Banana Bread, Muffins or Loaf

Got brown bananas? Let ’em go totally black, just a few more days, for them to be perfect for baking: natural sugars bursting out.

You can make bread loaves or muffins with this recipe; bake loads for a crowd, or a smaller amount for family; gluten free or regular; dairy-free or with butter.

Makes: 12 muffins, or one 2lb loaf (double everything for larger crowds)

Ingredients

  • 3 medium-sized bananas – the blacker, the better
    (use 5 quite large bananas for a double batch)
  • 1 unwaxed lemon: finely grated zest, and juice
  • 80g unsalted butter, cubed and softened; plus additional cold butter to grease tins if making loaves
    (see Dairy-Free footnote for substituting vegetable oil for butter)
  • 100g sugar (soft light brown or golden caster are best; but plain white caster will do)
  • 30g soft dark brown sugar (dark muscavado or molasses sugar are good substitutes for a deeper, richer flavour)
  • 2 large eggs (they should weigh 60-68g each in the shell)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 210g gluten-free plain flour
    (use 200g regular plain flour)
  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves (optional)
  • 20-50g pecans, chopped finely, leaving aside some larger pieces to garnish (optional – see Nuts footnote)

Kit

  • One 12-hole muffin tins and 12 muffin cases; or,
    One 2-pound loaf tin, with baking/parchment paper to fully line
  • 3 mixing bowls, 2 medium and 1 large; plus a small bowl to whisk eggs if necessary
  • Fine citrus grater
  • Citrus juicer
  • Fork or potato masher
  • Electric mixer (hand-held or stand), if not creaming butter+sugar by hand
  • Cooling rack

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C  (165 C fan-assisted). Line muffin tin with paper cases (see footnote for loaves).
  2. Slice thickly or break apart the bananas into a medium bowl and add the lemon juice. Mash with a fork or potato masher to the consistency of chunky applesauce.
  3. Cream together the butter and sugars in a large bowl; add eggs one at a time with the vanilla, and beat until creamy and smooth. (If doing this manually, beat the eggs separately and add some at a time.)
  4. Mix the flour, baking powder, spices, lemon zest, and chopped nuts (if using) with a fork in another medium bowl. Add a third or so at a time to the butter/sugar mixture, alternating with the banana mixture, and beat well manually after each addition.
    Remember, for gluten-free, you don’t have to worry about over-mixing the dry with the wet – in fact, incorporate as much air as you can. If using regular flour, fold carefully JUST until moistened.
  5. Spoon into muffin cases, filling no more than 3/4 full to allow for a good rise. The mixture should ‘dollop’ – i.e., not be runny, but hold its shape as it’s dropped. Place a pecan chunk in the centre of each (optional).
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or so, turning trays halfway through for even baking, until golden brown and a light finger tap on the centre of a few buns springs back quickly. Remove the trays from the oven, remove the muffins from the trays, and place them on a cooling rack to cool.

Nuts
You could use finely chopped walnuts instead of pecans if you prefer, but this recipe is just fine with no nuts at all (or, used only as a garnish).

Loaves
You could make one 9″x5″ bread loaf from this recipe nstead of 12 muffins – just very lightly grease a loaf tin and fully line with paper, and increase the baking time to around 45 minutes. Test with a skewer to ensure it’s fully baked.

Remember with GF loaves to let them cool in the tins before turning them out, as GF bread can be a bit delicate when hot.

Dairy-Free
If you prefer or need to omit the butter, substitute 80g (85ml) vegetable oil for the butter (for a double batch [2 loaves, or 24 muffins]: 160g/175ml).
If doing this:

  1. Add the oil and eggs to the bananas, vanilla, and lemon juice, and mash them all together in a medium mixing bowl.
    To ensure the eggs are fully incorporated, beat/whisk them well in a small bowl before adding.
  2. Add the sugar to the flour and other dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl per Step 4 above.
  3. Add the banana mixture to the dry ingredients and fold together JUST until moistened if doing non-GF; whip together vigourously if making GF.
  4. Use oil instead of butter to grease the loaf tin(s) if making bread.
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