Monday, December 22, 2014

Celebration Bread/Holiday Banana Bread Fruitcake (Gluten free, peanut free, dairy free option)

Christmas, by far, was always my dad's favorite time of the year.  My dad also had a innate ability to irritate people throughout the year with his very Aspergerian type of personality.  So, inevitably, every year my dad would get a fruitcake from someone.  Unfortunately for them, my dad not only didn't get the joke, but also was uber thrilled to receive the stigmatized gift *laugh*.

My father came from a Swedish family that loved fruitcake and all it stood for.  I remember a few times during my childhood when my mom would make a fruitcake for the holidays for my dad.  He'd eat it alone.  I would always try a bite, thinking that maybe this time I would be able to choke down the noxiously sweet cake with it's nuclear colored fruit, but I just could never do it.

As I've gotten older and my tastes have changed, fruitcake has intrigued me, but I just look at the nuclear colored fruit and run the other way as fast as I can.  And honestly, I'm not big on liquor flavored pastries or chocolates.  But still, the want to try something fruitcake-like persisted.

So, missing my dad a lot this time of year, I came up with this recipe the other night when making, of all things, banana bread.  And it actually came out really good!  It's got fruity notes to it.  And chocolate (which how can you go wrong by adding chocolate chips to pretty much anything).  But still, the bread tastes enough like banana bread that you aren't going to think that you are eating too sweet fruitcake.

Serve this up with a maraschino cherry on top with a dollop of cream cheese (dairy free cream cheese works too) and this just shouts "Holiday Party"!  It really has made me feel a bit more festive (although the eggnog I tend to drink with it might be helping a bit *laugh*).

Quick note on substitutions.  I made this with Earth Balance sticks instead of the butter I normally use for my husband and the bread came out just fine.  Also, if avoiding food dyes (which I can understand), skip the maraschino cherries and go for 1/4 cup of dried cherries instead (be sure they are peanut free if you decide to go that route).  


Celebration Bread/Holiday Banana Bread Fruit Cake (Gluten free, peanut free, dairy free option)

  • 1/3 Cup Brown Rice Flour
  • 1/3 Cup Almond Meal (I use Honeyville)
  • 1/3 Cup Sorghum Flour
  • 1/3 Cup Tapioca Starch
  • 1/2 tsp. Xanthum Gum
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder 
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, or butter substitute, softened
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 medium to 3 medium bananas, crushed (3 lends a denser end result, but still tasty)
  • 1/2 a Seedless Navel Orange, peeled, segmented and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup Blue Diamond plain almonds, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped maraschino cherries
  • 1/2 cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees (350 degrees if you are using a glass or cast iron pan).  Grease and place a parchment sling in a 9x5 loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients and use a whisk to combine them well. 
  3. In the mixing bowl of your stand mixer cream together the butter (or butter substitute) and sugar until light and fluffy.  Mix in eggs and bananas and beat until everything is combined.  
  4. Dump the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and mix well on medium speed until everything is combined.  Mix in on low speed the orange, almonds, cherries and chocolate chips until JUST combined (don't overmix or you'll break up your oranges and cherries too much).
  5. Turn batter into prepared loaf pan.  Bake about 50 minutes to one hour (it really depends on the moisture content of your bananas how long it'll take...usually I'm using a couple really over ripe bananas, so it takes about an hour for me), or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the bread comes out clean.  
  6. Let loaf sit in pan for 10 minutes and then take edges of parchment sling and remove bread to a tea towel or cooling rack (which I can never find room to set up mine, so I go with the tea towel option) to cool. Let cool to at least luke warm before attempting to cut or you might end up with a crumbly mess.
Serve with cream cheese or cream cheese alternative for a special treat.

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