I'm a huge fan of Cooking Light, I've been subscribing to the magazine since 1997. I can generally count on the recipes to be tasty and fairly simple to make. I also like that they provide the nutritional information which makes it much easier when you are counting calories to keep your meals reasonable without going overboard. When I saw the Cooking Light Five Star Recipes at Costco, I was immediately drawn to it. It is filled with the best of the best Cooking Light recipes, lots of pictures - and over 500 recipes all in one book.
Over the weekend I realized I had some rather sad looking over-ripe bananas so I went searching for a different banana bread to try out on my family. The Orange Banana-Nut Bread looked really good and since I had all the ingredients on hand, I went to work. The only changes I made to the recipe was to leave out the nuts since I'm not a big fan of them in breads and I used Penzey's Orange Peel instead of fresh since I didn't have any oranges on hand. I only used about a half tablespoon of the orange peel since it was dried and the recommendation was to use 1/3 of what the recipe calls for when substituting.
As I was making the bread, the addition of the orange peel and the orange juice had me intrigued because the scent was rather strong. Not that the scent was a bad thing at all, I just wasn't sure if the orange flavor would overpower the natural goodness of banana bread as we typically enjoy it. It baked up beautifully in about 50 minutes. It was difficult allowing it to cool before cutting into it, but we managed to wait a little while. My oldest came wandering in saying that something smelled so good it was making him hungry. We all sampled the bread and found it to be nice and moist with just the faintest hint of orange to it. It was still moist and delicious for breakfast the next morning, I am sure it would freeze well as other quickbreads do so, you could make a double batch and save one for later. I think I'll be making this version again since it was lighter which means I can enjoy it without feeling like I am over-indulging.
I am anxious to try more recipes from this new cookbook. I know I can trust Cooking Light to provide some fantastic light and healthy recipes that my family will enjoy.
Since this bread has delicious bananas as well as orange juice in it, I'm going to share it with Sweetnick's ARF 5-a-day round-up of recipes using fruits and vegetables. Every Tuesday the round-up includes fantastic recipes from the blogging world. Be sure to go and check them out!
Orange Banana-Nut bread
Source: Cooking Light, Five Star Recipes (2008)
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
1 1/2 tablespoons grated orange rind (I substituted 1/2 tablespoon of Penzey's Orange Peel)
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (I omitted the nuts as a personal preference)
Preheat oven to 350º.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk.
Place sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana, rind, and juice; beat until blended. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist. Stir in walnuts; spoon batter into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.
If you enjoy quickbreads and muffins, you may want to take a look at these recipes:
Lemony Muffins from Stephanie's Kitchen
Mini Banana Crumb Muffins from Genesis of a Cook
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread from Joy the Baker