Rustic and wholesome, this loaf has quickly become one of my favourite recipes to date (geddit? ba-dum task). It’s sweetened with fruit alone, just overripe banana’s and big juicy flecks of dates scattered throughout the batter. There’s no extra maple syrup, honey or granulated sugars added – the fruit, along with a sprinkle of cinnamon and vanilla, leaves it sweet enough.
Baking With Bananas
To provide sweetness and a luscious deep banana flavour your banana’s must be really ripe – like any good banana bread! The main component of an unripe green banana is starch – up to 80%. As they ripen, the starches convert to sugars, until they end up being less than 1% starch by the time fully ripe (1).
Look for banana’s that are yellow and streaked, with brown or black freckles and lines. Absolutely no green, unless maybe a teeny tiny reminiscent hint at the stem. There really is no such thing as too ripe when talking banana bread!
This loaf is higher in protein than traditional varieties, thanks to the addition of plain greek yoghurt (which also makes it beautifully moist! Nutrition and culinary wins). I’ve also included a part flour – part almond meal dry mix, to further bump up the protein, leaving you full for longer.
The perfect breakfast slathered with butter, snack with a mug of tea, or as a wholesome dessert.
Finely chop dates. Add to a small saucepan with water. 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 or require a slightly different cooking tim
Add to a mixing bowl the bananas. Mash with a fork or potato masher. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla essence.
Sift in flour, almond meal, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dates. 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. In NZ you’ll usually find this in the baking section of supermarkets where the nuts and seeds are.** Feel free to sub greek yoghurt for coconut yoghurt