I’ve been doing some major cooking since the beginning of the New Year.
What a joy to get back to my Sunday farmers’ market and familiar kitchen! The last months of 2011 were filled with lots of excitement, from several trips (including Berlin and New Mexico) to some fun Parisian restaurant discoveries – promise to keep you posted on all that soon.
There’s nothing like getting back to cooking though, and this recipe for Buckwheat Banana Bread is fitting to start off a healthy new year. Since moving to France, I’ve been a fan of galettes de sarrasin (buckwheat crepes), which are savory and traditionally eaten before sweet crepes. I’ve been experimenting with incorporating more buckwheat flour into my baking. Usually, I mix it with regular white flour, but I wanted to try making 100% gluten-free bread, so used only pure buckwheat for this recipe. The health benefits of buckwheat are numerous (high in protein, fiber, B vitamins, amino acids…). It’s also a great alternative for those who can’t tolerate gluten because, despite its name, buckwheat is not wheat, but a fruit seed.
When I make banana bread I’m always worried it’ll be either too dry or not cooked enough. I actually think the buckwheat, which isn’t too compact, actually helped with this problem. I also tried an experiment by whipping lots of air into the bananas before combining them with the rest of the ingredients. Whatever the secret, this recipe worked well for me. The bread tasted yummy, yet healthy at the same time.
Random thought: For a couple years now I’ve been using a kitchen scale to weigh butter. It is so much easier that scooping chunks of cold butter into my measuring cups! I’d definitely recommend equipping your kitchen with one, especially if you’re an American cook living abroad or simply enjoy using European recipes. I still tend to use my American measuring cups and spoons for the rest though, so bear with me as I try to find “balance” in my proportions!
120 grams salted butter (about half a cup)
3 very ripe bananas
1 ½ cups buckwheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¾ cup fresh, chopped walnuts
1. Melt the butter and set aside.
2. Whip the bananas with a hand blender until they are smooth and airy.
3. Add the sugar, egg, vanilla, cinnamon and butter to the bananas.
4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder.
5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry.
6. Mix in the walnuts, but don’t over work the batter.
7. Bake at 180°C or 350°F for about 30 minutes (until the center is fully cooked). Note: if the top begins browning too quickly, cover with a piece of foil until the center catches up.
This bread keeps well for several days in an airtight container. It’s nice toasted for breakfast.