I know, I know. Pause. I can just see you rolling your eyes at me right now, but I just can’t help it. Yes. This is another banana loaf/bread* recipe. Listen, it’s getting warmer now and I feel my baking days for this Spring/Summer are on their last leg. I’m not really looking forward to that, but one of the joys of this blog is for me to have a record of what I made throughout these past 6 years. Woah…6 years? Yes, and a few months. I can’t believe how much C&T helped me, changed me and taught me.
There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. But sad or merry, I must leave it now. Farewell!
Thorin Oakenshield (from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit)
I know that these past few days have been all about Writing 101 and today is no different, but I wanted to combine three things at once. I know you won’t mind, mainly because there’s a recipe at the end. You have all been so good. Even though many of you come here for the food and photos, you have been so positive and supportive of my other non-foodie ones. I’m thankful. Truly. On to the quote.
If you are a regular reader of this blog you will know how much I enjoy a good banana bread. Those who know me well can tell you that I’m continually looking for the best recipes for banana bread around. I think that I have found the best one yet. You can find it in Signe Johansen’s book Scandilicious Baking. I bought this after trying some of her recipes from her first book, which was also my first encounter with Scandi cooking. There’s no need to repeat how much I enjoyed, and still enjoy cooking from book number one. The second book, dare I say it, is even better and I’m glad I have it now because it’s a great book to have in the run up to the Christmas season. It’s a baking book after all, and for me baking is a perfect way to spend the autumn/winter months. I have also discovered a love for spelt flour!
Two days ago, on Twitter, I read a tweet by @akentishkitchen about Signe’s Banana Spice Cake, which I mistook for the Spelt Banana Bread recipe found on the opposite page. My mistake, but if you have the book you will know what I mean. Both recipes are next to each other, and though made with the same ingredient, they are very different. I’m sure the spice cake is delicious, but here is my take on the bread recipe. I’m sure Signe won’t mind…she’s such a lovely lady. If you have some fruit which is starting to go all mushy on you, try this. You won’t regret it. Really.
- 3 medium bananas, ripe or very ripe and mashed
- 100ml milk with a few drops of lemon juice, or buttermilk for that matter
- 75g butter, melted
- 75ml maple syrup, or golden syrup
- 1 large egg
- 225g self-raising flour
- 50g wholemeal spelt flour
- 4 tablespoons porridge oats
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch salt
Preheat the oven to 170ºC or 150ºC fan (Gas Mark 3-4) and grease and line a loaf tin with parchment paper.
In a large bowl pour in the bananas, milk/buttermilk, butter, syrup and egg, and give everything a good mix. Add both flours, oats, baking powder, cinnamon and salt and fold till the ingredients are just mixed in, and stop right there.
Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and with a spatula spread the batter out evenly. Bake for around 55 minutes in the middle shelf of your oven, till the cake turns golden brown on top. To make sure that it is done, insert a skewer or knife into the centre. If it’s clean when it’s out, then it’s ready.
Allow the banana bread to cool for a good 20 to 30 minutes in its tin before taking it out on a cookie rack.
Store it wrapped in kitchen foil in an airtight container and it will keep for a good three to four days. It is good. One of the best recipes I have even tried. Thank you Signe!
(Recipe adapted from Scandilicious Baking by Signe Johansen, Saltyard Books, 2012.)
Making muffins (when I get the hang of it) is one of the most enjoyable things. You see, I find that they give me more excuses to bake…well, not that I *need* many of those. When they’re done well (and I’m not necessarily referring to myself here) they are little parcels of joy, perfect for an afternoon treat for you and for friends. I also have a thing for muffin cases. (Ask J about it – he’ll go on forever!)
Some time ago I received a lovely message from one of my readers asking me for this recipe when I posted a picture of these baked goodies on my Facebook page. I made these chocolate and banana muffins, (adapted from Nigella’s Kitchen) a bunch of times and they always turn out great…and the more I make them, the more I love them. Perhaps it’s because they are so simple and take minutes to prepare, with no fancy gadgetry; bowl, fork, whisk, spoon and muffin tin and you’re set. You can prepare the batter while chatting to your friends or listening to music – that’s how I do it anyway, and it’s a perfect way to spend an afternoon. You will need:
- 2 very ripe bananas
- 125ml vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 100g light brown sugar
- 225g plain flour
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
- 1½ teaspoon baking powder
- one 12 muffin tin, lined with muffin cases or parchment paper cut in squares
- Preheat the oven to 175ºC and prep the muffin tin.
- Mash the bananas in a medium-sized bowl with a fork or even with your clean hands. Take a whisk and beat the vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla extract and sugar with the bananas. Now take a wooden spoon (to avoid over-beating) and slowly add and mix the flour, sifted cocoa powder and baking powder. Your mixture should be lumpy.
- Tip each muffin case with some of the batter, dividing it into 12, and bake for around 20 minutes. Keep an eye on them to avoid burning. (I always take extra care when making muffins, I use to burn muffins a little bit more than I liked! But I’m getting there!) They should be done when their surface bounces back to the touch but insert a skewer in one of them to be sure.
- When the muffins have cooled for a little while in the tin, just take them out onto a rack, ready to cover in buttercream if you like.
Enjoy and as always Happy Baking!
I bake banana bread on a regular basis for a number of reasons; one, because it’s so easy, two, because it’s tasty, and three, because there’s nothing better than a mug of thick hot chocolate to go with it. I have made other recipes for banana bread (or loaf, you can call it what you want) in the past. You will find at least another two in this blog. And most probably I have told you that those were two of my favourites. Well, I have to include this one in that list.
You will find a really good one in Paul Hollywood’s How to Bake (Bloomsbury, 2012). You will find a chocolate and walnut version of this right here, which is almost identical to the version found in the book. Please note that the book version omits the chocolate. It’s a pity I didn’t bother to look for the online version before: it would have made for a much prettier photo. But not to worry…fortunately I *always* have a small stash of chocolate in the pantry, for which I now have use!
The recipe in the book calls for the following:
- 3-4 large bananas, ripe and mashed
- 250g caster sugar
- 125g soft unsalted butter
- 2 eggs
- 250g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 120g walnut pieces
Just follow the link I have given you above for the method. What I did was a little bit different, because I wanted to use up some chopped hazelnuts which as usual were bought for another recipe. (No surprise there!) I had 3 very ripe bananas, 80g walnut pieces, topped the rest with the hazelnuts, and added 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, not sure why. Perhaps because I usually do…Enjoy!