Blueberry Swirl Banana Bread

In an effort to lose a couple of pounds before his marathon in a few weeks, Shane’s taken to eating bananas for dessert quite often instead of cookies, brownies, ice cream, or whatever else I’ve baked that week. I never thought I’d see the day! He doesn’t really eat fruits or veggies period, nevermind as a dessert replacement, but I guess this marathon training is serious business :)

Blueberry Swirl Banana Bread

I suppose I’ve been a little overeager in buying bananas for him though, because it seems that I am winding up with a few brown ones on the counter at the end of every week. And while I could freeze them, it’s likely they’ll just get forgotten about in the mess that is our freezer, so I’ve been baking. A lot. Maybe you’ve noticed a few more banana baked goods than usual showing up around here lately? I’ve been trying to space them out, but in just the past few weeks we’ve had banana bread nutella whoopie pies and peanut butter and banana nutella swirl muffins. Apparently I also really like bananas and Nutella together…

Blueberry Swirl Banana Bread

But today we’re switching things up. After buying a jar of wild blueberry preserves to make mini pb & j pies, I was eager to find another use for it, particularly one that would also allow me to clear the bananas off the counter. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that fruit flies love bananas, and though I’m not quite sure it’s warm enough yet for them to make an appearance, I’m not taking any chances!

So, I took a banana bread recipe from Cooking Light, and pretty heavily adapted it to not only make it even healthier, but also to include a blueberry swirl running through the center. The bread is made with half whole wheat flour as well as nonfat Greek yogurt, and yes butter – but only 4 tablespoons for the whole loaf, so not too bad. I reduced the sugar as well since the preserves are fairly sweet. The result was a really moist and tender loaf with a bright purple swirl – pretty and delicious! You could probably justify this for breakfast if you wanted, but it’s also a great afternoon snack. Banana overflow problem solved, for at least another few days :)

Blueberry Swirl Banana Bread

Blueberry Swirl Banana Bread
heavily adapted from Cooking Light, September 2003

1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (from about 3 bananas)
1/3 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup wild blueberry preserves

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, the baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and butter on medium speed until well combined, about 1-2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the bananas, yogurt and vanilla until completely combined. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients, beating just until the batter comes together (it will be thick).

Transfer half of the batter to the prepared pan, spreading into an even layer. Gently warm the preserves slightly (either in a small saucepan or in the microwave). This makes them easier to spread. Pour on top of the batter in the pan, spreading into an even layer. Add the remaining half of the banana bread batter on top of the preserves (be sure to cover completely).

Bake for about 1 hour, or until a thin knife inserted in the center comes out clean. You may want to keep an eye on the bread in the last 15 minutes, I wound up tenting mine with foil to prevent the top from browning too much. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow the bread to cool for 10 minutes, then turn it out of the pan and cool completely on the rack.