Banana, Date, and Almond Bread | Gluten Free

Moist, darkly sweet banana bread studded with chewy, sweet dates and toasted almonds. This is a classic banana bread recipe with a healthy twist.Banana, Date, and Almond Bread | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comMost Sunday mornings I am up and about just after sunrise. I start the day with a run, usually a smoothie or a yoghurt and fruit bowl, and some time alone with a book as the day begins. But some Sundays, my body just craves a later, slower start. This past Sunday I ignored my alarm clock, rose at about 9 and pottered around in my pyjamas eating banana bread and lazing around reading until lunchtime. Slower Sunday mornings are important for nourishing the soul.Banana, Date, and Almond Bread | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comI cut this banana bread into thick, decadent slices, and gobbled two of them down with cups of sweet green tea. I have made quite a few loaves of banana bread in my time, but I think this might be one of my best – and it’s mostly healthy too! There is no added fat in this loaf, instead it is kept moist by Greek yoghurt, eggs, and almond milk. Most of the sweetness in this loaf comes from the natural sugars in the banana, and rich, dark, local honey. I love the way honey and banana are natural partners in baked goods, and in this bread they mingle to create a sweetness similar to the dates that stud each slice. Honey and banana are joined by their good friend brown sugar, which increases the moistness of the banana bread. No fat? No problem in this flavoursome bread!Banana, Date, and Almond Bread | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comI used a combination of my favourite wholemeal gluten free flours to create this loaf: buckwheat, brown rice, white rice, and sorghum flour. These flours are high in fibre, iron, and rich in antioxidants and in combination they create the perfect moist crumb. Each bite of this banana bread is moist and decadent, and between mouthfuls of sweet cinnamon and banana flavoured dough, there are bits of crunchy toasted almonds and chewy dried dates. This is a classic banana bread with a healthy twist, and lots of add-ins to keep things interesting.

I loved each bite of this banana bread, and it was hard not to eat the whole loaf in one sitting! Luckily I’ve stashed most of it in the freezer for my next lazy Sunday morning, or my next farmer’s market breakfast.Banana, Date, and Almond Bread | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Banana, Date, and Almond Bread

Gluten Free | Serves 8 | Leftovers can be frozen, well-wrapped, for up to two months

Ingredients

  • 2 large ripe bananas (~1 1/4 cups mashed)
  • 6 tablespoons (75mL) Greek yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup honey (local is best)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (or your choice of milk)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 55 grams brown rice flour
  • 55 grams white rice flour + 1 teaspoon extra
  • 55 grams buckwheat flour
  • 55 grams sorghum flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup toasted almonds, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line a 9 x 5 inch loaf tin with baking paper.
  2. Mash your bananas in a large mixing bowl. Add the Greek yoghurt, honey, brown sugar, vanilla essence, almond milk, and eggs. Whisk until very well combined.
  3. In a separate medium mixing bowl whisk together brown rice flour, white rice flour, buckwheat flour, sorghum flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined.
  5. In the empty dry ingredients bowl mix together toasted almonds, chopped dates, and extra 1 teaspoon white rice flour until dates and almonds are coated. This will stop the mix-ins from sinking to the bottom.
  6. Add dates and almonds to the batter and mix until distributed.
  7. Pour batter into prepared loaf tin and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
  8. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then turn out and cool completely before slicing thickly and serving.

Banana, Date, and Almond Bread | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola | Gluten Free

I think our granola jar is going to be empty very, very soon. I can’t get enough of this spicy, honey, crunchy, munchy, nutty granola! Oats and buckwheat make friends with pecans, coconut, and dates for a healthy, gluten free breakfast that will help you nourish your mornings.

Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI have become very fussy about what I share with you here on my precious internet home, which is why this post is coming to you today instead of yesterday. I had a muffin recipe all ready to go, and they were good, but just not good enough. Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t going in the bin, they have been stashed in the freezer for quick snacks throughout the week. But I don’t want to share just ‘good enough’ recipes with my big internet Thoroughly Nourished Life family. I want to share the tastiest, the most nourishing, recipes you get excited to step into the kitchen to make. A Thoroughly Nourished diet is one that makes you inspired to eat delicious, healthy food every day with a liberal sprinkling of sugar to keep life sweet. So, no more ‘good enough’ food – just thoroughly nourishing, thoroughly inspiring food for every time of day.Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeTuesday night, after my average muffin effort I knew I had to get back into the kitchen to make something truly amazing so I didn’t lose my kitchen mojo (it’s that little sparkle in every baker’s step). As I was getting breakfasts and lunches ready for the next day I realised that I didn’t feel like my usual oatmeal and fruit, or yoghurt and fruit combinations. I’m not usually an exciting weekday breakfast eater. I stick to those two combinations on rotation and just adjust the fruit to suit the season. So, it’s time to shake things up, time to have another Thoroughly Nourished option: bring on the granola! One of the reasons I stopped eating store-bought granola/muesli is that the gluten free options are Expensive (yes, with a capital E) – my favourite gluten free brand is $10 a box. Not happening.

Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThe result of breakfast boredom + frugality + Nourished Life necessity = Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola. This granola is addictive, and if you squint, it’s kind of like eating a spicy, nutty, coconutty cookie. The buckwheat kernels become toasty and crunchy in the oven, and are a nice addition to the typical oats.  Dates are caramel in fruit form, add some roasted pecans and toasted coconut curls and this is one indulgent and naturally sweet and healthy breakfast sprinkle. Because that’s what granola is: healthy breakfast sprinkles!

