Saturday, August 19, 2006

Rainy Day Comfort Food

One of the toughest parts of giving up gluten and dairy is that you have to give up lots of foods you’ve loved your whole life. Bread tops that list for many people. Banana bread is one thing that conjures up warm, comforting feelings. Today we had some crazy thunderstorms here, so it was a great time to whip up this yummy treat.

I decided to try a bread recipe from a cookbook I just picked up yesterday, Cooking Free, by Carol Fenster. So far, I’ve found it to be a great resource for cooking without gluten and casein (Fenster also features recipes that contain no eggs or sugar).

Both kids and adults alike in this household LOVED this bread. I was concerned about the bread having an aftertaste (some GFCF breads are known to have an aftertaste), but this was really good. Honestly, I think I like it even more than banana bread made with traditional all-purpose flour. It had a lightness that I enjoyed. And the kids said it was very moist, and it had a cakey texture.

Banana Bread
(Source: Cooking Free by Carol Fenster, Ph.D.)

2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
3 Tbs. canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups Flour Blend (see below)
½ tsp. xantham gum
½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. each ground cardamom and mace (optional)
1 ½ cups mashed ripe bananas
½ cups chopped nuts (optional)
½ cups raisins (optional)

Note: I did not use the cardamom, mace, nuts, or raisins when preparing this. My kids are finicky about spices, and my daughter does not like raisins; so, there you go.

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x5-inch nonstick loaf pan.

Cream sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla with electric mixer in medium mixer bowl. Mix together flours, xantham gum, salt, baking powder, and spices in a separate bowl. Add flour mixture to egg mixture, alternating with bananas. Stir in nuts and raisins (if using).

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool thoroughly on wire rack before cutting.

Flour Blend
(makes 4 ½ cups)

1 ½ cups sorghum flour
1 ½ cups cornstarch
1 cup tapioca flour
½ cup corn flour

Note: you can experiment with a few different ingredients on this. For example, potato starch or amaranth starch can be substitutes for the cornstarch, and almond flour, bean flour, or chestnut flour can be substitutes for the corn flour. This makes it edible for those out there who have corn allergies.