Banana Bread with Grapenuts


Lots of bananas that suddenly turned very ripe in the late, unexpected, September heat. A big box of Grape-Nuts still to be used. Walnuts at a better price than they have been for years.

Time for Banana Grape-Nuts bread.

This is a recipe I started making years ago, with just a few tweaks here and there. Adding the lemon juice to the bananas as they are mashed keeps them from browning quite as much and counters, just a little, the overall sweetness of the bread.

Back when I rarely had whole wheat flour on hand, the addition of Grape-Nuts provided just a little more body and texture than more standard recipes. The nice thing about this cereal is that it is still one of the few that does not have added sugar.

As with most of these kinds of bread, it slices much better on the second day, an advantage if you are making it for a brunch or coffee and have lots of other last minute kitchen work to do.

Finally–it is wonderful without any kind of spread–though a little cream cheese or butter on each slice is certainly acceptable!

While the original recipe suggested using one large loaf pan, I have always had better results by making this in smaller pans–a little more of the caramel-y crust and less likelihood that the outside will dry out before the center is completely baked. It also works nicely in small 3 X 6 pans for Christmas or other gift giving occasions.

Banana Grapenuts Bread
1 c mashed ripe banana
1 1/2 t lemon juice
1 1/2 c Grape-Nuts cereal (generic brands work just as well too)
3/4 c sugar
1/4 c canola oil
2 eggs
1/3 c dry milk powder (see NOTE)
2/3 c water (see NOTE)
1 3/4 c unbleached flour
2 1/2 t baking powder
2 t cinnamon
3/4 c coarsely chopped walnuts

1.  Mash the bananas and stir in the lemon juice.

2.  Beat the bananas, Grape-Nuts, sugar, oil, eggs, milk (dry milk and water) together and allow to sit for at least 20 minutes.

3.  Sift together and gently fold in the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon, mixing only enough to incorporate all the flour mixture.

4.  Fold in the nuts and turn the batter into two well oiled 8 1/2″ X 4 1/2″ pans (OR one 9 X 5 and one 8 1/2 X 4 1/2, if those are the only ones you have–like me!)  


5.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes,  until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

 NOTE:  This can be made with 2/3 cup milk or plain yogurt instead of the dry milk and water.

About the nuts:

I have written before about the moljahete that I have been blessed with–if you haven’t heard the term, this is a large mortar and pestle made out of rock that makes wonderful guacamole. However, I have learned that, because I don’t use mine for a very garlicky salsa, it also provides a very quick way to coarsely chop walnuts…as you can see here:

And one more thing, another OOOOPS moment:

I had taken the photos of the walnuts being crushed in the moljahete and the batter in the pans, so into the oven went the two loaves. As I began to clear away the bowl, spatulas, etc., I realized there were two eggs laying on the counter. 

Two eggs that were supposed to have been in the batter. I quickly pulled the pans out of the oven, thankfully before they had really started to heat up, and turned the batter back into the bowl. Remember the instructions to “gently” fold in the flour? These breads come out best when the batter is handled lightly, but now I had no choice. There was going to have to be more mixing in order to get those eggs fully incorporated.

All turned out well, as I should have expected. While the preferred method is still the one listed in the recipe above, most things we make are more forgiving than we sometimes think. In this instance, it was impossible to tell that there had been an added step in the making of the bread!

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