Hi everyone! I hope you all had a great Easter. I’ve finally plugged back in after my extended break. It did me the world of good to have some time out but I missed you guys! Thank you so much to everyone that’s emailed or left me feedback on the blog about recipes you’ve tried these past few weeks. You guys have made me smile so much!
To kickstart my return, I thought I’d share one of my all-time favourite baked treats…
For banana bread, you want to use very ripe bananas – the blacker the better. So, if you’ve got some bananas languishing in the fruit bowl, this recipe is a great way to use them up.
Since banana bread can be a bit plain looking, I like to dress up our loaves by adding toppings or extra ingredients into the batter. In this loaf, I’ve sprinkled a handful of pecans on top which impart a delicious flavour and crunchiness when baked.
In the centre, I’ve added some chopped dates for a touch of caramel-like sweetness. If you wish, you could sub some of the dates for chopped nuts in the batter. Pecans or walnuts work especially well.
Since Lil’ L is currently at primary school (where nuts are banned), I tend to leave the nuts out of the banana bread batter so that he can take a slice in his lunchbox. I simply slice off the pecan top and he eats it when he gets home from school :o)
Though I’ve given this loaf the traditional name of ‘banana bread’, it’s so sweet and moist that it’s definitely more cake-like than bread. I find it makes a lovely afternoon ‘pick me up’ with a cuppa. Kids love it too and it makes a great after-school treat.
Hands on time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 55 minutes Ready in: 2 hours
3 over ripe medium bananas, chopped
58ml / 2 fl oz / ¼ cup organic rapeseed (canola) oil (or other neutral flavoured oil)
80g / 2¾ oz / 1/3 cup unrefined caster sugar (or coconut sugar)
1½ tsp vanilla extract
210g / 7½ oz / 1½ cups fine wholemeal (whole wheat) or chapatti flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
3 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
90g / 3 oz / ½ cup dates, chopped
45g / 1½ oz / 1/3 cup pecans, chopped
Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan) / 350F / Gas 4. Line a 2lb loaf tin with non stick baking paper or use a non stick loaf liner.
Place the banana pieces, oil, sugar and vanilla extract in a food processor and whizz until smooth.
Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Make a well in the middle and pour in the banana mixture. Gently stir until thoroughly combined. Stir in the dates. Tip the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and level with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle the pecans on top and press them into the batter.
Place in the oven and bake for 55 minutes, or until a skewer inserted through the middle comes out clean. Leave in the tin for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack until completely cooled. The loaf will keep up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
Have a lovely weekend everyone ♥