I love banana bread. I don’t make it often, but I love it. Due to the infrequency of baking this treat I think I forget how yummy it is. That is until it comes out of the oven, onto my plate and into my mouth! I was so happy when I realized today that we had a couple of bananas that were a little past their prime. I decided to make this baking event into a blog post so I could have an excuse when my calorie conscious partner came home from work. He was not surprised when he was bowled over by the smell of fresh baked banana bread as he walked through the front door. His only comment “I thought you’d be baking. You seemed overly pleased with those bananas this morning.” And just as he was not surprised that I was baking, I was not surprised when he happily dove into the warm bread cooling on the counter.
I usually make sweet breads in small loaves for two reasons. One reason is that I can quickly and easily wrap a few of the loaves in foil and freezer bags to enjoy all winter long. And the other reason is that I feel like I’m not consuming a tremendous amount of fat and calories if I scarf down one little, teeny tiny loaf…. It’s all in the perception. I’m pretty sure that’s how calories work – perception – but then I’m not a nutritionist.
I love to bake with different teas and, again, I have two reasons for doing this. One is that I always have a variety of teas on hand and I love the different depths of flavor I can create based on the ones I use in a certain recipe. And the other reason? It’s tea. It’s good for you. It must do something to negate some of the calories, right? Again, not a nutritionist so maybe don’t take my word on this.
Makes one large loaf or 8 mini loaves
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2 Tbsp Caramel Walnut Shortbread “tea”
1 cup sugar
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup Whole Wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
Melt the butter in a small saucepan on the stove over low heat. Add the Caramel Walnut Shortbread tisane, cover and steep for at least 8 minutes. Strain the butter into a measuring glass. If there is less than 1/2 cup, add a little more butter to make 1/2 cup. Refrigerate for a half hour to solidify a little.
Preheat oven to 350F. Cream the tea butter and sugar together. Add the eggs, bananas and vanilla and blend. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients (flours, salt, soda, cinnamon) together and add to the banana mixture. Blend until smooth. Fold in the walnuts and chocolate chips. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for 60 minutes. You can also use mini loaf pans, check for doneness at 30 minutes.
And that’s it. It’s easy and it’s delicious. I’m off now for another slice. I’m pretty sure that typing this burned a lot of calories…..