First time I have ever made banana bread was when my children asked for it, few years ago now. Since then I have been trying to make it the way we like it, by adding and adjusting ingredients. I don't like it too fluffy or too sweet. This recipe makes a denser, more moist loaf with a crunchy top. I only use a bit of honey or maple syrup in addition to the natural sweetness of ripe bananas. When bananas are ripe and I know we won't eat them in time, instead of throwing them out, they go into the freezer until needed. I actually prefer baking this bread with frozen ones. Just remember to take them out to partially defrost ahead of time, so they can be easily peeled and mashed.
Same batter makes about a dozen large muffins, which are great for school lunches, quick breakfast or an afternoon treat with your tea or coffee.
Here is what you need:
5 smaller or 3-4 larger mashed ripe bananas (I used frozen ones)
1/3 cup maple syrup or honey (1/2 cup if you like it sweeter)
1/3 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (or to your liking)
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup (or to your liking) chocolate chips
1/2 cup hazelnuts or walnuts, chopped coarsely (if using)
Preheat oven to 350F.
Line a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper, making sure the sides hang over the edge for easy removal.
In a bowl, mix mashed bananas, maple syrup and butter until blended. Stir in vanilla and egg.
In a separate bowl, stir with a whisk both flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, chocolate chips and nuts (if using), and stir into flour.
Pour batter into lined tin. At this point, you can peel and half a banana and place on top for decoration.
Bake for about 65 to 75 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Cool the loaf in the tin for about 15 minutes, then take it out by lifting the sides of parchment paper to cool completely (if you can wait that long!) on the cooling rack.
NOTE: If you are making muffins, line the muffin tin with cupcake liners (or grease the tin) and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.