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Subtly Spiced Banana Bread

What you need: 

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons ground flax seed
6 tablespoons banana liqueur
3 very ripe bananas, mashed well (approximately 1 1/2 cups)
6 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup plain vegan yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped, divided

What you do: 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9x5" loaf pan. You could also make 12 muffins and line the muffin tin cups with baking cups.
2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices together in a large bowl and set aside. Whisk the ground flax seeds with the banana liqueur, and then add the mashed banana, melted coconut oil, vegan yogurt and vanilla extract.
3. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and fold in 1/2 the walnuts. Scoop batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top and sprinkle the remaining walnuts on top.
4. Bake until the bread is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Let the bread cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack.
This bread is not very sweet and this is one of the reasons I love it. It tastes very much of banana and the spices are just an accent. If made into muffins, they rise very well. Saving half of the walnuts for the top gets them very crisp and toasty, a nice contrast to the moist interior of the bread. For years I have been sneaking banana liqueur into my bread and I think it makes it that much better. You could even poke holes in the warm bread with a bamboo skewer and and sprinkle more of the banana liqueur on the top for a little adult touch. My boyfriend loves this bread toasted and spread with earth balance. I like it just the way it is at room temperature. I hope you enjoy it!
Source of recipe: This recipe was inspired by the Banana Bread recipe from the Complete America's Test Kitchen Cookbook.

Preparation Time: 
about 20 minutes, Cooking time: 55 minutes
Cooking Time: 
55 minutes
Servings: 
Recipe Category: 

SO HOW'D IT GO?

Yay! I'm so glad you liked it, Coco Nut. Cardamom isn't for everyone, I'm finding, but I like to put it in a lot of things - sweet and savory. Lately I have been baking loaves using oat flour instead of wheat flour with great results. Give it a try if you can. There is the pre-ground oat flour you can buy but I made my own in my Vitamix. It doesn't grind as fine or consistently as the store bought but it is easy and cheap. Let me know what you think.

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Very yum.  Subbed a tablespoon of lemon juice for the yogurt that I didn't have on hand. Love the cardamom flavor!

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Ok, I'll be the first to review this recipe lol :P I've made this bread many times with myriad variations. Today I made some changes based on what I had on hand.

-2 bananas instead of 3.
-used the rest of my boyfriend's alcoholic banana shake from the fridge to make up the difference in the banana.
-added 1 tsp apple cider vinegar to the shake to react with the baking soda - "buttermilk."
-also used 6 Tbs of that shake stand in for the banana liqueur since I ran out.
-used 1 Tbs ground Salba seeds instead of flax. Salba is powerful stuff, absorbs a LOT more liquid than flax.
-added 1 tsp of banana extract.
-used half whole wheat and half all purpose flour.
-vegetable oil instead of melted coconut oil - I'm broke now so no more coconut oil for me!

My trick for toasting the nuts without dirtying more dishes is to put them in the loaf pan and toast them in the preheating oven. When they're done I put them on the board I use to mash the bananas to cool. The hot pan gets set aside to cool while I put the rest of the recipe together.

You can really mess around with this a lot and use pureed silken tofu or "buttermilk" instead of yogurt, any kind of fat, sub half the fat for applesauce, use pecans instead of walnuts... This recipe can take it.

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