The weather is starting to change, which is a fabulous thing. We endure summer for an inordinate amount of time, so when the heat starts to dissipate, I get excited. Autumn means it still gets into the high 20s every day, but the difference is the nights begin to get cooler (down t0 16-18 if we’re lucky). What that marks is the end to the constant whirr of a fan that, although a necessity, tends to have a horrible impact on your sleep. And with autumn comes the return of the desire to bake.
When there’s over-ripe bananas hanging around in the kitchen, the go-to recipe is either the unbelievably delicious banana cake with lemon cream cheese icing, or the other family favourite, banana and chocolate cake. Both are winners every single time. But you don’t always feel like cake, so you need an alternative up your sleeve. If you also have a packet of dates in the cupboard, then here is another great option: date and banana loaf.
I’m not sure whether to call this a date and banana loaf or date and banana bread. What’s the difference? I’m not sure. They both are cooked in a rectangular loaf tin and both make a perfect afternoon tea, especially if it is still warm and the tea is piping hot. Although you could still put a slice in the toaster and top it with butter, I prefer to heat a slice in the microwave for 20 seconds and forgo the butter. Either way, it’s great.
I tend to gravitate toward making things that require little effort. This bread/loaf requires the use of two bowls, a spoon to mix it all together, and a fork to mash the banana. The two bowls are necessary because you mix the dry ingredients together in one, the wet ingredients in the other, then mix it all together. The one thing to remember is not to over-mix the mixture. Treat it a bit like a muffin batter – a light hand just makes it better. Enjoy!
- 300 grams plain flour
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 250 grams pitted dates, roughly chopped
- 125 grams unsalted butter, melted and set aside to cool
- 2 ripe bananas
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup yoghurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease and line with baking paper, a 21cmx11cm loaf tin (or similar size that's sitting in the cupboard).
- In a large bowl mix together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and chopped dates.
- In a separate bowl mash the 2 bananas with a fork. Add the eggs, yoghurt, vanilla extract, and cooled melted butter. Mix together.
- Make a well in the centre of the dried ingredients and add the banana/egg mixture. Fold gently through being careful not to over-mix.
- Pour mixture into the loaf tin and bake for 40 minutes, or until golden and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in tin for 15 minutes then transfer to a wire rack.