Italian Breakfast Banana Bread

What makes this different from ordinary banana bread is the addition of instant espresso powder. The coffee does not overwhelm at all; it’s subtle bitterness, most elegantly, enhances the sweetness of the banana. The bread is best eaten the day after it is baked.

3 medium, very ripe bananas (1 1/3 cups)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch salt
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 cup plus 2 tbs. plain flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
4 tsp. instant espresso powder

Heat the oven to 325°F and grease a standard loaf tin. Slip a baking sheet into the oven.

Mash the bananas with the vanilla and salt, then beat in the oil. Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the sugar. Mix the flour with the baking soda and the espresso powder, then beat into the banana mixture.

Pour into the tin, put it into the oven on the baking sheet and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the edges are slightly coming away and the bread has risen. A cake tester should come out clean. Leave to cool, then wrap is foil and wait for at least a half day before slicing it.

 

 

 

 

 

Gluten-Free Banana Bread with Chocolate and Walnuts

This is equally as good in a non-gluten-free version simply by using all-purpose flour and regular baking powder.

1 3/4 cup plus 2 tbs. rice flour (or other gluten-free flour)
1 cup ground almonds
2 tsp. gluten-free baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
3 large, very ripe bananas
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 eggs, at room temperature
125ml vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
150g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
2/3 cup chopped walnut pieces

Heat the oven to 325°F and line a 2lb. loaf tin with parchment paper.

Mix together the flour, almonds, baking powder, baking soda and salt, then set aside.

Peel the bananas and mash them in a large bowl. Stir in the vanilla and Greek yogurt, then add the eggs one at a time. Stir in the oil and the sugar. Gradually beat in the flour mixture, then fold in the chocolate and walnuts.

Spread the batter in the prepared tin and bake for 50-55 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Cool completely in the tin.

Serves 10-12

Breakfast Banana Bread with Cardamom and Cacao Nibs

This brilliant banana bread is even better toasted and spread with butter. Keep over-ripped bananas in the freezer and when they defrost, they are ready to mash!

2 very ripe or over-ripe bananas (about 3/4 cup when mashed)
2 extra large eggs
3/4 cup plain, runny yogurt or buttermilk
1/2 cup light and mild olive oil
2 cups plus 2 tbs. all-purpose flour
1 cup light brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon or 1 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 cup cacao nibs

Heat the oven to 350°F and line a standard loaf tin with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a free-standing mixer (or a large bowl if mixing by hand) combine the mashed  bananas with the eggs, one at a time. Add the yogurt or buttermilk and the oil and beat together. Stir in the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon or cardamom and mix well. Fold in the cacao nibs. Spread into the prepared tin.

Bake for 45 – 60 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin on a wire rack, then lift if out using the sides of the parchment paper. Wrap with more parchment paper, then aluminum foil and keep for a day before eating.