Thursday, December 27, 2012

Warm and Hearty Banana Bread

I am no stranger to banana bread. Nope -- not at all. I've baked my fair share of banana-filled treats -- one with blueberries stealing the show, another with peanut butter and yet another one with peach and spices. All delicious and all easy.  I've tried this banana coffee cake that's yummy and lemony and perfect for breakfast, and these with olive oil and lemon zest and sesame seeds. Oh yeah! And this one with chocolate and coconut is off the charts awesome too!

But I've recently discovered another .. one that's festive and hearty and got a compliment that none of the others did: "This reminds me of my grandma's banana bread." How could I not share a recipe that got compared to grandma's?  It's nothing fancy, nothing too complicated and no tricks involved. Just straightforward ingredients, lots of ripe mashed banana, a sprinkling of oats and a handful of fresh cranberries to add beautiful colour and tart bursts of flavour. It's got a beautiful, golden almost crust-like exterior, while the inside is perfectly moist, a little springy and hearty but not dense.

The first time I made this bread, half got given away and the other half enjoyed with afternoon tea. I made it again for Christmas breakfast dessert. We enjoyed a slice, warm and fresh from the oven after sharing bowls of oats topped with mixed berry compote. I'd say it was the perfect end to Christmas breakfast.

My holidays continue until the 7th of January, but if you're not so lucky, bake this bread today and enjoy slices at work to perk up your day while we wait for 2013 to roll along.

Cranberry Banana Bread
adapted from A Cozy Kitchen
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
1 egg
1/3 cup of plain yogurt
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of canola oil
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/4 cup of rolled oats
1 cup of spelt flour
1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
pinch of salt
1 cup of fresh cranberries

1. Whisk together the mashed banana, yogurt, egg, vanilla and canola oil. Mix really well, until all combined. 

2. Add the oats and salt. Sift in the flours and baking powder and soda. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet mixture, mixing until just combined. Carefully fold in the cranberries.

3. Pour the batter into a loaf pan or muffin tins if you prefer. Bake at 350 for about an hour for the loaf, 25-35 minutes for the muffins, or until the cake tester inserted comes out clean and top gets a deep golden brown.

4. Cool completely and serve with coffee!

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