Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cranberry Banana Bread

Cranberry Banana Bread

I purchased more walnuts, pecans and cranberries than I needed for my Christmas baking, so I decided today that I would do a bit of baking to use them up.

I made two loaves of this bread, one with walnuts and the other with pecans.  We will keep one of the loaves for ourselves and take the other to my Dad's house tomorrow for my son's family  birthday celebration.

The first thing you need to do is pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.   My oven is really slow to heat up, so I can have a cup of tea while I am waiting for it to get up to the required temp.  It doesn't take long to mix this bread, so you will want to wait until the oven is ready.

In a large mixing bowl, place 1 and  2/3 of a cup of flour.  You can combine all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour if you like.  This is a forgiving recipe.

Add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Then add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger.   Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Then add 1/2 cup of vegan-friendly granulated sugar.

Add 1/2 cup of chopped dried cranberries, or 1/2 cup of chopped fresh cranberries if you like a loaf that has tart bits in it.

Finally, add 1/2 cup of chopped nuts.  I put walnuts in one loaf and pecans in the other.

Stir your dry ingredients together.

In another large mixing bowl, mash three ripe bananas.  You need about 1 1/4 cups of banana, and I have found that three bananas is the right amount for that.

Add 1/2 of unsweetened apple sauce - this is the egg substitute.
Use a homemade or commercial egg replacer such as Ener-G - this is what I do now!

And 3 tablespoon of canola oil.

Mix these wet ingredients together well.

Other tasty additions to his batter could be raisins, or currants or coconut, candied citrus peel - the list is endless, really.

Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir until well combined, and until there are no pockets of dry ingredients lurking in the mixture.

You can use a stand mixer or a hand mixer for this, but I stirred by hand.   It will seem like a dry-ish batter for a little while, but it does come together nicely after some stirring.

Prepare a loaf pan in your usual way - I used canola oil in a mister to spray my pans.

Carefully spoon the batter into your loaf pan, and place it on the middle shelf of the oven.  Oven temperatures can vary greatly I have found.   The loaf takes anywhere from 45 minutes to
1 hour to cook.   I set my timer for 50 minutes and do the first doneness check at that time, and if it needs more time I check at 5 minute intervals.

Your loaf is done when a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean and dry.

Allow your loaf to cool in the pan on a wire rack for about ten minutes, then carefully slide it out of the pan to continue cooling on the wire rack.   When the loaf is perfectly cool, you can wrap it in waxed paper.  It will keep nicely, if wrapped,  for a few days.  That's the theory.   In practice, the loaf is unlikely to last that long because it will be eaten within hours, if not minutes!

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