Delicious banana bread

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My children absolutely love this banana bread and this is a recipe you could easily make with children. I adapted it from a Nigella book 'How to be a domestic godess' My children don't like raisins so I took them out and replaced them with dates. I made it for my daughter for breakfast recently and left her a little note which she enjoyed.


60 g dried pitted dates
175g whole spelt flour (you can use normal whole flour or white flour - I prefer the spelt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
125g unsalted butter melted (do this carefully in the microwave - watch out as it splatters if it goes too fast)
100g coconut sugar or soft brown sugar
2 large eggs
4 small very ripe well mashed bananas (weight of 300g without skin)
60g chopped pecans (walnuts are ok but we prefer pecans as walnuts can be a bit bitter)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

If you can get hold of the liners for a bread tin it makes it so much easier. Here they are from lakeland
They fit in a loaf tin 23 x 13 x 7cm - if you can't get the liners then butter it well and put some baking parchment at the bottom.

Preheat oven to 170oC (if using fan make it 160oC) or Gas mark 3

Chop the dates into small pieces. Mash the bananas well with a fork on a large plate. Sift the flour, baking power, bicarb and salt into a medium sized bowl and stir together. Set aside. 
You can use a Kitchen Aid, food processor or hand held electric whisk or by hand for the next part.  Blend the melted butter and sugar till they are well mixed. Then beat in the eggs one at a time and add the mashed bananas. Then stir in the pecans, dates and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture about 1/3 at a time, stiring well after each addition. Scrape the mixture into the loaf tin lined with the liner if you have got them. Bake in the middle of the oven for anything between 45 minutes and just over an hour.  It depends on your oven temperature and I think using the liner makes it cook quicker for some reason! Towards the end the top goes dark brown and if you insert a skewer or a piece of spaghetti they should come out pretty clean but not spotless.

Leave in the tin on a rack to call. It is delcious toasted, or plain with our without butter. Enjoy!
I think it is best kept in a cool place rather than in the fridge as it won't keep long in a tin.  If it is a warm time of year, then put it in the fridge. It doesn't tend to last long in our house anyway with hungry teenagers!