana commonly found in Hawaii. They are smaller and sweeter than a regular banana. Their name comes from the supposed idea that they have a slight apple flavor. It makes no sense to me.
- ** The jury is still out on which sweetener is better for you. So I'm using some of each to hedge my bets.