The topic of banana bread has not come up here for over a year, after making a sugar free banana bread, and given I have now got another recipe that I adore that produces delicious results in a few super simple steps figured it was as good a time as any to return to it.
Not only does banana bread allow you to not end up wasting those bananas that have been left exposed to the elements for a little too long but it is an incredibly versatile food that can be had for breakfast, a snack or dessert and with the ability to eat it plain, with margarine, a spread or something entirely different (chilli jam for instance) swished across the top of the top of a slice.
This vegan banana bread has a wonderful texture of a light crumb, not at all being dense to eat and also being lovely and filling with a whole whack of energy being packed in. The flavour of banana came through a little but was lifted and altered depending on the topping of each slice and the dates helped to add an additional level of flavour depth as well as a slightly different few bites of texture. I chopped some dried dates up into random but fairly small sized pieces and then mixed them into the mixture; I did not roll them in flour or anything and they remained evenly spread throughout the mixture through cooking so there should be no issues with something similar falling to the bottom.
If you want to add something other than dried dates in then cacao nibs or chocolate chips would be quite good, especially if you choose to reheat it a slice at a time, but also other dried fruits or glace cherries should work well. I know that some people mix cocoa powder into their mixture but I think that finding one with a high enough percentage to keep it vegan makes it a lot more expensive than a cake that is essentially just using up aged ingredients needs to be (it also tends to make it a lot heavier and denser which I think can really ruin a banana bread).
I generally stuck to the exact recipe, including the sugar type, but did add a mixture of mixed spice and cinnamon given we have plenty of both in the kitchen cupboard. The term “mashed banana” is always something that I struggled with and whilst the banana was largely mashed up there was the odd chunky bit remaining but when it was baked these small lumps seemed to have warmed and melted into the rest of the mixture so if, like me, mashing is not your speciality no need to fear! If you do want really mushed up banana then put them in a baking tray, still in the skins, at about 120°c for 30 minutes and then on peeling they will be very easy to squash.
What do you like to add to your banana bread to make it that little bit more interesting in terms of texture and flavour? More importantly though, what do you put on your slice of banana bread?