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

Orange Hazelnut Quick Bread | Gluten Free

My new favourite quick bread recipe. Each bite is earthly sweet with hazelnut meal, brightened with winter sunshine captured in home grown oranges, and fluffy, light, and tender as can be. Orange Hazelnut Quick Bread  | Gluten Free |Thoroughly Nourished LifeSaturday morning in Toowoomba dawned cold and bright. Chris and I snuggled in a cloud of blankets and squishy pillows, still lulled by glasses of Jameson and slices of cheesy pizza the night before. When we tiptoed down the hallway we were instantly sighted by Tilly (the energetic black staffy owned by Chris’s sister Rosie, and her boyfriend Jordan) who shot towards us like a bullet and gifted us with a flurry of puppy kisses. There’s no greeting like a puppy greeting. Warm mugs of sweet English breakfast tea in hand we stood out in the fresh morning air and looked out over the fields behind their house. The mist of the morning clearing under the warm steady strength of a winter sun. Warm from the inside out with a cool breeze on our face. It was a moment too good to ruin with Instagram. The world was at peace.Orange Hazelnut Quick Bread  | Gluten Free |Thoroughly Nourished LifeBefore we left for Brisbane that day Jordan harvested oranges and lemons from his flourishing citrus trees and even a dusky green head of broccoli. Bounty from family gardens is a special gift. Imperfect globes, nubbly, and all manner of shapes. They are garden perfect and sweet.

Sunday morning in Brisbane dawned cold and bright too. While Chris snuggled in I set out for a walk along the bay. I tipped my face up to the sun and let the sea breeze carry me all the way home. All the way home to my warm little kitchen with the windows open to the ocean and the sun-warmed porch and chair. Home to grate orange zest and rub it into sugar to help it release precious aromatic oils, to beat together eggs, yoghurt, and milk. Pour into a bowl with hazelnut meal and wholemeal flours. Spread into a pan, baked while I read in the porch chair curled tightly into the story of Werner and Marie-Laure. The bread rises and bakes through, and steams when I cut the first slice, which I eat standing in the kitchen, smelling oranges and feeling the world, my little world, totally at peace.Orange Hazelnut Quick Bread  | Gluten Free |Thoroughly Nourished LifeI love making gluten free quick breads. They are so easy and the flavour options are endless. They make great weekend breakfasts, or weekday lunch box treats. With few ingredients and a simple method, quick breads are a great place to start your gluten free baking journey. My Orange Hazelnut Quick Bread is based on, you guessed it, hazelnut meal, and the hazelnut flavour is further enhanced with a touch of Frangelico. You can leave out this hazelnut liqueur if you would like. Just replace it with a tablespoon of orange juice instead.  Orange zest is our second major flavour. The secret to bright orange flavour? Rub the orange zest into the sugar to help release the essential oils! Like many of my quick bread recipes yoghurt keeps this bread light and airy, but moist, with a slight tang. Greek yoghurt is a major player in successful gluten free baking as it replaces some of the protein (usually provided by gluten) that is important for structure in baked goods.

This moist and airy gluten free quick bread is best on the day it is made, or the next day. It is also delightful sliced, toasted and spread with butter. And, if you have some, this bread would be brought to heavenly heights with a swipe of Nutella…Orange Hazelnut Quick Bread  | Gluten Free |Thoroughly Nourished Life

Orange Hazelnut Quick Bread

Gluten Free | Makes 8-10 slices | Will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for up to three days | Freeze well-wrapped for up to two months

Ingredients

  • 100 grams brown rice flour
  • 80 grams white rice flour
  • 100 grams hazelnut meal
  • 60 grams buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • Zest 2 oranges
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup Greek/natural yoghurt
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons rice bran oil (or other flavourless vegetable oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 tablespoon Frangelico (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F). Butter and line a 9 x 5 inch loaf tin. Set aside until required.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together brown rice flour, white rice flour, hazelnut meal, buckwheat flour, salt, and baking powder.
  3. In a separate medium mixing bowl rub orange zest into caster sugar until combined. This helps release the oils from the orange skin and enhances flavour.
  4. Add milk, yoghurt, eggs, rice bran oil, vanilla essence, and Frangelico (if using). Whisk until smooth.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  6. Pour batter into prepared tin and smooth top slightly.
  7. Place in oven and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  8. Remove loaf from oven and allow to cool in tin for 10 minutes before removing and allowing to cool on a rack before slicing.

Orange Hazelnut Quick Bread  | Gluten Free |Thoroughly Nourished Life

Mandarin Strawberry Chia Bread

Meet my latest quick bread creation – a combination of mandarin, strawberry and crunchy chia seeds!

I love quick breads. When you need something easy, sweet and not-too-fancy a quick bread is the perfect solution. Quick breads easily adapt to the season at hand and make a great breakfast, snack, or dessert solution. At the moment my inbox is being flooded with amazing pumpkin and sweet potato creations from my northern hemisphere internet friends, and I am trying to stave off seasonally-inappropriate cravings by focusing on the fresh spring flavours that are appearing in my local markets. It’s all about focusing on being grateful for what nature is laying down right in front of you.