I am the only granola eater in our house (Chris is solidly sworn to the toast and peanut butter tribe) so I didn’t want a giant jar of granola that would go off before I had the chance to eat it all, or got bored and moved on to something else for breakfast. So this is a petite jar of granola. Perfect for a week or two, depending on how many granola lovers you have in your house. If you are making granola for more than one or two, this recipe is easily doubled or tripled. It also makes a great gift!

Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeA few important notes:

  • If you are using pecans or coconut that are already roasted you should add these at the end of the baking time when you stir in the dates.
  • If you like your granola extra chunky then do not stir your granola during baking time. Press it down with the back of your spoon and just check to make sure it isn’t burning at regular intervals (see recipe below).
  • If you don’t like pecans or dates feel free to switch them out for your favourite nut and dried fruit combination! Let me know what combinations you try!
  • If you want to make this vegan, you can swap the honey for maple syrup.
  • If you can’t find the buckwheat, feel free to leave it out or substitute another 1/3 cup of rolled oats.

Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifePecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola

Gluten Free | Vegan option | Makes about 2 1/2 cups | Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks

Ingredients

  • 1 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup buckwheat groats (uncooked buckwheat)
  • 1/3 cup pecan halves
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried dates
  • 1/4 cup coconut chips (or shredded coconut)

Method

  1.  Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl stir together oats, buckwheat, pecans, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, salt, and spices until well mixed.
  3. In a small jug whisk together olive oil, honey and vanilla extract.
  4. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and mix carefully with a wooden spoon until the dry ingredients are thoroughly coated.
  5. Spread granola over the lined baking sheet and press down slightly with the back of the spoon to encourage some clumping.
  6. Bake in pre-heated oven for 35-40 minutes. Check and stir every 10 minutes to ensure the granola does not burn.
  7. During the last ten minutes of cooking stir in the dried dates and coconut and return granola to oven.
  8. Once cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool completely before serving or storing.

Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Coffee Banana Date Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

How do you say thank you? Are you a flowers or chocolates person?

Perhaps a nice note? Thank you notes are exciting and old fashioned and polite. No one ever seems to send them anymore. Note to myself: I am extremely guilty of the email thank you note. Next note to self: buy nice thank you notes for future requirements. And stamps.

Anyway, the way I am saying thank you to my workmates for their lovely ‘Get Well’ wishes, and the flowers and chocolates they sent to me is with a tray filled with Coffee Banana Date Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream.

Banana Cupcakes 1

I am also (virtually) sending a tray of these to each and every one of my online friends who messaged me over whichever social network we are connected by to say Get Well. You filled my heart with happiness and kept me company in the night hours. Thank you. I love you. Have a cupcake – actually, have two.

These banana cupcakes are made with leftover bananas that are delicately balanced on the edge of almost rotten. The flesh of the banana needs to be crumbled velvet so that when you peel them they practically mash themselves. If you use younger bananas they will not mash as nicely. Be patient with your bananas. Put them in a paper bag for a few days if you would like to speed up the process.

Banana Cupcake 2

The bananas are paired with melted, cooled butter, coffee, vanilla and dates and baked into a pound cake textured cupcake dotted with plumped-up dates. Then cooled completely and frosted with dark chocolate buttercream. Because thank yous should always be paired with chocolate buttercream.

Coffee Banana Date Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

 For the cupcakes:

  • 125 grams butter
  • 1 cup dates
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 360 grams plain flour
  • 150 grams brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large, very, very ripe bananas mashed (~1 ½ cups)
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ Greek/ natural yoghurt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence

 For the buttercream

  • 150 grams butter, softened
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 3-4 cups icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

To make the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line 2 12-hole muffin pans with cupcake papers.
  2. Place butter in a microwave-safe bowl and melt using short bursts of heat (around 10-15 seconds). Once melted, set aside to cool.
  3. Put dates in a small bowl with boiling water. Leave for 5 minutes, drain well, and then dice dates into small pieces. Spread out on a paper towel and leave to cool.
  4. In a large mixing bowl whisk together plain flour, brown sugar, salt, and baking powder.
  5. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together mashed bananas, milk, Greek yoghurt, and eggs.
  6. Add butter to mashed banana mixture and stir together well.
  7. Add mashed banana mixture to flour and mix until just combined. Do not over-mix. Traces of flour are okay.
  8. Add dates and stir to distribute.
  9. Divide batter between paper cups.
  10. Slide trays into oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, swap position of trays halfway through baking time.
  11. Test cupcakes by pressing lightly on the top. If they bounce back then the cupcakes are done.
  12. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting:

  1. Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Using a stand mixer or handheld mixer beat until light and fluffy. This usually takes around 5 minutes.
  2. Fit a piping bag with a star tip, fill bag with frosting and decorate cooled cupcakes. Alternately you can use a knife to spread the icing thickly on top.

Enjoy!

Banana Cupcakes 5

What are your plans for the weekend friends? Chris and I are lucky enough to be going to two dinner parties! That means double the dessert!

Are you a banana in baked goods person? Obviously from the copious number of banana bread recipes on this site you can tell that I am (get it from my Dad) but Chris isn’t a fan! Oh well, more for me!