This loaf, a cross between whole wheat brown bread and good old banana bread, is my preferred way to use up overripe bananas. Unlike many banana breads, this loaf isn’t too dense or oily. Made with all whole wheat flour and sweetened ever so slightly with maple syrup, this is also bona fide healthy. Serve with soft butter or cream cheese. You can also stir some honey, maple syrup, or molasses into your butter or cream cheese. If you like nuts in your bread, stir a large handful of chopped nuts into the batter just before it goes into the pan. Walnuts or pecans are especially good.
Spiced Banana Brown Bread
280g whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cloves
2 super-ripe bananas, peeled
2 eggs, lightly beaten
160g maple syrup
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Spray a 23x12cm loaf pan with baking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper for good measure and set the pan aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.
Put the bananas into a large bowl and mash with a fork until broken up really well. Add the eggs, buttermilk, maple syrup, and vanilla and whisk until thoroughly mixed. Fold the flour mixture into the banana mixture just until combined. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the batter into the prepared pan and then smooth the surface so it is even.
Bake the bread until dark brown on top, firm to the touch, incredibly fragrant, and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let the bread cool in the pan on a wire rack to room temperature. Once cooled, lift the bread out of the pan and then peel off and discard the parchment. Slice and serve. Leftovers can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 4 days (these slices are best when toasted before serving).
Banana Bread French Toast
Leftover Spiced Banana Brown Bread can be repurposed into decadent French toast. It’s actually worth baking an extra loaf just to be sure you can make this. For every serving of French toast, beat an egg with a splash of whole milk and light cream and a healthy shake of ground cinnamon. Dip slices of the banana bread in the egg mixture and pan fry in butter. Serve with sliced bananas, whipped cream, and a drizzle of maple syrup. Yum.
Extracted from Now & Again: Go-to Recipes, Inspired Menus + Endless Ideas for Reinventing Leftovers by Julia Turshen (Chronicle Books, approx €29). Photographs by David Loftus.