I recently had dates on hand for a cookie recipe that I never made. I lost track of the recipe, so I thought I'd experiment with my sister-in-law's tried-and-true banana bread. Note that I decided to try this while the kids were out at the park with their dad, so they wouldn't see me chopping dates and skipping the white sugar. Genius, I know.
I was afraid the bread wouldn't be sweet enough with just the dates, so I did add in a little honey. I also decided to use butter instead of Crisco, because that seems healthier. I used up some whole wheat flour. I tossed in some chocolate chips as a little treat since we we're being good by using dates. I would have added chopped walnuts, but I didn't have any on hand. I had pecans in the pantry, but Penny -- who had returned from the park, never the wiser about the dates -- vetoed the pecans.
Guess what? Lucy and Penny gobbled up this bread and begged for seconds. Lucy commented on liking the texture better. This bread is indeed more moist than the original we'd been making for years. (Ssssh, don't tell Aunt Jennie.) Penny commented on the chocolate chips, which was not at all surprising. Thing is this bread would be super yummy -- and truly no sugar -- without the chips and that's how I plan to make it next time.
No Sugar Banana Bread
2 cups flour (I used up the remaining 1 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour I had; the rest was all purpose flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup packed dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup butter, melted
Honey, just shy of 1/4 cup
1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 or 3)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup (or less) chocolate chips (optional)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350.
Stir together the first four dry ingredients and set aside.
In large bowl, mix dates and melted butter on medium to medium high speed. Add the honey, eggs, bananas and lemon juice--mix until combined and the dates are no longer lumpy. Sift in dry ingredients, little by little.
Pour mixture into greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from pan.