I NEED to share with you this awesome banana bread recipe that I found. A couple of weeks in a row we’ve gotten dates in our Chow Locally CSA box. I also happened to have some bananas that were going brown. A bit of google-fu yielded this delicious recipe. It’s a recipe that has no sugar added, thanks to the super sweet dates.
Dates are 80% simple sugars and have been used as a sweetener for centuries. They can be eaten fresh or dried and used in a variety of ways, you can stuff them, add them to a wide range of baked goods, add them to smoothies for a little extra sweetness, add them to oatmeal instead of sugar. They are nutrient dense, have a good amount of fiber and potassium per serving. The high sugar content also makes them a calorie dense food so you only need one or two if you’re adding it to something like a smoothie or your morning oatmeal. I first fell in love with them when I was doing a 1 week raw cleanse. When you’re eating raw it can sometimes be difficult to get the proper amount of calories and adding dates can definitely help.
The first time I made this recipe I only had 2 bananas and I made up for that by adding 1 extra tbsp of oil and some more water. It turned out perfect. If you were running short on dates you could add a tbsp or two of honey or brown sugar. Any way you make it, you will absolutely love this Banana Date Bread (original recipe credit goes to Edible Existence).
This time that I made it I went to my spices to find out that I was out of ground cinnamon! Horror of horrors! Luckily I had some whole cinnamon sticks hanging out in the cupboard. I crushed them a little with the bottom of a jar and tossed them in my coffee grinder. Let me tell you, fresh ground cinnamon smells amazing! Even though I cleaned the grinder I feel like my next batch of coffee might taste a bit like cinnamon, but somehow I’m okay with that. 🙂 (On a side note if you want to make purposeful cinnamon coffee try adding 1/4-1/2 tsp of cinnamon to your coffee grounds. Cinnamon coffee smells and tastes wonderful!)
Banana Date Bread
1 tbsp vanilla extract or rum (I walked the wild side this time and used 1 tbsp spiced rum AND 1 tsp nectar of the gods AKA Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla.)
3 tbsp olive oil (or any other oil you have on hand, preferably not vegetable or soy bean oil)
2 tbsp boiling water
1 cup fresh dates, pitted and diced
2 cups of white whole wheat flour*
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp kosher or sea salt
3 large extra ripe bananas, mashed
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts (you can use whatever you have handy, pecans, walnuts, etc. I had hazelnuts and they are delicious with this recipe!)
Preheat the oven to 375* F.
In a large heat proof (glass or metal) bowl add the dates, boiling water, and oil. Let sit for a few moments before adding the rum/vanilla and mash gently with a fork.
Add the mashed bananas. You can do this in a separate bowl, but why make more work for yourself? I do this in one large bowl, just scoot the date mixture over and mash the bananas on the empty side. Then I scoot the bananas over to make a little spot for the egg which I beat gently before stirring everything together.
In a separate bowl whisk or sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
Add the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until completely combined. If you live in a drier climate like I do it may look like you’re not going to be able to incorporate all those dry ingredients, but never fear and continue mixing, being careful not to overmix. If, in fact you’re not able to incorporate all of it just add a little more boiling water (try 1 tbsp).
Pour the batter into a prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts and press the nuts into the batter lightly (this will keep them from wanting to fall off later when you’re slicing and devouring the bread). Bake for about 45 mins to 1 hr. The bread is done when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Eat it with coffee, eat it with tea, eat it for breakfast, a snack, or a dessert. Just eat this bread!
Be Happy! 🙂
*White whole wheat flour is not a processed wheat flour, but a different variety of wheat. It creates a lighter flavor and texture than the traditional wheat flour and I love to use it in my quick breads!