It’s taken me years to try this recipe (my sis-in-law gave it to me probably eight years ago and even posted it on her recipe blog she keeps up with her sisters). And I’ll freely admit the only reason I gave it a go now (what can I say, bananas and carrots don’t really call to me as epic combination of the year) is because during our recent move, this recipe literally fell out of my recipe binder and into my hands as I was unpacking, and in light of the fact that the only other things to fall randomly out of boxes were dead spiders and dirty little boy socks that never seem to make it into the laundry basket but somehow found their way into moving boxes, I realized it could only be fate and decided to live on the edge a little and finally try it, especially since I woke up to three very nasty-in-a-good-banana-bread-way bananas staring me in the face.
I couldn’t leave well enough alone, of course. I wanted to healthify it just a tad so I cut the oil back from 3/4 cup to 1/3 cup (and used coconut oil but you could certainly stick with vegetable oil), added a bit of unsweetened applesauce to help it stay moist, cut the sugar in half and tweaked a few other minor things.
What I ended up with is a lightly sweet banana bread reminiscent of a tender, luxurious carrot cake without all the guilt (and without any frosting, of course, but as I type this out loud, I’m kind of thinking that a smidgeon of decadent cream cheese frosting on this banana carrot bread would not be a bad thing, not a bad thing at all).
I keep thinking I don’t really need any other banana bread recipes (certainly not after my favorite buttermilk version and this crazy good cream cheese banana bread) but perhaps the lesson learned here is that you really can’t have too many variations of banana bread. And certainly this banana carrot version should be right at the top of the banana bread recipe you try next. The fact that carrots play a leading role (equal parts banana and carrots!) is just the sort of justification I need to brag to everyone within shouting distance (which if you want to know, is only Maggie the dog and Cam the toddler right now) that I just ate vegetables in the dreamiest form possible.
P.S: I think I might need to enter a Parentheses Anonymous support group. I just can’t stop. Sorry.
Banana Carrot Bread
- 2 cups lightly measured flour (10 ounces) – see note
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 very ripe medium bananas)
- 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar (light or dark)
- 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted (or vegetable oil)
- 1/4 cup no-sugar added applesauce
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup finely grated carrots (no need to peel beforehand)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 9X5-inch loaf pan with a rectangle of parchment. Grease the bottom and sides really well with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- In a medium bowl or in a large liquid measure, whisk together the bananas, brown sugar, oil, applesauce, eggs and vanilla.
- Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients along with the carrots. Fold the ingredients together with a rubber spatula until just combined. Don’t overmix!
- Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes until a knife or toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
- Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
Try to use the ripest bananas (brown spots are good!) as possible – it will help the natural sweetness of the bread. Also, don’t overflour! If you have a scale, use it to get the 10 ounces, if not, make sure the flour is lightly measured into the cup before leveling off. Too much flour packed into the measuring cup and the bread will be dry.
Also, this bread can be baked as muffins – check them after about 15-16 minutes (and you may need to grease the muffin liners since I reduced the oil in the recipe).
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Recipe Source: adapted from a recipe my sister-in-law, Erin posted on The Sisters Cafe years ago (reduced the oil by 2/3, added applesauce, reduced the sugar by half, added vanilla, weighed the flour)