Almond pulp, that stuff left behind after making almond milk, is tricky stuff.
I was wrong.
You see, after making almond milk, the ground nut mixture becomes quite bland. But perhaps the more troublesome issue is the inability to get the mixture to crisp up under any circumstances (though I suspect a dehydrator might work). I’ve tried putting it under the broiler, baking it, heating it in a dry pan—nada. I often come up short when I’m going for a crispy cracker, achieving something more along the lines of a Larabar (but not a Larabar in a good way).
But after another batch of almond milk, I was ready to experiment again.
I don’t know about you, but I always have ripe bananas in the freezer. The man doesn’t eat fruit, so it typically ripens more quickly than I can consume it (particularly on these warmer days). I thought it might be fun to experiment with my own take on banana bread, but this time I was not going to add sugar.
An overly sweet palate is something most of us have—hard not to really, with the amount of sugar and sodium added to food (both processed and when you dine out). Plus, lately I’ve been indulging in one sweet treat or another after a meal (a hard routine to break when you have a mom who is a professional baker). It’s time to reel in my dietary choices and reset my palate. After all, it’s been 15 years since I could stomach a Venti hazelnut white chocolate mocha (which consists of 6 pumps of hazelnut + 6 pumps of white chocolate syrup in a 20 oz cup—sick, I know). I now drink coffee black, and so could you, if you start to practice.
But I digress.
My first attempt at my banana bread (which I made completely winging it by the way) was a total flop. I had hoped that the 2 eggs I included would act as enough of a binder for the almond pulp, oats, and ground flaxseed. I was wrong. That baby wasn’t going to bake properly, no matter if it was in the oven for 2 hours, under a broiler, or even frozen (hey, I was desperate).
“Well obviously you need to add some flour,” said the man.
I’ve learned not to let one go at a recipe let me down, so I went ahead and tried again. On round two I added some of Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Baking Flour to act as a real binder.
Round two was much more successful.
It took about 90 minutes to bake (I am at altitude after all), and it stayed in one piece. I’ll warn you, this recipe is not sweet at all—in fact the only sweetness you’ll derive is from the fruit, and perhaps a little from the addition of coconut oil (which you could add more if you’d like more of a coconut flavor). The man said he would prefer a sugary crust on the top, but that’s most likely due to the fact that he’s been spoiled from my mom. If you or your family is craving that sweetness, top the loaf with some demerara sugar (pre-baking) or drizzle some agave or spread some jam on it (post-baking).
The thing I love most about cooking and baking is the flexibility you have (no really!). Though I’ve given my measurements for the ingredients, I encourage you to go with your gut and just try something out. Instead of blueberries you can use chocolate chips. Or maybe try adding some of that shredded zucchini starting to mature in your garden!
And feel free to add that cup of sugar if you want, I won’t judge.
Finally, I’d like to note there is no butter in here. Sorry mom:
Almond Pulp Blueberry Banana Bread
4-5 ripe bananas
¼ cup coconut oil
1 Tablespoon almond butter
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Baking Flour)
¼cup ground flaxseed (good for omega-3s)
¾ cup almond pulp
¼ cup oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries (I used frozen, but fresh works too)
½ – 1 cup milk (I would’ve used almond milk if I had some handy)
Preheat the oven to 375°. Blend all of your wet ingredients, then add in your dry ingredients. If your mixture is too wet, add more flour and/or oats. If your mixture is too dry, start with a ½ cup of milk or even apple juice. You want your consistency to be smooth, but not overly thin. It should resemble a viscous batter.
Fold in your blueberries. Pour into a prepared loaf pan (I sprayed mine with a little nonstick). Bake for about an hour, but keep an eye on it and do a toothpick test to ensure the center is cooked all the way.
If you give this recipe a go, let me know what you think! I’ll probably be playing with it more as mood strikes after each almond milk-making adventure.