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Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Walnut & Banana Bread

Although for some reason it is known as "bread" (maybe for its loaf-like shape?), this is actually a cake. While it would certainly not disappoint served with a cup of tea or coffee in the afternoon, I also find it is particularly suitable to have at breakfast, as a substitute to the usual croissant, as the nuts and bananas make it filling and a real energy-booster. This is also a smart way to use up any overripe bananas that may have been left in your fruit bowl for a day too many, and have developed those unattractive, little dark spots. In fact, the riper your bananas, the moister and more delicious your cake will turn out to be!

INGREDIENTS (this recipe is adapted from Peyton & Byrne's "British Baking" cookbook)

  • 40 gr of walnuts
  • 200 gr of plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 125 gr unsalted butter
  • 200 gr light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3-4 ripe bananas
  • 60 ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbs of caster sugar for sprinkling on top
Preheat the oven at 180°C. Line a loaf tin with baking parchment.

Lay the walnuts on a baking tray and roast them for about 7 minutes. Once they are cool, chop them up and reserve them for later.

Turn the oven down to 170°C. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl and set aside. In a saucepan, gently melt the butter and pour it into a clean bowl. Add the sugar to it and whisk it until pale and fluffy. Next, add the eggs one at the time, mixing well after each addition. Mash up the bananas and add them to the mixture, followed by the milk and the vanilla. Fold in the sifted flour and finally add the chopped walnuts, stirring the final batter gently, just a couple of times.

Pour the mixture in the lined tin, sprinkle it with caster sugar and bake it for 35/45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the loaf comes out clean.  Allow it to cool for 15 minutes before taking it out of the tin, then leave it to cool completely on a wire rack. You will end up with a cake that's deliciously moist, but crunchy on the top, thanks to the caramelised sugar. Bring a slice to a loved one/friend/colleague, together with a freshly brewed cup of tea or coffee, and give them a great excuse to take a break from their work :-)

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