Monday, June 4, 2012

Vegan Peanut Butter Banana Bread

The number of over-ripe bananas accumulating in my freezer had reached critical proportions (8!) so I thought it was about time to do some baking.

I have 2 favourite recipes for banana bread, but I've made them so often I decided to look for some new inspiration, and naturally came to think of peanut butter.

Peanut butter and bananas are a great combination. For breakfast or dessert, I've been known to just slice a banana in half length-wise and smear peanut butter between the two layers. And of course toasted peanut butter and banana sandwiches are classic, so I thought a PB riff on banana bread would not be misplaced.

This  turned out to be a vegan banana bread, made with peanut butter and seroendeng. (I have an industrial-size jar of seroendeng that needs to be used up, and the amount of nasi goreng I can consume is limited.) I also made a classic banana cake with eggs and butter.

My testers (aka colleagues) turned out to be very divided on which one they liked better. Half preferred the one and half the other, and the comments were very interesting. One thought the peanut butter flavour was too dominant, another couldn't identify what the extra flavour was; one preferred the banana-y flavour of the cake, another found it too straight and mild.

My personal opinion? Mwah. I find that vegan cakes tend to be slightly drier than normal cakes, and denser. There is just no substitute for eggs. It tastes best smeared with a bit of butter (which of course makes it non-vegan). Ultimately, I think my other regular banana bread recipes have the edge over this one, but for those who like spiced banana bread, this makes a good variation.

Vegan Peanut Butter Banana Bread

I adapted this from here, omitting the chocolate chips, substituting brown sugars for white, and adding cinnamon and seroendeng.

2 tablespoons flax seeds, ground
6 tablespoons warm water

1 1/2 cups white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/5 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup seroendeng, optional *

1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup yellow sugar, loosely packed
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (demerera), loosely packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 over-ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup peanut butter

* Seroendeng kering is an Indonesian condiment of toasted coconut, peanuts, sugar, and salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
  2. Grease a 9 cup cake form, such as 12x4.5 inch loaf pan, a bundt cake pan, and dust with flour or fine bread crumbs.
  3. Combine the ground flax seeds and hot water in a small bowl and set aside. I use a coffee grinder to grind the seeds. (This is a  substitute for 2 eggs,  so if  you are not constrained, feel free to use eggs instead. )
  4. Mix the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and seroendeng in a medium large bowl.
  5. In a large bowl, mix the oil, brown sugars, vanilla, bananas, peanut butter and flax seed mixture (or 2 eggs). Mix thoroughly (I used a mixer). 
  6. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until the dry ingredients are just wet. Do not over-mix.
  7. Spoon the batter into the greased pan and (optionally) sprinkle the top with another tablespoon or two of seroendeng. Bake for 50-60 minutes.

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