In the mood for something to pair with that gingerbread latte? Almost any sweet cake, bread or cookie can go with the coffee drink, but with the Christmas season approaching, this seems like as good a time as any to play up the gingerbread flavor by matching the drink with an equally seasonal treat. In this case, I’m talking about banana gingerbread.
Banana gingerbread, as you might expect, is a hybrid between gingerbread and banana bread. It has a sweet banana-y flavor and a richer molasses-y one, all rolled into the same delicious quickbread. While there is a lot going on in the bread, the overall effect of this combination is pretty mild, so this bread will probably appeal to fans of both gingerbread and banana bread, even if s/he isn’t normally a fan of one of the two products. If you are a fan of both, of course, so much the better.
Like most banana breads, this one is moist and a bit on the dense side, thanks to the generous amount of banana puree in the batter. The bread isn’t heavy, fortunately, so the denseness makes it hold up exceptionally well to being served with strong coffee or tea, and makes it sturdy enough that you can easily spread a slice (toasted or plain) with butter or cream cheese. The recipe calls for quite a few different spices, but it is not crucial to use the same amounts of those ingredients that I did. If you like more cinnamon or less allspice, feel free to modify the amounts to suit your own tastes. That said, I would still recommend including a pinch of cardamom and at least a pinch of allspice in addition to whatever else you decide to use.
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon (sub for 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice)
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
pinch freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup banana, mashed (about 2 large)
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup buttermilk
4 tbsp vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, banana, molasses, buttermilk and vegetable oil. Pour into dry ingredients and stir until just ombined. Pour into prepared pan and sprinkle with coarse sugar, if desired.
Bake for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Makes 1 loaf, 8-10 slices.