This was our first baking endeavour in our new kitchen with our new oven. Besides the fact that I had missed baking, I needed to bake something to bring to our first ever dinner party in UAE…and as a family. If you’ve never been to a dinner party with 6 kids before, you should try it. It’s actually quite a lot of fun. There were also chickens, cats and yes parents, too but that’s all for another post. (Can you guess where I’ll be getting my free-range, organic eggs from?)
So, I HAD to bake something and since I’ve been working on versions of this banana bread for years now, it has become my default recipe to gift. The only hiccup was that I could not find vanilla extract anywhere in this country. When I commented on this seemingly odd fact, my husband reminded me that it’s because of the alcohol content. So, no vanilla extract but loads of “vanilla flavor”…nein danke. (If you think you’ll be seeing a recipe for homemade vanilla extract soon, you know me all too well:)
Regardless, the banana bread emerged smelling promising. I increased the cinnamon to compensate a bit for flavor and did the same with the honey instead of using maple syrup or agave. The result was, well let’s just say there was a lot of silence and not a crumb to be found. This is music to any cook’s ears!
Honey is an incredible sweetener. And, it has an incredible story. Bees feast on flowers and carry the nectar from their feast in their mouths to the hive. The nectar mixes with the bees’ saliva, which has special enzymes to turn it into honey. The flutter of the busy bees’ wings provides enough air to keep the honey from collecting too much moisture, making it just perfect for us to consume! Read more about it here.
The enzymes are why raw honey is superior to other pasteurized and processed honeys. Honey in its raw state is chock full of anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. It also has anti-inflammatory properties which should be ringing all kinds of bells as far as health is concerned! (Remember, inflammation is often the root cause of MANY, MANY oft preventable illnesses.) And, in case you were wondering, yes, there are anti-oxidants in there, too. In ancient Egypt, honey was used to dress wounds and more recently, Manuka Honey especially is still being used as an effective treatment for burns. Honey has a low Glycemic Index which means that the sugars enter the bloodstream slowly and steadily allowing the body time to deal with processing it. This makes it a much healthier sweetener and one suitable for diabetics…in moderation!
It’s also a great sweetener for kids. (Just be aware that it is advised that honey not be given to babies under one year of age.) It’s sweet without that artificial-tasting sweet. Trust me, it makes a difference!
1 C spelt flour
1/2 C oat flour
1/4 Ground Flax Seeds
1 T cinnamon
2 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/2 t sea salt
3 very ripe bananas
1/2 C raw honey (if you have it:)
2 large organic eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 C unrefined extra-virgin coconut oil or melted unsalted butter (organic &/or pastured if you have it:)
1/2 C chopped walnuts (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a 8.5″X4.5″ bread loaf pan with parchment paper. (I made 3 smaller ones, but this recipe will make one nice sized loaf.)
2. Mix all dry ingredients thoroughly.
3. In a medium bowl, mash bananas well, add honey and stir to combine. Let sit for a few minutes before adding the eggs and oil (butter). Then combine all well.
4. Make a well in the center of flour mixture and add wet mixture. Stir to combine but don’t over mix.
5. Add mixture to loaf pan and top with walnuts.
6. Bake in oven for 45-50 minutes or until top and edges are golden brown. It’s a good idea to turn the bread around midway through baking time for a more evenly baked and moist loaf.