When you’re looking for a teatime treat that hits the spot while stealthily providing some amount of nutrients, this apple banana bread could be just what the doctor didn’t technically order. Made with oats, flax seed, and two kinds of fruit, it is a tasty snack you could eat at breakfast time, tea time—really any time!
Breakfast of Champions
It’s always nice to start your morning with something delicious that also has a bit of fiber to fuel you through the day. Oatmeal is a great way to do that, and while there are many excellent variations to keep oatmeal interesting, sometimes I want to start my day with a baked good.
Scones, muffins, doughnuts, and other breakfast pastries are delicious and push the sugary buttons that make my brain happy, though they don’t necessarily set me up to feel great the rest of the day.
Oat flour provides a magic sort of middle ground where the nutrients of oatmeal meet the squishy soft happiness of a baked good. When you toss in some fruits, add flax seed for extra fiber, and maybe even throw in some walnuts for good measure (if you like nuts in your banana bread), you’ve got yourself a breakfast of champions that both your brain and your body will feel good about!
Recipe Testing: A Journey
During the course of recipe testing, this bread accidentally became vegan. I have a go-to recipe for banana bread and another for apple bread, so to begin, I thought I’d more or less fuse the two and see what happened.
The first round had great flavor, but the texture was dense and gummy. It was hard to tell whether it was just underbaked (the bread probably needed another ten minutes or so in the oven, but I didn’t want to burn the top and also wanted to go to bed) or whether there was way too much moisture.
In the second round, I decided to reduce the apple sauce by a third and leave out one banana. What I didn’t decide to do was run out of eggs. Once again, though, it was getting late and I was in no mood to run to the grocery store for just two eggs, so I swapped in a flax seed “egg” and crossed my fingers.
It wasn’t until I had popped it in the oven and was typing up notes for recipe adjustments that I realized I had completely forgotten to add the milk.
The result was certainly lighter than the first attempt, and the flavor was still very nice, though the structural integrity of the bread may not be what one would call sound. It is still quite moist, with an easily crumbly texture.
Even though it is a fairly fall-apart-y bread, I would happily serve it to friends for tea. And for sure I would (and did) eat it for breakfast!
Why Oat Flour?
The plan for this bread was always to make it gluten-free. Whether you avoid gluten yourself, have friends with dietary restrictions, or are just looking to add a little more fiber to your diet, it can be really nice to have some tasty alternative-flour-based recipes in your arsenal.
Apple, oat, and cinnamon are all-natural flavor pairings. In my mind, oat flour in an apple-based recipe is a no-brainer. Bananas and oats are a similarly delicious combo, so we used that as the jumping-off point.
Alternative flours can sometimes be expensive or hard to find, depending on where you live. Oat flour is a breeze to make at home if you have a blender or food processor. It literally is just finely ground oats.
Because oat flour needs a little more moisture than wheat-based flour, applesauce is a lovely compliment—not only are the flavors classic together, but the applesauce provides that needed extra boost of moisture.
Oat flour is sometimes used as a 1:1 substitute for all-purpose flour, so if oat flour is not your thing, feel free to use regular or whole wheat flour in this recipe, or your favorite 1:1 gluten-free flour substitute instead.
I enjoy the mild oat flavor paired with the apple and banana, but as always, you can make this your own by experimenting with flours, sweeteners, and add-ins! (Chocolate chip apple banana bread, anyone…? Or tea-soaked raisins, perhaps?)
For something that presents a little sweeter (without any actual added sugars), a tea-like Caramel Almond black tea, with notes of hints of caramelized vanilla bean and sweet toasted nuts, would be a fabulous and nuanced compliment to the flavors in the bread.
Or something simple, sturdy, and comforting, like House Blend black tea—a solid base of Assam and Ceylon teas, softened with vanilla essence and sprinkled with safflower and blue malva flowers—available in both caffeinated and decaf!
Brew yourself a cup of your favorite blend, serve it alongside a hefty slice of apple banana bread, and start your day with a smile!
Apple Banana Bread Recipe
- 2 cups oat flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 flax eggs* (or two eggs)
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup milk
- 2/3 cup applesauce
- 1 apple, diced
- 2 ripe bananas, mashed
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional
*2 Tablespoons flax seed mixed with 6 Tablespoons water, stir to combine and let set 10-15 minutes, or until water is absorbed and mixture is set
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grease and flour loaf pan. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, measure oat flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Whisk to combine. Make a well in the center and set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine mashed banana, flax egg, oil, apple sauce, and diced apple. Stir until well combined.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake 55 minutes to an hour, or until knife inserted into center of bread comes out clean.
Let cool several minutes in pan, then remove to baking rack to finish cooling.*
Serve with your favorite Plum Deluxe tea and enjoy!
*If you like a slight crunch to the top of your bread, follow this method. For a softer texture, wrap the bread in saran wrap while it’s still warm but not hot, and let sit overnight.