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Honey Whole Wheat Beer Bread

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Sheesh, I know what you guys are thinking. That with all the alcohol-laden recipes I’ve been posting lately, I must be a secret raging alcoholic! Well, I promise I’m not.  While I will take a sip once in a while, I generally dislike it on several levels. Besides the taste, and abstaining for scriptural reasons like not wanting to cause a brother to sin against their conscience (1 Corinthians 8:9-13), I’ve seen firsthand the effect it can have on a person’s health and on a family if abused, and I steer clear of alcohol so that I don’t continue that legacy.

However, while I have a personal distaste for it in its pure state, I do have quite a fondness for adding it to my baked goods. A little bit can really intensify the flavor in a recipe, and the baking (and cooking) process eliminates the alcohol content so that it will not have an intoxicating effect on your body.  Win-win!

Because of my fondness for baking with it, you really might think I had an alcohol problem if you took a look in my cupboard! I’ve got rum, bourbon, and brandy upstairs (great for so many things, including a fantastic fruit cake recipe I’ll be sharing come October–it takes two months to make), and I keep a few beers in the basement. Beer is my least favorite alcohol, but I make sure I always have a few on hand because one of my favorite breads happens to be beer bread. Go figure.

Beer creates magic when you put it in a quick bread, supplanting a yeasty flavor that quick breads lack, and it’s just so delicious! I’m very excited about my newest variation on beer bread (I can not believe this is my fourth beer bread post! Stop the madness!) because it is not only delicious, but healthy!

My favorite beer bread has white flour, butter, and white sugar in it, but I wanted something more wholesome this time so I used white whole wheat flour, canola oil, and honey. I was so delighted when I sliced into this loaf and took my first bite! I couldn’t believe how soft, tender and moist it was, and the flavor was incredible. Very yeasty, with a mild sweetness.  I think that honey and beer were meant to come together in bread!

You may remember the leftover Guiness I was going to throw out because I’d already made cupcakes and brownies and couldn’t take it any more. I’m so glad I decided to use the last of it to make this bread because it added a much more intense yeasty flavor to the bread than what I usually get from the lighter colored beers I use and it was quite lovely! But if you have a lighter beer, don’t make a special trip to the store, it will work just fine here and your bread will be much lighter in color (if you use white whole wheat flour like I did), and you might fool healthy-phobic people into thinking it’s white bread.

And lest you think that the beer-haters in your family won’t dig this, just remember I hate beer, and it literally makes my husband gag to even smell it.  (Remember when he threw up after I served him vodka sauce on his spaghetti?  Yeah, alcohol and him do not mix!)  But we both love this bread.  I think you will too.

Honey Whole Wheat Beer Bread

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

3 cups white whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder, such as Rumford
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
¼ cup canola oil
1/3 cup honey
12 oz. (1 1/2 cups) beer

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter or oil a loaf pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a smaller bowl, beat the egg until uniform in color, then whisk in the oil, honey, and beer. Pour into the larger bowl and whisk well to combine. Pour into prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake for 50-55 minutes, or until golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool for at least 15 minutes prior to cutting. Wrap leftovers in plastic wrap or keep in a Ziploc bag with the air pressed out. This bread freezes well too, just slice it before you freeze it and you can take it out slice by slice, as you need it.

A Veronica’s Cornucopia Original

Honey Banana Peanut Butter Muffins

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My Dad used to make what I thought was one of the most delicious meals ever out of torn Ezekiel bread pieces, a sliced banana, and natural peanut butter all mixed up in a bowl together and drizzled with honey.  Sweets were a rarity in our home so when he let me try this, I was thrilled because I felt like I was eating dessert.  This was how I was introduced to the trifecta of banana, peanut butter and honey and I’ve been a fan ever since.

I first made these muffins in miniature form almost a year ago when I had a single overripe banana and wanted to use it in something before it started growing white stuff.  (I’ll include that recipe too for those interested.)  It was only natural for me to reach for the peanut butter and honey, and I was really pleased with the result.  I’ve made many subsequent batches, adapting it on a larger scale to make the standard dozen since the small batch doesn’t last long enough to suit us.

This is a straightforward recipe, no fancy ingredients, naturally sweetened, and it’s all mashed and mixed together in one bowl using a single fork.  The result is a moist and flavorful muffin with the perfect balance of banana, peanut butter and honey.

By the way, these healthy, low-sugar muffins are dog tested and approved!  My Jessie is such a treat snob that when she approves something I’ve made, you can bet your pup will most likely dig it too.  For doggies, you can bake them up in mini-muffin tins, depending on the dog’s size.  Or just share yours, which is what I like to do.  That way I feel justified when I reach for a second one, since I didn’t eat all of the first.  :)

Honey Banana Peanut Butter Muffins

Printable Recipe
Printable Recipe with picture

3 medium overripe bananas
¾ cup peanut butter
¼ cup honey
½ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 ¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons chopped nuts (for topping)

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with papers or spray with oil.

Peel bananas and place in a large mixing bowl. Mash with a fork (you should have about 1 ¼ cups of mashed banana), then mix in the peanut butter with your fork until well blended. Next mix in the honey and once the mixture is uniform in color, stir in the milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. Measure in the flour and baking soda, and stir with your fork just until mixed. The batter will be thick but try not to overwork it to get it mixed. It’s OK if a few lumps remain. Using an ice cream scoop, divide batter between muffin cups, filling 3/4 full. Sprinkle nuts in the middle of each muffin (nuts will spread out as the muffins bake). Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean, and remove to cooling rack. Leave in tin for five minutes, then remove to cool completely.

Makes 12 muffins

Per muffin: 196 calories; 9 g fat; 26 g carbohydrates; 2.4 g fiber; 6 g protein; 5 Points Plus

Secret Recipe Club

Honey Banana Peanut Butter Bites


Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 medium overripe banana
¼ cup chunky peanut butter
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
¼ cup buttermilk
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 12 mini muffin cups.

Mash the banana in a medium bowl an stir in the peanut butter, honey, and buttermilk. Stir in the remaining ingredients just until moistened. Divide between muffin cups, filling about 3/4 full. Bake for 15 minutes (or until done) and remove to cooling rack. Leave in tin for five minutes, then remove to cool completely.

Makes 12 mini muffins.

Nutrition Info (per muffin): 66 calories; 3 g fat; 84 mg sodium; 77 mg potassium; 9 carb; 1 g fiber; 2 g protein; 2 Points Plus

Recipes by Veronica Miller

**Veronica’s note: to make these into vegan muffins, replace the honey with agave nectar, the buttermilk with non-dairy milk, and the baking soda with baking powder.  I have done this and they are equally delicious, though I do prefer the honey flavor with banana and peanut butter.**

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