I'm a traditionalist when it comes to my favorite recipes, but my attempts at banana bread have always left me searching for improvements. Some have been sweet, another too rich to be parading around the breakfast table and one sad, heavy loaf could be better used for personal protection rather than consumption. But now I think that's all behind me as I have at last found my ultimate banana baked good pièce de résistance. It's low in fat, highly flavorful, toothsome in crumb and it incorporates another rather wonderful breakfast food: Scottish oatmeal.
Come on over for a banana muffin top; we'll slather them in peanut butter, honey and more bananas!
Have you ever used a muffin top pan? I'm all about them. They give you that scrumptious golden brown on far more surface area than from a loaf pan or traditional muffin pan. They can be found online and often at thrift stores (where I picked mine up).
Muffin top pans admittedly seem like an idea spawned from the Seinfeld episode where Elaine convinces her boss to open a bakery that sells only the tops of muffins and they greet customers with "Top of the Muffin to You!" Don't tell me you don't remember the muffin top episode?! But they really are great in providing lots of crusty bits with minimal muffin "stump."
Another thing, don't skimp on the freshness of grated nutmeg (as pictured above); it adds so much character to this quickbread.
This version of banana bread is moist and barely sweet. It's full of flavor and dotted with Scottish oats for a nice bite in the texture. It also incorporates a new favorite ingredient, barley flour (though you could substitute whole wheat or any other whole grain flour if you want). Cut in half and smeared with cream cheese or peanut butter, they make a filling breakfast or lovely afternoon accompaniment to tea. They're even just delicious on their own, straight from the glorious muffin top pan.
1 cup flour
1/2 cup barley flour (or whole grain flour alternative)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup mashed banana
1/3 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup cooked Scottish oatmeal (also called steel-cut oatmeal)
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease the muffin top pan (or loaf pan/muffin pan if using). In a large bowl, combine the flours, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.
Blend the banana, milk, lemon juice, vegetable oil, vanilla and eggs in a blender until well combined. Add the cooked oatmeal and pulse just until evenly incorporated (oats shouldn't be entirely blended into the mixture). Fold the wet mixture into dry and fill pans with batter.
Bake for about 25 minutes, time will vary depending on pan size. Done when dark golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean.
(Images: Leela Cyd Ross)