As an ex-pat American living in Scotland, peanut butter and jelly is something I occasionally have a hankering for. It must be in my DNA. I can’t say I give into that craving very often, but when I do I have to say that it is not on nice seeded whole meal bread, or using posh jam. If for whatever reason I need to buy white bread – for Christmas stuffing, or bread and butter pudding – I always nick a piece. I then proceed to smear it with a good quarter inch of peanut butter, top with a crimson dod of Lidl morello cherry jam, and fold in half. Then I proceed to shove it in my gob with two hands, like a ravenous toddler. Again, a childhood/DNA thing. With today’s recipe I think I may have grown up. A bit.
Banana bread is a funny thing. We tend to call it bread but I define bread as something with which to make a sandwich. I don’t ever recall fancying a sandwich made from banana bread. But, add in a filling for a sandwich and I get really confused. Is it now a proper bread, or is it still a cake? No matter, it tastes great. I hope you agree. My non-US readers might be a bit bemused, but I hope you may also be intrigued.
Because this is something firmly in the treat camp I won’t go all nutrition nerd on you and say how bananas are a great prebiotic food, or how vital nuts are to heart health. If you want health benefits of these foods, eat them as whole foods, not tasty baked goods. Banana bread is NOT a serving of fruit. But homemade cakes/breads such as this are absolutely fine when eaten in modest portions and as an occasional treat. I know, easier said than done.
I was going to post this next week and give you a whole week of Tofu Shawarma (!), but I saw that Nazima, the lovely blogger behind Franglais Kitchen, and Laura of How To Cook Good Food were doing their joint One Ingredient Challenge on bananas this month. And of course the world needs another banana bread recipe. LOL! I’m sure I will find other banana ideas for this favourite fruit over there. I couldn’t get the ‘proper’ link to work so please go their respective blogs and see who’s going bananas over there! I am also popping this over to Mark of Javelin and Warrior’s Made With Love Mondays, which features from-scratch, made with love recipes. Thanks for these round-ups y’all!
I am posting this in honour of my Father’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Poppy! I know you loved Mom’s banana bread and I hope you don’t think I’ve done it an injustice with this hybrid experiment. I’ll make it for you on my next visit. Promise
So, what do YOU call banana bread? Loaf? Cake? Bread? Does it matter? What are your best tinkerings with this stalwart of the cake stand?
Banana bread needs no introduction. Anyone who buys bananas will probably have knocked up a version at one time or another. I’m not overly keen on raw bananas (Mr A says ‘dear diary’ whenever he sees me eating one), but stick the brown-flecked ones in a cake and I’m not so sniffy.
The ‘plain’ kind is just fine and dandy, but add a few other ingredients and you can have something else altogether. I sometimes add chocolate and cardamom, or figs and Brazil nuts. But I had a bit of a minor brain wave recently, and this is the result. I have used jam – the blackcurrant one from Lidl is really good for shop-bought jam– but use Concord grape jelly for an American accent. Or any kind of jam, jelly or even marmalade you fancy – homemade if you can stretch to it. And, in truth I was almost out of peanut butter so combined what I had with cashew nut butter. This is a proper storecupboard effort and all the better for it. PS This is easily made gluten-free and egg-free, although I haven’t made it this way yet; see below.
5+ tbsp jam or jelly of your choice
Grease a 2 lb/1 kg loaf tin or a square baking tin and line with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/350F.
Use an electric whisk to mix the oil, eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl until it is thick and leaves a trail when the beaters are lifted. Or mix vigorously by hand.
In a separate bowl mash the bananas; mix thoroughly into the wet mixture.
Sift or whisk (with a clean balloon whisk – this is what I do) the flours, baking powder and salt, then fold the flour into the wet mixture. Mix until just combined.
Pour half of the mixture into the lined tin, dot with half of the nut butter and jam. Pour over the remaining batter and dot with the rest of the nut butter and jam. Take a knife and drag it through the mixture to marble the jam and nut butter with the banana bread batter.
Bake in the preheated oven for an hour to an hour and 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. If you are using a traditional cake tin rather than the loaf tin, check the cake at around 45 minutes. You will probably need to cover the banana bread for the last 20 or so minutes so do check that it it’s not browning too quickly. The jam that peeks through the batter accelerates the browning.
Cool in the tin for 10 minutes then remove from the tin and cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into 10 slices and half these to make little bars. Freezes well: cut into individual squares and interleave with baking paper before freezing in a suitable container or in foil.