Wednesday, 13 January 2010

The 21st Century Housewife's© Banana Maple Walnut Loaf

This is seriously yummy. It’s also incredibly easy to make, so I really can’t recommend it highly enough. At the risk of being bossy, I will include two little bits of advice - don’t leave out the maple flavouring; it gives the loaves a gorgeous hit of maple that the syrup alone just does not provide, and do try to use freshly grated nutmeg if you can; it is so much nicer than the nutmeg you buy already grated. As well as a snack, my Banana Maple Walnut loaf makes a lovely breakfast, and while it is perfectly delicious plain, it is absolutely amazing spread with a bit of fresh unsalted butter if you are feeling indulgent.

My recipe makes two loaves, so you need two large loaf pans.

2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
¾ cup white sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup chopped walnuts
¾ cup shredded or desiccated coconut
1 cup raisins or sultanas
3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon maple flavoring
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup oil
(sunflower, corn oil or mild olive oil also work well, but not extra virgin olive oil)
2 cups buttermilk

Measure the flours, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, walnuts, coconut and raisins into a large bowl and stir to mix.

Place the mashed bananas in a medium bowl and add the maple syrup, maple flavouring, eggs, oil, buttermilk. Mix thoroughly.

Add the banana and maple syrup mixture to the flour mixture and stir very thoroughly until well blended, but don’t beat. Divide the mixture between 2 large greased and floured (or lined) loaf pans.

Bake at about 350℉ or 170℃ for 50 to 60 minutes or until a piece of dry spaghetti inserted into the middle comes out clean with no batter clinging to it. (If the loaves begin to brown to fast, turn the heat back a little.)

Take the pans out of the oven, place on a wire rack and allow to cool for about half an hour. Carefully remove the loaves from the loaf pans and leave to cool on the wire racks until cold.

The loaves will keep for two to three days (longer if you keep them in the fridge, but don’t serve fridge cold). I usually keep one of the loaves for us, and give one away. However, if you don’t feel like sharing, you can also freeze them quite successfully. I slice the loaves up first, and then put a bit of greaseproof or waxed paper between each slice so that it is easier to thaw a bit at a time. If you think you will use a loaf up all at once, do skip this step and freeze it unsliced as the pre-slicing and greaseproof paper insertion is a bit fiddly.

If you prefer, this mixture will also bake beautifully as muffins. You will need at least 24 muffin cups lined with paper liners. Bake the muffins for about 20 to 25 minutes or until a piece of dry spaghetti inserted into the middle of one of the muffins comes out clean with no batter clinging to it. (Turn the heat back if they brown too fast.) Again, once they are cool, these can be very successfully frozen -although I have found they usually disappear so fast, there are never any left to freeze!

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