As the holiday season quickly approaches, our ovens will continue to warm. Butter, flour and sugar will be tossed in bowls. Cookies will fill our bellies. Our hearts will sing with love and our faces will fill with laughter. And the gift giving will begin! Oh but what to give this year? You don’t have money to spend, and you’re not sure what your friends will like. Well, I have a super tasty solution that won’t be forgotten.
Banana bread! Yes, seriously!
It’s goes a little something like this: here I baked you something from scratch. I put a bunch of love and bananas into a bowl, added flour and a smidgen of other things. No really, I did! Then I popped it in the oven for an entire hour, just staring through the window with the oven light on, waiting patiently for that dang bread to rise and turn that gorgeous golden brown. Wait, and then you know happened? Well I resisted eating an entire loaf just so I can bring it over to YOU. You know, so YOU could eat the entire loaf and experience the happiness that occurs after shoveling three slices in your mouth. Yeah, that’s love right there; resisting freshly baked banana bread.
Sure banana breads are simple… but they’re GOOD. And actually quite perfect paired with freshly brewed coffee or a glass of wine. You see, people don’t forget banana breads. People DO forget what movie you bought them or that gift card you handed over.
Here are some of my favorite banana breads to make AND an intro to some of my favorite kitchen baking accessories:
Healthy Coconut Banana Bread. One of my favorites! Made with greek yogurt, a splash of orange juice and coconut. This bread is tropical and gorgeous. WAIT, and there are only about 120 calories per slice! My advice? Buy this awesome Wilton Excelle Elite 4-Cup Mini Loaf Pan! You can totally make a couple of mini loafs and keep one for yourself. My friend Courtney has some pretty ideas for Holiday gift wrapping on her blog Pizzazzerie!
Dark Chocolate Raspberry Banana Bread. This bread makes my heart beam. It’s SO moist & hearty! The combination of the tart raspberries and the intense dark chocolate are delicious in this bread made with oatmeal! I usually make my oat flour myself in my KitchenAid Blender (which also makes an awesome Christmas gift if you have the money).
Better-For-You Banana Muffins with Brown Sugar Walnut Crumble. So this isn’t banana bread, but who doesn’t love a banana muffin? They’re perfect spread with peanut butter or fresh jam. Sometimes I like to jazz mine up with chocolate chips. I also love this Baker’s Secret Basics Nonstick 12-Cup Muffin Pan for baking my muffins in because they tend not to stick. Most of the time I prefer not to use liners, because I like to freeze my muffins and reheat them for breakfast in the morning. However, I have a couple of Silicone Reusable Baking Liners which I love because you can freeze them and they don’t stick to the muffins, PLUS they’re reusable! How awesome is that?!
Low-fat Blueberry Oatmeal Banana Bread. I want to live in this bread. So much better when you add in a handful of walnuts. Also, major points if you serve it with this Wild Maine Blueberry Jam; it’s SO goooood slathered on the bread the next day. Words cannot describe that magic.
Peanut Butter Cup Banana Bread. No this is not a joke. Bananas, peanut butter, and chocolate is the best combination. Plus it’s so moist. No seriously make this and then grill it on the stovetop. Spread with peanut butter and prepare for the best thing that’s ever happened to banana bread.
Caramel-Walnut Upside Down Peanut Butter Banana Cake. Again, I realized this isn’t banana bread, but this cake is gorgeous and perfect to bring to a holiday party. It’s adapted from the Bon Appetit Desserts Cookbook, which is great for when you want to learn how to make sophisticated, fun desserts! Mmmmm I’m imagining that delicious caramel right now. Too bad it’s only breakfast time.
Vegan + Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Banana Bread. I love this bread because it stays moist, there aren’t a thousand hard-to-find ingredients in it either. My friends absolutely love it because of how dense and incredibly addictive it is. Basically it tastes like an oatmeal snack cake. If you are choosing to make the bread gluten-free you should use gluten-free oats to make your oat flour. I really like using Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Whole Grain Rolled Oats, because I really trust their brand. Also don’t forget the vegan chocolate chips!
So, how about we bake banana breads with love and wrap them up with ribbons and pretty bows? We’ll stroll over to friends house’s this holiday season with big smiles and (hesitantly) hand over loafs of delicious goods. We’ll drink wine and share stories. We’ll be thankful and damn it, we won’t complain when we get socks with penguins on them; because we’ll actually wear them and thank our loved ones for how warm they are. Get baking!