Banana Hazelnut Bread

I have neglected my poor blog lately! I decided to take a bit of an extended break while I finished up my undergrad degree… and I am officially done! Come June 12, I will have a Bachelor’s diploma in my hand and a huge smile on my face. Right now, though, all I have to worry about is an entire summer stretching out ahead of me… bliss!

I can’t say that I cooked a lot while I was studying for my exam and writing my final paper, but I did manage to whip up a few snacks and meals here and there. I am really looking forward to cooking for myself more now that I’ve finished my coursework. I have big plans for May, including some Spring cleaning in my apartment (it looks like a tornado landed in here…) and in my tummy. I’m aiming for fresher food with lots of produce, vegetable-based proteins, and as little refined sugar as possible.

But enough about that and on to the recipe!

This particular loaf got me through a week of breakfasts, and was inspired by my mom’s recipe for hazelnut cake (which I’ve blogged about before). That cake is so nutty and sweet, I can’t get enough of it! Or maybe I can — after all, it is cake, and often I’d prefer a healthier alternative — that’s where this bread comes in. The nuts improve the bread’s nutritional profile as they are a source of protein, so this is probably one of the best candidates when it comes to having a baked goodie for breakfast.

Banana Hazelnut Bread

1 ripe banana
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp honey (optional)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1 cup whole hazelnuts
1 cup + 2 tsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat your oven to 350º. Grease a loaf pan with a small amount of butter or vegetable oil and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, mash the banana. Add the sugar, honey, vegetable oil, milk, and eggs, and whisk together until well blended.

3. In your food processor, grind the hazelnuts to a fine crumb. Add 2 tsp of flour to the mixture and grind again. The flour will help prevent the hazelnuts from clumping when you add them to your dry ingredients.

4. Combine the ground hazelnuts, the rest of the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon in another bowl. Stir with a fork until the mixture is uniform.

5. Add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until the ingredients are blended. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the bread is golden brown and a knife inserted into the centre of the bread comes out clean.

6. Cool the bread slightly before removing from the pan, then slice it and enjoy it warm at any time of day!

Note: no pictures today, as exam-time Lara didn’t have her wits about her to take any… next time!

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