Banana & hazelnut loaf

For me, there is a brief moment when a banana is at the perfect ripeness for eating, and more often than not, I miss it. That’s when I leave them in the fruit bowl to get deeply overripe, the skins blackening, and the fruit inside slowly melting into a fragrant mush. Perfect for making banana bread. For any novice baker, this couldn’t be an easier recipe to start with. It doesn’t require any elaborate skills and is very forgiving. Despite its simplicity, even seasoned professionals will agree that a good banana bread is hard to beat. I like a slice with my afternoon coffee, or a thick slab spread with nut butter for breakfast. 

Banana hazelnut loaf (vegan)

Makes a 25 cm loaf

35 g hazelnuts, unroasted and roughly blizted in a food processor 
70 g hazelnuts, roasted (no skins), blitzed until fine in a food processor
210 g plain flour 
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (Natron)
¼ tsp salt
400 g very ripe banana (peeled weight)
160 g fine sugar
80 g rapeseed oil
1 tbsp granulated sugar for sprinkling

Heat the oven to 170°C (with fan).

Spray a 25 cm loaf tin with cooking spray, or brush with oil. Line with baking paper.

In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt together, and add the roasted, ground hazelnuts.

Add the bananas to another large mixing bowl. Mash them until they are very smooth and liquid. Pour the oil on top and add the sugar. Using the whisk attachment on an electric hand mixer, whisk it all together for at least 2 minutes. Add the banana mixture to the dry ingredients and fold with a silicone spatula until just combined.

Transfer to the prepared loaf tin and smooth the top. Sprinkle the surface with the reamining chopped unroasted hazelnuts. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

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