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Slow-cooker gluten-free banana bread: a lesson in failure

October 13, 2014

This recipe is also paleo. This will make…. about 6-8 servings? For every recipe that turns out just right, there are a dozen failures that, like red-headed step-children*, bloggers sweep under the rug. I’m chronicling this one because it was such a spectacular failure, and took literally twelve hours to come to its disastrous completion. And I still ate it.


it tasted of failure and burnt bananas

I wasted:

  • 3 large, ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup of coconut oil (melted)
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons milk (I used flax milk)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups of gf flour — I used:
    • ¼ cup brown rice flour
    • 1 and ¼ cup organic coconut flour
    • ½ cup gf brownie mix from bulk barn
      • take heed, I think this is why it all went sideways
  • ¾ tsp baking soda

In a large bowl, mash les bananes. The original recipe called for 4 small ones, but 3 large is all I had. Stir in to this the coconut oil, milk, eggs, and honey. Add the flour next, then the baking soda. I had to pop the mixture into the microwave halfway through because my coconut oil began to solidify.

I then lined the slow-cooker with parchment paper (take a sheet that’s a few inches longer than the width of the slow-cooker lid, then fit it in to the ceramic dish, cutting slits down the sides where needed to make the paper overlap, and cutting off excess so the lid can fit on. This will be nearly impossible to do correctly the first time). This is a tip I gained from the book that I got the recipe out of, it incited in me much cursing and flailing.

Plop the mixture into the slow-cooker – the original recipe in the book said it should be rather runny, like pancake batter, but I’m guessing the brownie mix thickened it up considerably; mine was like a muffin mixture. You are supposed to cook the bread on low for 2 hours.

I based this off of the original recipe from Paleo Slow-Cooking: Gluten Free Recipes Made Simple. Kudos to the editor of that volume, by the way, for cramming as many hot keywords as possible into that title. I’m not very interested in the paleo cult, as I don’t hold with the sort of superstitious nonsense its adherents spout in the comments of cookery sites, often at random, but I am very interested in gluten-free simplicity. Mom’s old slow-cooker is my new best friend, because it enables my super lazy lifestyle.

slow cooker

we are buds

You can tell I’m an important and hip recipe blogger because I use coconut oil like all the cool kids. If you’re terribly gauche, you can use canola oil like the other plebs, but I will have you know that coconut oil will make you skinny and give you vitamins and prevent hair loss and bring your cat back from the dead if only you will give it a chance. It also doesn’t taste all that much like coconut, so it doesn’t really bother me to include it in even savoury recipes.

Now, here is where I went wrong, in retrospect. The original recipe calls for 2 cups of almond flour instead of the Frankensteinian mish-mash I have up there, but do I look like the sort of rich person who stocks almond flour to you? Also, I’ve discovered I have a distressing allergy to almonds in large quantities, so I have a moral high ground from which to pooh-pooh, not just because I am cheap as dirt. This was a good way to use up some odds and ends of flours I’ve had kicking around in my flour tin, though, but I should have abstained from including the brownie mix. Ah, folly. This made the mixture entirely too thick and gummy, and prevented it from cooking all the way through.

As well, I might as well come clean that the original recipe called for ½ cup of honey but that shit don’t just grow on trees around here. Besides, there’s sweetener in the brownie mix, and bananas are very sweet on their own; using ½ cup of honey seems like overkill, both for my tastebuds and my grocery budget.

Okay fine, the original recipe also called for 1 tsp of baking soda, but again, brownie mix, so I reduced it a bit. This was another bad idea in retrospect.

After the 2-hour limit, the mix wasn’t so much as solidified on the top; as it was 11pm, I went to bed. The next morning, at about 9:30, the top was done… but when I cut into it, it was apparent that a thin crust of baked bread covered the greater masses of the uncooked inside. So I stuck it in the oven for 35 minutes at 350, cutting it up into wedges so that more surface area would be able to cook

Unfortunately, that just created more areas of crust; the inside is still gooey and the outside is burning. I have to go to a social engagement so I have given up.

Things I have learned:

  • don’t sub in a brownie pre-mix for a straight flour
  • don’t try to bake cakes in your crock pot

That said, I sliced it up thin and toasted it in my toaster oven because I couldn’t stand to throw it out. That was a lot of ingredients! Toasting it kinda helped, but just made it more burned; the key is to microwave it. The microwave zaps it and cooks it up nice, and so it doesn’t taste too awful with some butter spread over it. That said, do not be me. Do not alter a recipe so it is unedible, and then try to eat it because you are such a cheapskate. I experienced this so you could learn with me.


*Red-headed step-children is a phrase commonly used to denote unwanted things, harking back to the days in merrie olde England when the bastard children of the lord of the household were picked on and marginalized, not being the heirs to whatever title by dint of the fact that their mothers were usually lower-class women like the milkmaid or the cook’s apprentice. I theorize these kids were stereotyped with red hair because “underclass” was synonymous with “Scottish/Irish” back in those days, so really it’s an old-timey racist euphemism and I think I’m gonna scrap it from my vocab from here on out because that doesn’t sit well with me.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Terry permalink
    February 27, 2015 7:32 am

    Yes, please do get rid of the stereotypical adjective of certain color hair and parentage that is not of that person’s fault. Haven’t we moved past judging people by their appearance yet?


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