Mini banana loaves

MollyShrimpton_BananaLoaf I’ve always loved running my blog. I was a complete amateur when I first started, so much so that my initial efforts are best characterized as ‘things on bread’ and not much more. I’ve learnt so much as I’ve gone along, especially about photography and presentation, which has become something that I really enjoy. (Nowadays I like to think that my projects have evolved into ‘things on bread, on a rustic backdrop, with some artistically scattered ingredients and a napkin at a rakish angle’). Food styling is a fantastic way to combine a love of food with a creative eye. They say ‘the first bite is with the eyes’, and that couldn’t be more true. So earlier this year, in an effort to improve my images and to learn more about this interest I completed the Food Styling course at Leith’s School of Food and Wine in West London. The course is taught by Sarah Cook and Jennifer Joyce, and at the end of the 6 week program you style a recipe of your choice which is then photographed by food photographer Adrian Lawrence. The course was a lot of fun and I love my final image. The difference that professional equipment and an expert eye makes is incredible (kind of depressing actually!) I chose to do mini banana loaves for my final piece, as I alway think that everything looks better when its smaller (however, standing at 6ft myself, I do not necessarily apply this to people). Banana bread is my absolute favourite bake,  and this recipe is one that I’ve been making into standard sized loaves for years. I always make it with ground almonds and smaller amounts of flour as this creates a lighter texture and is much easier to digest.  Almonds are protein rich, making it a great choice for a speedy breakfast or a snack on the go. It also works well with oats in the place of flour, which adds an extra boost of skin loving vitamin E. I like to put big chunks of dark chocolate and crunchy pieces of walnut and pecan in mine, but you could just as easily leave them out for a simpler bake. Top them with crushed nuts, banana coins, whole pecans or leave them naked. This recipe makes 1 large loaf or roughly 10 small loaves, depending on the size of your tin.

Ingredients

  • 5-6 very ripe bananas
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
  • 6 tbsp maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup other flour or oats (I like rice flour)
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 150g dark chocolate (optional)
  • 1 cup nuts (optional)

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line your loaf tin(s).
  2. Mash the bananas and put them in a food processor along with the melted coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Whizz until smooth, if its a bit sticky, add the almond milk to loosen up.
  3. Mix the flours, baking powder, bicarb and salt in a large mixing bowl, pour in the wet mixture and combine with a wooden spoon.
  4. Add the chocolate and nuts if using and fold into the mixture.
  5. Spoon the mixture into your loaf cases, fill them to roughly two thirds full as they will rise a lot when baking.
  6. Bake for 45-60 minutes, until you can insert a skewer and pull it out clean. Keep an eye on it throughout and cover with tinfoil if the top starts to brown too quickly to avoid burning.
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