Chai Spice Buckwheat Banana Bread

Banana bread holds a special place in my heart (or should I say stomach?). It was perhaps one of the first sweet treats that I baked independently, without the help of my mum or nanas, taking guidance from only a spiral-bound cookbook illustrated with bubbly cartoon hands stirring batter and cutting warm loaves. It soon became my signature recipe; one that I would bake each week without fail to fill my dad's lunchbox for work, or accompany my mum's mug of tea in the late afternoons. What made it so special was the addition of ginger and cinnamon. I cannot really describe the taste, but it somehow adds a wholeness that makes the sweet slices even more moreish.

This is a modified version of my old classic recipe, made a little bit special with the addition of chai spices such as cardamom and nutmeg, the use of buckwheat flour as opposed to wheat (which also makes it gluten-free and much more nutritious in comparison to its refined counterpart), and Chelsea Organic Coconut Sugar for an added depth of flavour. The best part is that it can be found on supermarket shelves - no prowling around in specialty stores!

Contrary to popular belief, buckwheat is not a grain but the seed of a fruit, which makes it exceptionally nutritious (as if I needed another reason to indulge in a wedge of this glorious loaf). In terms of baking time, it is almost certainly better to undercook the loaf than to turn it into a crumbly rock - other than that's it's essentially a fail-proof recipe! No amount of stirring can toughen this forgiving loaf - bless its tasty little cotton socks.

INGREDIENTS

CHAI SPICE BANANA BREAD
300 grams of ripe banana
½ cup coconut oil
½ cup Chelsea Organic Coconut Sugar
1 1/2 cups of buckwheat flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cardamom
½ tsp ground vanilla bean powder
⅛ tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp of salt
1 ripe banana

MAPLE PEANUT BUTTER
1/4 cup of peanut butter
1-2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon of plant milk
Pinch of cinnamon

TOPPINGS
Strawberries, sliced

METHOD

  1. First preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius bake. Take a medium-sized loaf tin, grease with coconut oil, and line with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the ripe banana with a fork or masher - I like to leave a few chunks for a squishy texture throughout the banana bread. Set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, place the coconut oil and Chelsea Organic Coconut Sugar. Melt together over a low heat, then pour into the large bowl with the mashed bananas and stir together.
  4. Sift the buckwheat flour, cinnamon, ground ginger, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom, and nutmeg into the bowl, and add in the ground vanilla bean powder and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined - no need to fret about over-mixing as there is no gluten in this batter.
  5. Scoop the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and tap on the countertop to release any air bubbles.
  6. Peel the ripe banana, then carefully slice diagonally. Fan the slices out lengthways and lay atop the banana bread batter.
  7. Place the tin in the oven and bake for approximately 30-40 minutes, until the top is dark brown and a skewer comes out almost clean. It is better to remove it from the oven sooner rather than later as a moist banana bread is always more preferable than a dry one.
  8. Once cooled in its tin for around 30 minutes, tip out onto a serving platter or board, slice into thick wedges, and top with the maple peanut butter and sliced strawberries. Enjoy!
FOOD, BAKED GOODSAshlee Adams