Thursday, 28 April 2016

Bananas. Rum, Vanilla, Granola. Coming to a desk near me shortly...

One of the pleasures of my prize Abel and Cole fruit box (I won a three month subscription as part of a prize from Quaker Oats, isn't that amazing!) has been massive bowlfuls of bananas and oranges.  I love them both, so it is no problem working my way through them, but often bananas can suddenly turn. Or I just have too many that week.

Now my turn-to way of using them up is banana bread. I hesitate to call it banana cake as some do, as I recently I have been making mine almost un-sweet, keeping the sugar content really low. And, if you keep your added sugars low, you need to make sure that your bananas are as full of sugar, as against starch, as possible.  So use up those black ones!

This recipe has some amazing things about it:

Amazing thing #1 How far should you let your bananas go before baking?  Here are the bananas I used today. You can see, the three on the left hand side are ridiculously ripe. If you didn't know, you'd reckon these were fit only for the bin. The last one on the right hand side, a very ripe eating banana, is the minimum degree of ripeness I would accept for banana bread making.

When they are opened you can really see the difference. The yellow banana is still firm, and banana coloured. The other three are turning golden and very soft, almost like caramel. The one on the far left  was just a little too far gone and was starting to shrivel slightly; it had some dry patches that I cut away.

Amazing thing #2 I added a little rum to this recipe as well, as I had seen my @tpcookbookclub friend Debora Robinson do with great success in an apple cake, and I was pleased as punch (rum punch, ok?) with this addition. I'm sure there is a chemical reason why it makes the cake light and delicious, but I don't know it. So if you, let me know, yes?

Amazing thing #3 It should have had 2 eggs in it. But I totally forgot to add the eggs. Try it as per the recipe, then try it again with the eggs (I will do soon...) and let me know which you prefer!

Amazing thing #4 There is hardly any fat in this, just 2 tablespoons of oil. The bananas plus the yoghurt make this so moist it really doesn't need any more fat. But you could try it with a bit more, maybe some butter. This is a very forgiving recipe. Let me know how you change it and what you prefer, so I can try it myself!

I baked this in three small loaf tins I have that I hardly ever remember to use. One little loaf made a very pleasant afternoon tiffin split between Bob and me, and I would imagine this, with its nourishing granola addition, would make a perfect breakfast bread as well.

Do give it a try, and let me know how you get on.

Banana Bread, with Rum and Granola.

The original recipe I adapted this from was in US cup measures. I weighed as I went, (I am learning...) to give you the metric quantities as well.

120g / half US cup Greek or thick full fat yoghurt
3-4 very ripe bananas, depending on size, the pulp should weigh around 130g +/-
1 tsp vanilla bean paste, or half tsp vanilla essence
2 tbspns rum (the dark one)
2 tbspns light oil
60g / one third US cup light muscovado sugar

200g / 1 and half US cup SR flour - I used Marriages light brown SR flour, I like the small amount of bran this gives, but I am sure white would also work
half tsp bicarbonate of soda
half tsp fine salt
120g / 1 US cup granola - I used Lizi's Treacle and Pecan, as I had run out of walnuts that I would usually add. Use any granola you like.
Extra granola for sprinkling

3 mini loaf tins (mine take around 300g - larger than minis but considerably smaller than a 1lb tin. But it isn't important. You could use anything you like, muffin tins even. Just play with the timings.)

Preheat the oven to Gas Mk 4, 350F 170C
Grease your tins and put onto a baking sheet.

Mash the bananas in a large bowl, add the yoghurt, vanilla, rum, sugar and oil and using a fork mix together until thoroughly blended.  If you decide to add in some eggs (!) you would add two here and mix them in thoroughly.
Sift the flour, bicarb and salt into the bowl, blend in roughly, as you would for muffins, you want a few strands of flour still visible, and then lightly stir in the granola.
Allow  the mixture to stand for a few minutes (this lets the bicarb start to work, I think it makes a lighter crumb than using it straight away, though its not imperative to do this. But it means that if you have forgotten to grease your tins, you can do it now!)
Divide the mix between the tins, and top with a further sprinkle of granola.

Bake for somewhere between 20 and 60 minutes depending on the size of your tins. My tins took 30 mins. I would expect muffins to take around 20, and a single loaf tin (2lb size) the full hour. Test with a skewer, it should come out clean but not dry.


  1. Looks yummy, Lynne! In an absolutely bizarre coincidence, I baked two loaves of banana bread myself this morning, before I saw your post & FB update! I never make it...haven't for ages. But I had 5 bananas that were smelling almost alcoholic as they do when they go black & couldn't throw them out! I used half rye & half wholemeal flour...really nice. Allspice too. One loaf for us, one to my 8 year old nephew (who is a fruit bat) and family. Delicious. Love your version, though, and will try it next time to compare. xx

    1. it is really strange.. I intended to put some cardamom in. Forgot it. Had the eggs on the worktop. Forgot them.
      I am amazed I remembered to put the bananas in! Yours sound lovely, I love the idea of rye flour too, a real current favourite rye. Oh, and I saw in our local Sainsbury's they are now stocking Dove Farm WHITE rye! I really need to try that.