You know what I love, little buns? Well… A lot of things. I have a big heart, you see! Lotsa room for loving lotsa people and lotsa things! Aside from the obvious humans and dog up the top of my love list, you’ll also find things like hot chocolate on windy days, the smell of a fresh book, finding a new show to binge watch and peeling off the paper on a new tub of butter. So satisfying.
The two things I love that have to do with this post? My best friend Mez and one-bowl recipes.
What do either of them have to do with this recipe, you ask? Well, this recipe is a one-bowl recipe (the best kind!) and I’ll have you know that banana, date and walnut loaf just happens to be one of Mez’s favourite things to eat.
I love Mez more than I love this, or any other recipe. We’ve been best friends since we were in Year 10 when she started at our school as a boarder from Nowra. You know the old tale; day girl meets boarder, they become pals and live happily ever after? I don’t remember how it happened, but we became best friends almost instantly. We were attached at the hip! You guys, do you remember when you would go to the canteen and ask your friend to come with you… And they’d be all reluctant so you’d be all, "I’ll buy you something if you come with me!" Mez didn’t even want me to buy her anything! She would just come along because she loved me! (I always did get her something, though. Canteen snacks are always better shared together!)
My little boo is fierce, funny, smart and loyal. She’s more beautiful than the leading lady in ANY TV show or movie but she doesn’t even know it. I love her so much. I wish I could marry her. And I just thought the blogosphere should know that, okay?!
So, onto this delicious loaf of banana, date and walnutty goodness. I do love a good slice of banana bread, but I always find they lack a lil’ somethin’ somethin’. I used to bake a loaf and have a slice with butter and think, "Yeah, this is good but it’s missing something."
And, by George, did I figure out what it was! Well, kind of. It’s not like I invented date and walnut bread… And Mez didn’t either. But I thought back to all the times Mez would text me, telling me she’d just popped out to get a coffee and date and walnut bread and that was that! It was decided.
My favourite thing about this recipe (other than the fact that it’s all made in the one bowl, and of course that it’s little Mezzi Moo’s favourite), is that it’s so easy to make! You don’t need any fancy equipment or even have to be particularly good at baking. You just plop all of the ingredients in a bowl, give it a stir and pour it into a loaf tin! (And bake it, of course. You can’t just eat raw banana bread batter, you silly sod! Well, you can… But this particular batter has 3 raw eggs in it so I wouldn’t recommend!)
Now… Fair warning. There are two downsides to this recipe… It takes a while to bake in the oven… Up to an hour and a half. And then you have to wait until it’s cooled completely to slice it… BUT it’s so worth the wait, I pinky promise!
As long as you take that into consideration before you begin, you’ll be laughing! Hopefully at something funny in particular, like a comedy special or a joke book… Otherwise it can be a bit worrisome if you’re laughing to yourself for no reason.
Banana, Date & Walnut Loaf
Yield: 1 delicious loaf tin’s worth of goodness
– 3 or 4 bananas (about 1 1/2 cups worth), plus 1 more for the top (optional)
– 1/2 cup pitted, chopped medjool dates (dried should be fine, though!)
– 1/2 cup vegetable oil or extra virgin olive oil
– 3 large eggs
– 1 cup brown sugar*
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1 1/2 cups self raising flour
– 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon**
– Pinch of fine sea salt
– 1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts***
* Depending on how sweet you like it, you can add more or less! I’ve tried this recipe with 1 1/2 cups brown sugar and 3/4 cup, but found 1 cup was the perfect amount of sweetness for me. Totally up to you!
** You can also add a pinch of other spices that you like, such as nutmeg or all-spice. Fun!
*** I put mine in a ziplock bag, close it almost all the way and bash them a tiny bit with the end of a rolling pin. Good stress release!
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius/160 fan forced. Lightly grease a loaf tin with olive oil spray or butter and line with baking paper. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas using a potato masher. (A fork will also do the trick!) Add chopped dates, oil, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla extract and stir well.
3. Add flour, cinnamon, sea salt and walnuts and gently fold into the wet ingredients. Fold until everything is just incorporated; if you stir too much, it’ll make the loaf tough!
4. Pour mixture into prepared loaf tin and if using, slice the extra banana in half lengthways and pop on top. Sprinkle with an extra dash of cinnamon and place in preheated oven. Bake for 45 minutes, then cover the top with foil to ensure it doesn’t burn. Pop it back into the oven for an extra 15 minutes and check to see if it’s cooked by inserting a skewer into the middle. If it comes out clean, it’s done! If it comes out wet, you’ll need to pop it back in for anywhere from 10 minutes to an extra half hour. All ovens are different, so check it every 10 minutes. Then you’ll know how long it’ll take next time you make it, you see?
5. Once it’s cooked through, leave for 10 minutes in the loaf pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Then you can finally slice it and enjoy!
Man, oh man. There are so many different ways you can enjoy this!
Try it toasted or warmed through and topped with:
– Salted butter (classic!)
– Greek yoghurt and blueberry compote
– Cream cheese and honey
– Ricotta and honey (I can’t have ricotta but you should go nuts!)
– Mascarpone and berries
If you have another favourite way to enjoy this, please let me know in the comments, little loves!