A new year, a clean slate. As I welcomed in the new year, I spent time reflecting on the last year, on where I've been and where I'd like to go. In these moments, I have a tendency to focus on my weaknesses, to identify ways I feel I've come up short to my good intentions. Despite my efforts, my lifestyle leans towards the sedentary, the house is in a constant state of needing to be picked up, and my ever-present sweet tooth continues its habit of getting me into trouble.
This year, instead of fixating on the negative, I intend to look towards the positive, to recognize all the ways I have grown (and can continue to grow). I have no list of resolutions for the new year. Instead, I am working on cultivating a series of intentions—to find the good in stressful situations, to maintain positivity when working with other people, and to push myself to become more skilled at things that I love (like teaching, baking, and woodworking).
Luckily, practice makes perfect. I anticipate my oven will get plenty of work as I develop and play around with new recipes.
In the past, I have been guilty of loading my banana breads with so many extras that the banana flavor can be lost or overpowered. Certainly these versions have their moments—this loaf with a chocolate hazelnut swirl makes for a lovely dessert and this chocolate cacao nib loaf is best for a morning snack—but sometimes it is worth it to tend towards the traditional.
This recipe for Maple Banana Bread is a lighter version of the classic loaf, allowing the flavor and natural sweetness of the banana to shine. With the addition of maple syrup, the sweetness hits a subtle, but pure note. Whole wheat flour is added to bring in whole grains and the loaf is spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg to round out the flavor. As with all of my quick breads, I like to sprinkle a little raw sugar over the top for extra sweetness, giving the loaf something unique.
Maple Banana Bread is a lighter take on the traditional loaf of banana bread. Sweetened with maple syrup and gently spiced, this recipe allows the flavor of the banana to shine. A topping of cinnamon and raw sugar give the loaf additional sweetness and texture. Serve alongside a mug of coffee or tea with breakfast or an afternoon snack.
One Year Ago: Roasted Banana Muffins
Two Years Ago: Coconut Matcha Pudding,
Three Years Ago: Coconut Almond Quinoa
Four Years Ago: Almond Date Banana Smoothie
Five Years Ago: Chocolate (Dairy-Free) Ice Cream, Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal, & Raspberry White Chocolate Scones
Six Years Ago: Peppermint Hot Chocolate, Green Tea Coconut Ice Cream, & Chocolate Lavender Cupcakes
Seven Years Ago: Banana Cinnamon Muffins, Vanilla Pear Milk, Cranberry Chocolate Muffins, & Salted Caramels
Maple Banana Bread
Yields 5 x 9-inch loaf
4 large ripe bananas, mashed (about 2 cups or 450 grams)
1/2 cup (156 grams) pure maple syrup
1/2 cup (100 grams) vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (120 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup (120 grams) whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon raw or demerara sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Thinly sliced banana, for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease a 5 x 9-inch loaf pan. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together mashed banana, maple syrup, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract until uniform. Whisk in the cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually stir in the flours. Set aside.
For the topping, stir together the raw sugar and ground cinnamon. Set aside.
Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth until level. Sprinkle topping evenly over the top. If desired, place two pieces of thinly sliced banana on top for garnish. Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing and placing on a cooling rack to cool completely.