Banana bread is not a French trademark. I’m not really sure which culture banana bread arose out of, even if I do know it’s a classic here in America.
What I also know is that a banana date nut bread like this can signify warmth, love, and comfort, which the world can use a good dose of during periods like this. It’s been more than 2 weeks since the Paris attacks on November 13th, and I feel like I’m finally able to talk about what happened and how I feel.
I remember I had come home from a busy day of running errands, ready to pack up my photography gear and laptop for the food bloggers conference I would be attending the next day, only to flip on the television and find myself in complete and utter shock. I wasn’t sad or angry; those feelings came a couple of hours later. At first, I was just feeling shock and numbness. It all felt so surreal.
While Paris has, unfortunately, been attacked before, this attack just felt so much more personal. I think it’s because the terrorists chose places that represented the very heart of Paris: a cafe, a musical venue, a sports arena; places where the French show just how fantastic they are at the art of living a rich and fulfilling life.
Later that evening, I started to feel the overwhelming sadness that comes when you find out innocent people have lost their lives in such a tragedy. And then came the anger, which for me translated more into a sense of defiance. I was attending a dinner at a relative’s house that night, and I remember one of my relatives saying something like I’m so glad you didn’t go to Paris this season, knowing that I travel there often. I quickly replied, Well, I’ll be going in just a few weeks.
And as I said it, I felt like I was saying it to everyone who had tried to instill fear in the hearts of those of us that love Paris so deeply. I would not succumb to terrorism and cancel my trip. And as my relatives and family friends continue to call in, sharing their worries about my upcoming trip, I maintain that I am not afraid but instead excited more than ever to stand with my French friends in solidarity in a city that is dear to my heart.
Like the tender crumb of this banana date nut bread, I hope to offer a warm embrace and gentle spirit to my French friends when I see them in a week. This bread truly exemplifies the best of comforting baked goods.
The use of oil in this bread (rather than butter) and fully ripened bananas ensure that the banana bread is extremely moist. And when I say ripened bananas, I mean those bananas need to be littered with black spots; the bananas shouldn’t look appetizing.
When you use bananas that have almost gone bad, you get the best texture, moisture, and sweetness for your bread, and that’s what will make this banana date nut bread your favorite quick bread.
To give this banana bread a seasonal twist, I mixed in a pinch of warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, and stirred in chopped dates and nuts into the batter. They give the bread more texture and also make the bread a bit heartier so that you can enjoy a slice for breakfast.
When you’re shopping for dates, try to look for dates that are really sticky. Appearance-wise, they should look somewhat slick and glossy rather than matte and muted. Also, try to buy pitted dates because removing the pits can be a pain.
As for the nuts, you can use any type you want, but pecans during this time of the year are always a favorite. This banana date nut bread would also make a lovely holiday gift for a neighbor, colleague, or just as a thoughtful gift to cheer someone up, as we could all use a little bit of cheering up from time to time, non?
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp cloves
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- 1 1/8 cups sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp plain yogurt
- 3 very ripe, large bananas
- 3/4 cup chopped dates, plus 1/2 a tablespoon of flour
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 1 lb. loaf pan with baking spray or softened butter.
- Combine the salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves with the flour. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg, sugar, and oil together. Add the flour mixture in and mix until combined well.
- Add in your vanilla extract and yogurt; mix to combine. Add the bananas (Note: if you're not using an electric mixer, mash the bananas first before mixing them in). Mix until the batter is somewhat smooth (there should be small lumps left when you're done mixing).
- Toss the dates with the 1/2 tablespoon of flour (this will prevent the dates from sinking in the batter). Stir in the chopped dates and pecans. Pour your batter into your prepared pan.
- Bake for approximately 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Note: You can also bake the banana bread in 4 mini loaf pans. Distribute the batter among the greased loaf pans, then bake at 350°F for closer to 40 to 50 min, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1 Loaf
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 3911Total Fat: 158gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 3gUnsaturated Fat: 135gCholesterol: 188mgSodium: 1946mgCarbohydrates: 606gFiber: 33gSugar: 349gProtein: 46g