Strawberry and Chia Bread | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

This Mandarin Strawberry Chia Bread is what happens when you combine the freshest spring strawberries with peak of the season mandarins. I think we already know that I love any citrus and poppy seed combination (see here, here, or here), so chia seeds are a fresh new take on my seedy trend provide the subtle crunch I crave among the fluffy moist crumbs.

Strawberry and Chia Bread | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeQuick breads are one of the easiest gluten free treats to make too! If you are new to gluten free baking I would definitely recommend starting off here. When you take away the gluten present in wheat flour structure and sustained rise can be an issue: quick breads still contain eggs for binding and structure, and baking powder for rise. When you use the right combination of gluten free flours (see my preferred mix below) your end product will be just as fluffy and moist as a gluten-containing product. No soggy, gluggy messes here! Just fresh mandarin flavoured batter studded with sweet strawberries with the crunchy goodness of chia seeds.

Of course, if you are not baking for gluten free tummies then you can substitute the total weight of gluten free flours for plain flour.

Strawberry and Chia Bread | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Mandarin Strawberry Chia Bread

Gluten free | Makes one 9 x 5 inch loaf tin | Leftovers will keep well-wrapped at room temperature for up to three days, or well-wrapped in the freezer for up to two months

Ingredients:

  • 100 grams brown rice flour
  • 100 grams almond meal
  • 80 grams white rice flour
  • 60 grams buckwheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds (I had white ones, but black would work too)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons rice bran oil (or other flavourless vegetable oil)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 mandarin
  • Juice of 1 mandarin
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 250 grams small strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1 tablespoon white rice flour

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line a 9×5 inch loaf tin with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the brown rice flour, almond meal, white rice flour, buckwheat flour, salt, baking powder and chia seeds.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together buttermilk, eggs, rice bran oil, vanilla, mandarin juice, mandarin zest and caster sugar until completely smooth.
  4. Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined.
  5. Toss strawberries with white rice flour, this will stop them from sinking in the cake. Gently stir strawberries through batter.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan. Place in oven and bake for 50 – 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Remove from oven and take out of tin. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

Strawberry and Chia Bread | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Raspberry and Coconut Loaf (gluten free)

Chris and I are going away later this week. We are not travelling far, nor for very long, but we are taking a break and getting out of town. We need some time away from our respective offices, ringing phones, and schedules. Some time just to walk on the beach, lie about with a book, and snooze in the midday sunshine. We are lucky enough to be able to go up to the Sunshine Coast and spend a few days there in a midwinter recharge before we come back and finish off our holidays with a few days of stay-cation.

Usually when I have a few days of holiday I set myself lofty goals to achieve, and I end up stressing myself out when I don’t achieve them all. This time I am setting myself only one goal: take each day as it comes and treat each one as a gift. I am going for low stress, high relaxation reward and maximum time in the winter sunshine.

Raspberry and Coconut Loaf | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I baked this loaf last Friday night while I was home alone rattling around in the kitchen listening to podcasts. Jess and I enjoyed thick slices with our warm beverages on Saturday morning at the markets and the rest of the loaf is tightly wrapped and waiting in the freezer for slow, lazy holiday breakfasts where I have time to linger with a book and a whole pot of tea to myself. I might even pack a slice or two to nibble when I get back from a morning beach walk. It feels like a holiday bread: coconut and fruit always remind me of waving palm trees and cool waves lapping against the sand.

Raspberry and Coconut Loaf | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

The coconut in this cake is subtle but layered. Coconut milk, coconut essence, coconut flour, and toasted shredded coconut are all featured and the creamy sweetness is paired with slightly tart raspberries in a breakfast bread that is not too sweet. The crumb is fluffy from the presence of the coconut milk and coconut flour, the top of the bread is browned and sweet like all good crusts should be. Each bite is filled with strands of toasted coconut that lend a little crunch. It pairs perfectly with a cappuccino, or a pot of Irish breakfast tea. This is a quickly made quick bread too. I whisked the ingredients together in about 15 minutes and the largest amount of time was taken up by the baking, which the oven took care of while I put my feet up and started a new book.

Raspberry and Coconut Loaf | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

A few notes before baking: this loaf is gluten free, so that everyone in my house (especially me) can enjoy a slice. If you do not require it to be gluten free you can always use 280 grams (about two cups) of plain flour in place of the brown rice flour, white rice flour, and almond meal. I would not suggest replacing the coconut flour as it is important to the texture and flour of the loaf. Coconut flour is becoming easier to find now too. You can buy it from health food stores, and recently I discovered two different brands in my local supermarket. If you are using frozen raspberries do not thaw them before adding them to the mixture. When thawed they are very fragile and break up easily, which will discolour your batter. You can buy pre-toasted coconut strands in the supermarket, but I save my money and toast my own. Simply spread out onto a cookie sheet and toast in the oven as it preheats. Shake every minute or two to ensure the coconut colours evenly. Toast until most strands are changed from white to a light tan. Remove from oven and allow to cool until required. Now, I think you’re ready to get into the baking!

