Scotland has some of the best words and phrases. A few that I loved when I was there were “dreich”, which means it is a gloomy, overcast, dreary day (what most people believe to be the daily weather in the UK), “buggy” for stroller, “nappy” for diaper, and “wee” for little. Basically all the darling kid words. Once, when I first moved there, I took my 2 year old daughter to a music class and the teacher asked everyone to go around in a circle and name their favorite tea. Unfortunately, we were first up, and although I thought it was a strange icebreaker I told my daughter to say chamomile. They all laughed politely, and it turns out, the Scots say “tea” for “dinner”. English is not always English, ok?
One of my ultimate favorites, however, was “elevensies”. Elevensies is a real thing, whereas around 11:00 AM every day, you would break for a cuppa (coffee or tea) and cake. Cake in Europe is not the same thing as cake in America, with it’s ridiculous artificial colorings, sprinkles, mountain of frosting and zero nutritional value. I found cake in Europe to be more of an acceptable sweet snack, maybe made with fruits or vegetables and whole grains like oats. We need to bring that cake trend over here because really, muffins are just cupcakes in disguise, no? I think that there is a time and place (eleven o’clock?) for a muffin or slice of quick bread, and as long as you aren’t getting it from Dunkin’ Donuts you will be just fine.
It’s always funny to me how whenever you see a banana bread recipe, it is loaded down with added sugar. Aren’t the bananas supposed to be the sweetener? I wonder if that’s maybe how banana bread came about it the first place, someone was probably trying to bake a special cake, and scraping at the bottom of the sugar bowl decided to mash up some bananas instead. I promise if you keep the fruit as the focus of the muffin and add just a bit of sweetener, you will feel satisfied but not like you just ate a piece of grocery store birthday cake. So tomorrow, around 11:00, pull up a chair, steep a cup of tea, and enjoy a slice of this bread.
- 3 large ripe bananas (contrary to most banana bread recipes, I do not like to use overly ripe bananas, I find their flavor too pronounced - see the photo for my perfect banana ripeness)
- ½ can of pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup avocado oil (or other neutral tasting liquid oil)
- ½ cup unsweetened almond milk or other non-dairy milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1½ cups whole spelt flour
- 1 cup quick cooking oats
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- Coconut sugar for sprinkling on top
- Optional add in: ½ cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350°. Spray your muffin tins and loaf pans with oil, I use coconut oil spray. If you open your dishwasher door and set the tins on the door while spraying, oil won't get all over your kitchen. I used one 24 cup mini muffin pan and two 1-quart mini loaf pans for this recipe.
- In a large blender, blend together all wet ingredients. I really like doing it this way as it assures there are no chunks of partially mashed banana in your bread. If this is your thing, go ahead and stir everything together with a fork.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. Quickly fold the blender mixture into the dry mixture, stirring as little as possible, just until there are no dry patches of flour left.
- From here, I filled a 24 cup mini muffin tin, sprinkled the tops with a little coconut sugar, and put them into the oven to bake for around 15 minutes. Then, I stirred the chopped pecans into the leftover batter, poured this into 2 mini loaf pans, sprinkled the top with coconut sugar and put in the oven to bake for about 30-35 minutes. Check with a toothpick to see that the center is set, and cool on a cooling rack at least 20 minutes before trying to remove the bread from the pans.
Note: If I’m going through the trouble to bake something on a weekday, it had better serve a double purpose. Maybe one day I’ll be able to sit around a bake things for only me, myself and I to enjoy, but today is not that day. I have lunches to pack and snacks to dole out multiple times a day, without fail. I took the batter and first made a pan of mini muffins nut-free so they would be school appropriate, and in the second half went some chopped pecans and into two mini loaf pans for momma. There’s nothing like killing two birds with one stone.