By taking a few notes out of Smitten Kitten’s book, and having a look at a lovely banana bread from Sips and Spoonfuls, I’ve come up with what I think is a jolly tasty version of my own. Suspended in the midst of the soft, sweet cake, the added millet grain gives a wonderful crackly crunch alongside the hazelnut pieces. Oh the texture of it. I would offer a piece but the whole lot has been gobbled by the nearest and dearest who love nothing more than kitchen loitering, just for occasions such as these.
The last time I made this type of banana bread was actually for a very special occasion, an occasion equally as special as this one – the arrival of a new family member. The difference is that my little nephew is now old enough to either enjoy or shun said banana bread, having, of course, huge ramifications on my confidence as a banana bread baker. We shall see. The new little one can have the pleasure of waiting to see if I’ve made any improvements by the time she’s old enough to have some. Lucky her.
Jazzed up Banana Bread
Quantities: two loaves
Timings: 1 ½ hours
Kitchen stuff: Electric whisk, mixing bowls, 2 loaf tins
115g (½ cup) butter, room temperature
55g (¼ cup) hazelnut butter (stir if oil has separated) if you have no hazelnut butter, just add 55g more butter
250g (1½ cups) light brown sugar. Include 1-2 tbsp dark brown sugar if you have any.
3 eggs (room temperature)
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp almond extract (optional)
210g (3 cups) all purpose flour
1½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
450g (1½ cups) greek yoghurt
2 tsp lemon juice
(1 ½ cups) mashed bananas - use very ripe, speckly ones (3-4 large bananas, if you have extra, whack it in)
50g (1/3 cup) toasted hazelnuts, skin removed and chopped coarsely
60g (1/3 cup) millet grain
Preheat the oven to 175°C.
1. GREASE LOAFTINS: Grease and flour 2 loaf tins- I used one large one small but two medium will do just fine.
2. MASH & MIX: Mash bananas mixed with lemon juice in a small bowl and set aside. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
3. BEAT IT: Using your electric hand whisk, beat the butters and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla and almond extract. With the mixer speed on low, add the flour mixture alternating with the buttermilk. Stir in the mashed bananas, chopped hazelnuts and millet grain.
4. BAKE IT: Pour batter into prepared pans (not to the top, about 2/3 the way up, leaving space for rising) and bake for 1 hour or so or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake. If you’re using small loaf tins, test after 40 mins. If the top starts going too brown, carefully put a layer of foil on top to stop it burning.
Leave to cool a tad then slice that fella up. If you're feeling crazy, when he's warm, eat with a dollop of mascarpone or a slick of Nutella. YUM.