Monday, February 2, 2015

Maple Spiced Whole Wheat Banana Bread

Monday and Friday mornings I'm up before the crack of dawn.  Noah has basketball practice at 5:45 am and because Todd is the assistant coach he goes with Noah.  I normally don't leave our house until 5:40 am, but because Preston is not in love with the idea of being home alone with just Stella in the wee hours of the morning and so my alarm goes off at 4:20 am on basketball practice mornings.  This gives me enough time to run and be back as Todd and Noah are leaving for practice.  4:20 am is early, really, really early, but I kind of have a love-hate relationship with being up at that time of day.  I'm tired, yes, but I really like being done and home from running by 5:45.  It's amazing what you can accomplish in the early hours of the morning.  The past couple of Friday mornings I've made this banana bread and my house smells heavenly by 7 am and no one except Preston complains when we get to have warm banana bread for breakfast.  (Noah usually grabs a thick slice with a great deal of butter on it (can you guess what books Stella and I have been reading...Mercy Watson) as he hustles out the door to catch the bus for school.)  

Maple Spiced Whole Wheat Banana Bread

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 eggs
1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 large bananas)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup hot water
1 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan and line with parchment with parchment overhanging the edges of the pan.

In a large bowl, beat oil and maple syrup together.  Add eggs and beat well.  Stir in vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom.  Add bananas and mix until just combined.   

Add baking soda to hot water, stir to mix.  Add to the baking soda water to the banana mixture and mix to combine.  Next, stir in the flour until just combined. Stir chopped chocolate into batter.  Be careful to not over mix.  Spread batter into greased loaf pan and sprinkle with toasted hazelnuts.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until the bread is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Let the bread cool for 5 minutes before removing it from the pan.  Let cool for 30 minutes before slicing if you can wait that long (we couldn't).

*This recipe is inspired by Cookie and Kate's whole wheat banana bread

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