It seems that while working from home has triggered the sourdough renaissance, home cooks have also turned to a baked good on the opposite end of the commitment spectrum. It’s squidgy, it fills your kitchen with an aromatic fug, and is the perfect home for those bananas you have left languishing on the kitchen counter. Yes, we are talking about banana bread.
At it’s very basic, banana bread is a quick bread whipped up from terrifically freckled bananas (the more blemished the better), flour, sugar, and a raising agent. Perhaps calling it bread is generous – for despite its loaf-pan shape, it is undeniably a cake in disguise. I am by no means suggesting a renaming, for parading my chunky slice around as bread grants me the permission to have it for breakfast. Amidst all this pandemonium, I feel like we all deserve a little slice of heaven (read: cake) in the morning.
Banana bread is simply too various in its incarnations – swirled with peanut butter, lavished with chocolate, or punctuated with crushed walnuts. Maybe you prefer yours topped with a crumble to provide a textural counterpoint. Do you make yours with white sugar, leaving it airy and crisp? Or with the sticky saturated brown sort, in order to lend the perfect squidge to your loaf?
I have reduced the banana bread to its very basic. And, win-win, it’s vegan. This is the perfect formula to provide the strongest of foundations for your banana bread creativity. Add chocolate chips! Sesame seeds! Use any sweetener you have on hand! The only limit is your imagination, or more realistically, whatever you manage to find on the desolate shelves at Tesco.
Makes: 1 loaf, 12 slices
- 3 very ripe and freckled bananas, mashed (about 500g)
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 tbsp peanut butter/tahini/any nut butter/more oil
- 1 cup sugar (I use an even amount of light brown sugar and white)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups (250g) plain flour
- 1/4 cup nut of choice OR chocolate chips OR a mix of both—let’s be real
- Preheat your oven to 175C and grease and line a loaf tin.
- Blitz all the ingredients together except for the flour and nuts/chocolate until smooth, then pour it out into a bowl
- Gently fold in the flour and nuts/choc until just combined. Do not overmix this, or you will get a tough banana bread.
- Pour it out into the prepared pan, smooth out the top and top it with about 1 tablespoon of rough demerara sugar (the kind you stir into coffee bc you are under some illusion that it is healthier).
- Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted through the centre of it comes out clean and un-tacky. Let it cool for 15 minutes before hoisting it out of the pan and consuming it in its entirety.
- If you are a better person than I am and have more leftovers than you know what to do with, you can freeze the slices and microwave each whenever a banana bread craving strikes.