This Healthy Banana Bread with Walnuts is adapted from the Magnolia Table Cookbook recipe "After School Banana Bread" as part of the Sweet Cayenne Cookbook Club.
Course: Breakfast, Snack
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Author: Whitney Reist | Sweet Cayenne
Cooking spray and parchment paper for the pan
4tablespoonsof vegan butter (such as Earth Balance)
5mediumvery ripe bananas
½cupdark brown sugar
½teaspoonrum flavoring (optional)
1 ½teaspoonsvanilla extract
2largeeggs, lightly beaten
1 ¾cupswhite whole wheat flour
½cupwalnuts, lightly toasted and chopped (optional)
2tablespoonsunbleached cane sugar
Preheat oven to 350℉. Spray an 8x8-inch pan with cooking spray and line it with parchment paper so that there is a 1-inch overhang on both ends. Set aside.
Place the walnuts on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 7-8 minutes until fragrant. Set aside to cool.
Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butter. Once it is melted, add the bananas. Sautee the bananas for 5 minutes, reducing heat as necessary and breaking them up into small chunks with the back of a wooden spoon. Add the brown sugar and stir until melted and the mixture is dark and thick, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the rum extract (if using) and the vanilla. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl to cool slightly.
While the banana mixture is cooling, chop the walnuts.
Add the eggs and applesauce to the banana mixture and whisk to combine. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt, whisking lightly until almost combined. Use a rubber spatula to fold in walnuts (if using), scraping the sides of bowl and folding in any residual flour. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar on top, covering the whole surface evenly.
Bake for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool a bit on a wire rack. Serve warm.
When the bread is completely cool, cover with foil and store at room temperature for up to 2 days. Longer storage will require refrigeration, which will soften the crunchy sugar topping.