Raspberry and Coconut Loaf | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Raspberry and Coconut Loaf

Gluten Free | Makes 8-10 slices | Will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for up to three days | Freeze well-wrapped for up to two months

Ingredients

  • 100 grams brown rice flour + 1 tablespoon extra
  • 80 grams white rice flour
  • 100 grams almond meal
  • 60 grams coconut flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk (not coconut cream)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice bran oil (or other flavourless vegetable oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon coconut essence
  • 2/3 cup toasted shredded coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups raspberries fresh or frozen (not thawed)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F). Butter and line a 9 x 5 inch loaf tin. Set aside until required.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together brown rice flour, white rice flour, almond meal, coconut flour, salt, and baking powder.
  3. Reserve 1 tablespoon of coconut to top the bread and whisk the remainder through the dry ingredients.
  4. In a separate medium mixing bowl whisk together milk, coconut milk, eggs, caster sugar, rice bran oil, vanilla essence, and coconut essence. Whisk until well combined.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  6. In a small bowl combine raspberries and extra tablespoon of brown rice flour. Shake until all berries are covered. This will stop them from sinking in the batter.
  7. Gently stir berries into batter. Take care not to break them up too much.
  8. Pour batter into prepared tin and smooth top slightly. Sprinkle reserved coconut across top.
  9. Place in oven and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  10. Remove loaf from oven and allow to cool in tin for 10 minutes before removing and allowing to cool on a rack before slicing.

Raspberry and Coconut Loaf | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Breakfast Bread

Now that I live out of home (yes, I am a late bloomer) I look forward to sleepovers at my parent’s house (still home in my mind) all the more. I look forward to snuggling in my bed, which is temporarily housed there until we move into our new home. On Saturday mornings, especially in late autumn, I look forward to rugging up in a jumper or two and heading out to the farmer’s markets with Mum and Jess for breakfast and lady talk. We have been market regulars for nearly five years now and we are firmly settled into our routine: Mum gets the newspapers and finds a table, Jess gets her giant bucket of tea from the Dutch pancake people, and I line up for Mum’s and my cappuccinos. Then we all congregate around the table Mum has found and share stories of our week, problem solve any issues that are pending in our lives, and eat something to fortify us before we forage. Mum is a free spirit and wanders off to try something new for breakfast every week while Jess and I tend to eat something that I have baked and brought from home. On the menu this week is this soft banana, peanut butter and mixed fruit enhanced Breakfast Bread.

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I baked this loaf late last night and wrapped it up safely this morning for its journey home. It feels like a breakfast bread, peanut butter, bananas, and dried fruit; the weight and heft of the slices call for chilled morning air and cold hands wrapped around a warm beverage. Quick breads take very well to being made gluten free and this one is moist and soft. No worry about dry crumbly bread here with bananas, eggs, peanut butter and almond meal in the mix. The overripe mashed bananas are the backbone of the sweetness in this loaf, with a touch more being added by the brown sugar. There’s the goodness of crunchy peanut butter in there and if you toast a slice of this and slather some extra peanut butter on there you might just find nirvana. I love a good dried fruit mix especially in dense sweet breakfast bread like this, but if you don’t (like Mum) you can leave it out, or swap it for the same amount of chocolate chips. This bread, if made on a Friday night or Saturday morning will see you all the way through a late autumn weekend: with tea and butter for breakfast, a sneaky slice for morning tea, and then another to tide you over until dinner. A healthy snack for kids, who especially like the version with chocolate chips, or so I hear.

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Breakfast Bread

Gluten Free. Makes one 9 x 5 inch loaf. Around 8-10 slices.

Ingredients

  • 100 grams brown rice flour
  • 70 grams almond meal
  • 70 grams sorghum flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 large very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup mixed dried fruit

 Method

  1.  Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line a 9 x 5 inch baking tin with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together brown rice flour, almond meal, sorghum flour, salt, and baking powder.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together milk, bananas, eggs, olive oil, vanilla extract, and brown sugar. Make sure there are no lumps of brown sugar hiding in your mix.
  4. Add peanut butter to the egg mixture and beat until smooth.
  5. Make a well in the centre of your dry ingredients and add wet ingredients. Stir until just combined.
  6. Gently stir in mixed dried fruit until distributed. Do not over mix.
  7. Spoon batter into prepared pan and smooth the top.
  8. Place in preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. If it starts to brown too quickly cover the top with some aluminium foil.
  9. The bread is done when a wooden skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  10. Remove from oven. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove and allow to cool on a rack.

Bread will keep in an airtight container for up to three days or sliced, wrapped and frozen for up to two months.

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