I am making banana bread today. . .
Grant, my 12 year old, has been asking me to make banana bread for awhile now. To be honest, I always have ripe bananas in the freezer ready to go! Life gets in the way. The days fly by and no bread making happens.
Today, I have a good excuse with this month’s Recipe Redux theme: Bake Some Bread.
Turn on your ovens! Be it tried and true traditional yeast bread, or one of the new trendy protein-added breads, show us what you’re baking. Whether sourdough or bread with added-veggies, don’t forget to tell if it makes great toast too.
Of course, I want to add a nourishing twist to this bread and make it heart healthy for American Heart Month. I am giving it a double dose of potassium with bananas and dates thrown in, which is all good for your blood pressure and in turn, your heart health!
I love dates for their natural sweetness, as well as fiber and potassium. Be aware though, the calories add up fast (as with all dried fruits)! If the dates are large, just two can be over 100 calories. So enjoy dates mindfully. 😉
The key with dates in this recipe is soaking them in a bit of hot water before adding to the mixture. It helps to soften them. Plus, they blend more easily. They don’t look pretty, but they impart such a delicious, sweet flavor. (Yum!)
Add a hint of additional fiber with a bit of white whole wheat flour; basically, it’s 1/2 cup white whole wheat + 1 cup of white flour. If you are daring, you can ramp it up and only use whole grain flour, but my family barks at me when I do that . . . 😉
For this recipe, I adapted Martha Stewart’s Banana Bread recipe. Instead of creaming the butter and sugar together, I creamed the dates and butter together. . . and then added the other ingredients. I also gave it a little tartness with buttermilk. Plus, for a dose of heart-healthy, monounsaturated fats, I add chopped pecans. Pecans have a sweet flavor that I love, too. Pour the batter into a loaf pan or as I did in heart-shaped baking dishes. So appropriate for American Heart Month!
Drumroll . . . here’s the final product: freshly baked Banana Date Pecan Bread. I can’t wait to dig in and for my family to try it, too!
Banana Date Pecan Bread
Makes one loaf (or three hearts)
Cooking spray (for loaf pan(s) )
4 small ripe bananas (about 1 cup)
6 fresh dates, pitted (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup hot water
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon roasted cinnamon
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray loaf pan(s) with vegetable oil.
Peel bananas and place in a bowl. Set aside.
Place dates in another bowl and pour over hot water. Allow them to soak for a minute.
In a mixer, such as a KitchenAid , add butter and dates. Blend together well. Add eggs and mix well.
In a separate bowl, add both flours, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Mix together. Add flour mixture to the mixer and blend well. Add bananas, buttermilk, vanilla and chopped pecans. Mix until well combined.
Pour into prepared loaf pan(s). Place in the oven for 45 minutes and check with a toothpick. When it comes out clean, the bread is ready. If not fully baked, put back in the oven for another 10 minutes and check again. (If you use a large loaf pan, cooking time increases.) Remove from oven and allow to cool on the stove top or a wire rack for a few minutes before serving.
Enjoy eating simply!