Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Banana (Peach Butter) Bread

I am a person who was brought up to firmly believe in the importance of breakfast. My family would gather at the table promptly and sullenly, and eat breakfast no matter what--and no one ate breakfast alone, either. It wasn't an on-the-go affair--we all sat down and ate breakfast together, always.

Even before I got married to M., I would make muffins, or quick breads, and surprise him with the food for breakfast. At the very least, I'd make sure that we had some cereal. My favorite days are when we can have a leisurely breakfast of toast, scrambled tofu with vegetables, and hash browns from scratch (with a good bit of home-made hot sauce all over everything). But the leisurely breakfast only occurs a few times a month, which leaves many more mornings unaccounted for. And although we don't make as big a deal of it as my parents did, we have a good breakfast every day. Recently, I made some fantastic cocoa hazelnut granola, which we have been enjoying quite thoroughly--especially with some cherry soy yogurt (chocolate and cherries for breakfast? yes!). And as that is now running low, yesterday I made a banana bread that I adapted from several different recipes. I know that banana bread recipes are ubiquitous. I know. But this banana bread has several qualities that make it outstanding, in my opinion: it's both sturdy (sturdy enough to hold up to buttering, or Earth Balanc-ing), and delicate. It can incorporate a wide variety of flavors, too: I've tried making it with everything from apple sauce to jam, to peach butter. (Peach butter was a fantastic experiment from last summer, but it's something we haven't been eating fast enough for some reason. I can also imagine this banana bread with something like blueberry butter, too!) That, and it'd just delicious, and easy. And not too sweet. It's a recipe that I keep coming back to, over and over. I haven't gotten bored with it yet. Here it is:
  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup soy milk
  • 1/3 cup peach butter (or applesauce, or...whatever)
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour (I use white whole wheat, but a mix of that and all-purpose would work, too)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1(+) teaspoon cinnamon
  • dried fruits and nuts of your choice, up to 3/4 cup, combined (I used dried cranberries and walnuts in the most recent batch)
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8"x4" bread pan.
-In a medium bowl, mash up bananas with a fork or a potato masher. Add the liquid ingredients and sugar; stir to combine and allow to sit for 3 minutes to sour the soy milk.
-Combine the dry ingredients, except the fruit/nuts, in a large mixing bowl, and stir to distribute the spices and baking soda/powder.
-Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until everything is well-combined, and fold in the fruit/nuts.
-Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes.

And that is all.

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