almond chai banana bread

Almond Chai Banana Bread

The plight of the spleenless: I have been sick for almost the past three weeks now! Believe me when I say how miserable it is. Every winter, I usually have one cold that spikes a fever, then I’ll feel like I’m on the mend when BAM, I’ll have laryngitis and a horrible cough for days at a time. Right now, I’m feeling as though I’m finally on the mend, but with apprehension. Haaaa.

I have NOT wanted to cook, bake, or even go into my kitchen to pour a glass of water in these past few weeks. I’ve been so listless, as these illnesses leave me feeling more drained than an iPhone after five minuets on Snapchat. I’ve been utilizing the help of handsome men and the wonder that is Seamless to feed me during my illness; my local Indian restaurant’s delivery guy and I are very well acquainted at this juncture.

Now that my energy levels are on the rise again, the urge to get into my kitchen has returned. Thank goodness, because I have so many ripe bananas begging to be turned into bread!

almond chai banana bread

I wanted to shake it up a little bit; I’ve made a slightly more health-conscious banana bread recipe on this blog before, but I wanted to play around with flavors this time. As wonderful as banana bread is, its flavor and texture can be a little boring. Luckily, many other flavors complement banana well. I’ve had my industrial-sized bottle of Dona Chai chillin’ in the back of my fridge for a few weeks now, and I’ve got more sliced almonds than I know what to do with! Though I originally wanted to add slivered almonds to the batter, mine were a little funky-smelling, so I opted to top my bread with sliced almonds.

almond chai banana bread

The result was a bread that turned out not overly sweet and a tad spicy. It’s a welcomed change!

Almond Chai Banana Bread
(Makes One Loaf)

Ingredients:

– 3 very ripe bananas, peeled
– 5 tablespoons butter, melted
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 1/4 cup sugar
– 1/4 cup chai concentrate (I used Dona Chai)
– 1 large egg, beaten
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1 & 3/4 cups flour
– Pinch of black pepper (optional)
– 1/4 cup sliced almonds

Before We Get Started…

– This recipe will will an standard loaf pan (8 & 1/2″ x 4 & 1/2″ x 2 1/2″).

– If you prefer a sweeter banana bread, increase sugar to 1/2 cup. Many other chai concentrates have added sugar, so read your labels to keep the sweetness of your bread where you desire.

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease bread pan or line with parchment paper. Set aside.

2.) Take 1/2 banana and cut 10 – 12 slices. Set aside.

3.) In a large bowl, add flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, flour, and pepper; whisk until incorporated.

4.) In a separate large bowl, mash remaining bananas with a fork until they are as smooth as possible. Add melted butter to bananas and mix to combine; add vanilla, chai concentrate, and egg and mix until combined.

5.) Slowly add dry mixture into the wet mixture 1/2 cup at a time; mix until batter is uniform.

6.) Pour batter into prepared bread pan. Top with banana slices and sliced almonds. Bake for 50 – 55 minutes or until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.

7.) Move pan to cooling rack and cool for at least 20 minutes before removing and slicing; if not slicing, wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Eat within three days.

almond chai banana bread

 

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Banana Oat Bread

I have a true love / hate relationship with bananas. As an extremely picky eater through my childhood, I did not eat bananas regularly until I was 23. The reasoning? The little dark seeds in the middle. I know. That’s beyond reason. I’m even embarrassed to admit it. (Tales of my absurdly picky childhood eating habits may be visited, occasionally, at future juncture…)

sliced-bananas

Those scary dark seeds! (Photo courtesy of To Live & Diet in L.A. This is a great visual of more former torture. Haaa.) 

I gained my love of bananas in an odd way: In June 2008, I had a minor surgery. No big deal, just the removal of a benign football-sized tumor in my spleen. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ While I was holed up in a hospital bed for a few days, I was attached to a potassium drip…and it was one of the most painful experiences of my entire life. The solution is acidic. Imagining an incessant burning in your arm for four hours straight for four consecutive days. I was told I had low potassium levels, which was why I was being infused daily. I then decided that banana consumption was a much better option. I could not eat enough of them after my discharge! I was convinced they were my cure to all life’s ills. (Well, at least for that part of my life.)

A beautiful mess.

Growing up, however, I loved banana bread. Chunks of the fruit nor those black seeds were visible; out of sight, out of mind, I suppose. (Refer to the last sentence of my first paragraph. If my parents are reading this now, I’m sure they’re laughing hysterically.)  I found myself making it constantly, but as I’ve grown older and wiser about my eating habits, I look back on many of the recipes I had used and cringe a little. I find a typical recipe calls for a stick of butter, a cup of sugar, one to two cups of white flour, and sometimes added oils. Though I wouldn’t call my version the epitome of a healthy breakfast, I make it less of a guilty nosh with reduced sugar, plain Greek yogurt, chia seeds, and oats. I’ve tinkered with this recipe a lot over the few months…and dammit, I think I finally nailed it! WOOHOO!

Banana Oat Bread

Banana Oat Bread
(Serves 4 – 6)

Ingredients:

– 3 ripe bananas
– 2 eggs, room temperature
– 1 & 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
– 1 cup rolled oats
– 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
– 1/2 cup brown sugar
– 1 tablespoon chia seeds
– 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
– 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Before We Get Started…

– All-purpose flour can be used in place of white whole wheat flour, or a mix can be created with 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour.

– I prefer brown sugar to white sugar in my bread, but white sugar can easily be substituted. I prefer Domino’s Pourable Brown Sugar for ease of mixing.

– I prefer to use a 9″ x 9″ pan to make my bread. Though it may not turn into a loaf in the tradition sense with this method, it works just fine. I find the denseness and texture do not differentiate between either two pans.

Directions: 

1.) Preheat oven to 350 °F. Grease baking pan and set aside.

2.) In plastic bowl, smash peeled bananas with a fork until desired consistency. Add yogurt, eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Mix until combined.

3.) In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, and chia seeds. Mix until combined.

4.) Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and gently fold / mix until combined.

5.) Add batter to greased pan and bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center. Upon completion, remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 15 – 20 minutes on top of cooling rack. If using bread pan, gently remove from pan and place on cooling rack. If using 9″ x 9″ pan, slice into squares after initial cooling time; bread can be left in pan, if desired.

Banana Oat Bread