There is never a wrong time to eat banana bread, and rarely a loaf we don’t love. Food Network host Nigella Lawson’s version, which can be found in her new book Simply Nigella: Feel Good Food ($20; amazon.com) is no exception, going above and beyond with the addition of cardamom and cacao nibs for a smokier finish. Another bonus? Lawson cuts back on sugar in the recipe so you can eat the bread for breakfast guilt-free. Plus, it’s banana bread, so it’s basically a fruit… right? Hear how she crafts the morning treat with the info below.
Breakfast Banana Bread with Cardamom and Cacao Nibs
Makes: 12 generous slices
2 very ripe or overripe bananas (approx. ¾ cup mashed)
2 extra large eggs
¾ cup plain (runny) yogurt or buttermilk
½ cup light and mild olive oil
2 cups plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup light brown sugar (increase to 2¼ cups for a sweeter loaf)
1¼ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cardamom, or seeds from 1 tbsp cardamom pods, ground
½ cup cacao nibs
1 x 2-lb loaf pan approximately 9 x 6½ x 3 inches
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF, and put a paper liner into your loaf pan (or line the bottom with parchment paper and grease the sides with a little vegetable oil).
2. I do the whole thing using a freestanding mixer, but a bowl and an electric whisk, or a wooden spoon and plenty of elbow grease would be fine. Mash the bananas (and if you’re not using a freestanding mixer, use a fork and a smallish bowl first, otherwise the flat paddle of a freestanding mixer will do) and beat in 1 egg at a time, followed by the yogurt or buttermilk, then the oil, and beat it all together. I measure the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and cardamom into a bowl, and whisk together, while this is going on.
3. Slow the speed down while you add the dry ingredients, gradually, beating all the while, and then turn the speed slightly higher again, and beat for 1 minute until all the dry ingredients are incorporated. You may have to scrape the bowl down and give a short final beat if you notice any flour sticking to the edges of the bowl. Then, using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, fold in the cacao nibs by hand and transfer the mixture to your prepared pan and thence to the oven for 1 hour (it is wise to start checking at 45 minutes) or until a cake tester comes out clean.
4. Sit the loaf pan on a wire rack and leave the banana bread in the pan until cold. Slip it out, in its paper liner (or parchment paper), and wrap with more parchment and then aluminum foil and keep for a day – if you can – before eating.
Store Note: Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 1 week.
Freeze Note: Can be frozen for up to 3 months. Wrap cake in a double layer of plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil. To thaw, unwrap and put on a wire rack at room temperature for about 5 hours. Or wrap individual slices in plastic wrap and put into a resealable bag, and thaw by toasting on a low heat.