Burns Night Banana Bread
Recommended listening: Banana Bread by Caspar Babypants.
Makes 1 small loaf – perfect lockdown size.
Burns Night Banana Bread
- 1-2 ripe bananas peeled weight 100g/4oz
- 1 Tbsp milk
- 50 g (2oz) softened butter salted
- 75 g 3oz plain flour
- 56-75 g (2.25oz – 3oz) caster or granulated sugar
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 egg
- 100 g (4 oz) broken up dark chocolate bar
- 50 g walnuts or pecans (coarsely chopped if skipping the first step)
- 1 Tbsp Whisky or Bourbon
- 1 pinch ground cloves optional
- ½ tsp cinnamon optional
- 1 Tbsp course sugar whatever’s on hand rawturbinado, muscovado etc.
- Heat oven to 350F/180C/160C Fan spread walnuts out on a baking sheet and roast in oven until aromatic (about 5-10 minutes)
- Cool and chop or break up
And now the show
- Set oven 160C/140C fan, grease and/or line a 450g/1lb loaf tin with non-stick baking parchment.
- Use a fork or potato masher to mash the peeled banana in a mixing bowl.
- Beat the butter and sugar together, add the egg, milk, mashed banana and mix to combine.
- Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder in a separate bowl and beat into the wet mixture.
- Pour or spoon about 1/3rd of the batter into the loaf tin, then mix in 75g of the chocolate pieces (if not topping with chocolate – mix in all now) and the nuts into the remaining batter and add this to the baking tin, levelling the top.
- Sprinkle course sugar if using on top (this will add crunch, even if you’re covering it with melted chocolate later)
- Bake for 40-45 minutes or until well risen, shrinking away from the sides of the tin and golden-brown (and passes the toothpick test so long as you don't hit a chocolate chunk).
- Set aside to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.
- For the chocolate topping, break the remaining chocolate into small pieces (~25g) and add to a heatproof bowl.
- Melt the chocolate in the bowl over a pan of simmering water (the bowl should not touch the water). Stir regularly, until almost completely melted, then remove from the heat. The heat of the bowl will melt any remaining lumps.
- Spoon the chocolate over banana bread. Set aside for the chocolate to set. Slice and serve. (As you can see in the header photo – the world won’t come to an end if you slice it before the chocolate sets 😉 in fact, it slices easer and the little one called it “mud cake!”).
This is just Mary Berry’s Chocolate Chip Banana Bread but with additions from skimming through some smitten kitchen recipies, namely Jacked up Banana Bread and Ultimate Banana Bread. Decisions here are also guided by Food52’s piece on the basic banana bread formula.
The spices and the whisky were subtle, and at 1 TBSP of whisky the batter was pretty wet. Jamie suggested at least a 25ml measure, but I’m such a novice baker I worry that’ll be too much liquid – so next time, based on Food52’s guidance- no milk, 2Tbsp whisky. I might cut the flour with ground toasted oats. That might be a whole other beast.
Below is a recipe for whisky glaze – my next move may be to put all the chocolate in the banana bread, skip the booze in the bread (or not) and drizzle it with a whisky glaze.
This is how we made it on Burns Night 2021, but with twice the whisky. We mad it for no special reason other than keeping the 3 year old occupied during lockdown, even though it was Burns Night and my husband’s birthday. It ended up being his birthday cake, she protested, but enjoyed blowing out the candles.
For those baking with a little one or while working from home or maybe a bit absent-mindedly – just before adding the sugar topping I had to step away for about an hour, I covered the bowl with a pot lid because cat, and all turned out fine.
I like the trick of pouring some batter in without the mix ins (chocolate and nuts here) and then mixing them into the remaining batter – It’s kept the good stuff from sinking straight to the bottom in several recipes.
When I’m in a hurry, all the chocolate goes into the banana bread. When I have a little time, 3/4 goes in and 1/4 gets melted on top. When it’s half and half, the top becomes a solid sheet of chocolate, that’s not a bad thing but it can make it tougher to slice when the chocolate hardens.
We haven’t tried this yet:
- 30 g (2Tbsp) butter softened
- 100 g (½ cup) sugar
- 2 Tbsp whiskey or dark rum
- Combine ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Let the butter melt and the mixture start to froth, then remove from heat and pour over cake.