Are you unsure what to do with those spotty overripe bananas in your fruit bowl? Give them a proper send off with this fruit-sweetened banana bread loaf! In this post, learn how to make this reader favourite recipe with step-by-step photos and helpful kitchen tips.
This rustic and wholesome banana bread loaf has quickly become a favourite recipe to date (geddit? ba-dum-tss).
It’s sweetened with fruit alone, just overripe bananas and big juicy flecks of dates scattered throughout the batter. There’s no extra maple syrup, honey, or granulated sugars added. I promise, the fruit, along with cinnamon and vanilla, leaves it sweet enough.
Flour. This recipe uses regular stock standard flour (plain or gluten-free), as well as almond meal. The latter adds a glorious rustic vibe, and a boost of heart-healthy fats and dietary fibre.
Really ripe bananas.Look for bananas that are yellow and streaked, with brown or black freckles. Absolutely no green! These will provide sweetness and a luscious deep banana flavour.
Dates.Cooking dates down into a paste infuses an even caramel-sweetness throughout the batter, and encourages a moist, tender texture.
Greek yoghurt. A magical underrated ingredient in baking, with a trio of perks here. Greek yoghurt adds creaminess, keeping the loaf moist for days; it imparts a very subtle tanginess to offset the sweetness; and its acidity helps activate baking soda, baking this fluffy and light.
You’ll also need the basics: leavenings (baking powder and baking soda), vanilla and cinnamon for flavour, eggs (size 7, around 62g each) and a pinch of all important salt.
Step-by-Step: How to Make Banana Date Loaf
Here are tips and tricks to help your baking skills grow, while improving the final outcome of this dish:
Cool your cooked date puree in the fridge or freezer. This speed things up while you prepare other ingredients. Otherwise, brew yourself a tea, water the plants or put away the washing, and wait for it to reach room temperature!
Sift dry ingredients. Sifting promotes consistency in the batter by breaking up larger lumps. So easy to say ‘meh!’ and skip, but please don’t friends.
Gently fold. Folding is where you combine ingredients together without stirring, beating or agitating the mix. Instead, the lighter delicate mixture is placed on top of the heavier thicker one, again and again, until combined. Air becomes trapped into bubbles, helping it rise. Use a wide flexi spatula here.
Don’t overmix. This can lead to a denser loaf – boo! Mix ingredients until the batter is just evenly incorporated.
Size matters.A different sized or shaped tin may need an adjusted baking time. Test done-ness with a fork or toothpick – if it comes out clean you’re good.
Cover with foil. If you notice the top of your loaf starting to over-brown in the last 10 minutes or so of baking, use foil to your aid by loosely covering.
Mix-ins? Make this loaf your own. It’s be ace with a handful of chocolate chips, raisins or walnuts tossed through the batter before baking!
This banana date loaf is the perfect breakfast or snack slathered with nut butter, ricotta & honey or classic beloved butter. Kick back with a cup of tea and enjoy!
Serve warm as a wholesome dessert along with a dollop of ice cream.
Not feeling it anymore? Repurpose into a delectable bread and butter pudding! You’ll find oodles of inspiration online for recipes.
Thanks for reading! If you give this recipe a go, I hope you love it. It’s a favourite and took many loving attempts to get right. Are you a mega-fan of bananas, like me? Be sure to try this creamy banana porridge or these banana oat cookies next time you have spotty bananas in the fruit bowl🍌
Finely chop dates. Add to a small saucepan with the water measure. Cook over a medium-low heat, stirring regularly, until the water has evaporated – this will take less than five minutes.
Remove from heat and leave to cool to room temperature. To speed up the process, scoop date mixture into a bowl and place in the fridge or freezer.
Preheat oven to bake 160 degree Celsius. Line a loaf tin with baking paper (I used a 25cm long x 12 cm wide rectangular tin – a different shaped tin might produce different thicknesses and require a slightly different cooking time).
Add to a mixing bowl the bananas. Mash with a fork or potato masher. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla essence.
Sift in flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add almond meal and date puree. Using a spatula, gently fold together until just evenly incorporated.
Add yoghurt and gently fold through – be careful not to overmix!
Bake in the oven for 1 hour. It’s best baked in the middle the oven, not the top. If it looks like it’s starting to overbrown, cover loaf loosely with foil the last 10 or so minutes of baking. Check to see it’s cooked by inserting something thin and sharp into the middle to the loaf e.g. toothpick or knife (it should come out pretty clean, if not, keep it in for a smidge longer).
Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes in tin. Remove from tin, slice and enjoy!
*Almond meal is almonds that have been finely ground into a flour-like consistency. In NZ you’ll usually find this in the baking section of supermarkets where the nuts and seeds are.