Banana Nut Butter – just add bread

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(Banana Nut Butter – recipe in post)

 

One of my all-time favorite treats is banana nut bread. It used to disappear so quickly, I wouldn’t even tell anyone I’d purchased it for fear of them wanting a slice. Oh, the things I’d do for banana nut bread…

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Now, of course, I can make myself a decadent loaf whenever I please. I can even double up the recipe so there might, maybe, be enough to share. Maybe.
With the heat of an early summer beginning to beat on my doors and windows, however, turning on the oven seems less and less of a good idea. Certainly, my desire to bake will sometimes rise above the sweltering temperatures, but in the meantime I am happy to explore other tasty possibilities.
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Whilst dreaming wistfully of central air (woe is me – clearly I’m not spoiled enough!) I had a funny little idea pop into my head. The results? Pure brilliance.
Being able to turn any slice of bread into banana-nut goodness is like having a super power. I’ve been enjoying this luscious creation spread over cranberry walnut bread, but it would also be fantastic stirred into oatmeal, or used to make cookies or other baked goods. The possibilities are endless!
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Banana Nut Butter

Vegan, gluten-free, easily made raw
Makes about 2 cups

15 dates, pitted and soaked*
1 cup nut butter, creamy or chunky, roasted or raw** (you can find my tips on making your own nut butters, here)
1 ripe banana
1 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of salt, to taste
1/2-1 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
1-2 tsp. cocoa powder (optional)
1/4-1/2 cup nuts, toasted or raw, finely chopped (optional – if you prefer your nut butter chunky)

*The flavor and texture of dates really makes this special, but they could certainly be replaced with a few TBSP of liquid sweetener (agave, maple syrup, honey…) – just note that the flavor will be significantly altered.

**I’ve tried this with almond butter and peanut butter, and liked both – though the almond had a much more classic ‘banana nut’ flavor. You can use any nut butter you like (cashew, walnut…), but each will result in a different flavor.

Method
Soak dates in enough water to cover them, for 1-2 hours before using.
Drain the dates, and add them to the bowl of your food processor. Pulse to make a smooth paste, scraping down the sides as needed.
Add the nut butter, extract, and banana, and process until smooth. Blend in salt and any other flavorings, and adjust to taste.
If you’d like a chunky nut-butter, stir in 1/4-1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds…).

Store in a jar or airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or two, or in the freezer indefinitely.

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36 Responses to Banana Nut Butter – just add bread

  1. D B May 24, 2012 at 10:56 pm #

    Sounds sweet!

  2. Jen @ JuanitasCocina May 25, 2012 at 12:44 am #

    Don’t tell anyone, but I’d rather have THIS banana butter than just about anything (or any other copycat product…because clearly, they’re copying YOU!). Also, I have dates. Which means I’m ready to make this. As of yesterday.

    • Willow May 25, 2012 at 12:52 am #

      Heheh – thanks, Jen! Hope you like it. 🙂

  3. glutenfreehappytummy.com May 25, 2012 at 3:42 am #

    oh my gosh this looks so delicious! better than nutella! and your pictures are beautiful! thanks for sharing!

    • Willow May 25, 2012 at 3:51 am #

      Wow – better than nutella, that’s high praise! Glad you like. 🙂

  4. frugalfeeding.com May 25, 2012 at 8:15 am #

    Oh my, willow! that looks literally incredible – what a colour it has! So glad your little idea worked so beautifully!

    • Willow May 25, 2012 at 11:09 am #

      Thank you! I was quite pleased. And a lot of that deep color comes from the dates – I didn’t add any cocoa powder, here. 🙂

    • frugalfeeding.com May 25, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

      Dates are so underrated in this sort of thing! I LOVE using them in baking too.

    • Willow May 25, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

      Indeed. I’ve always been a fan. I probably use them most in sweetening raw desserts, but I think my favorite use might have to be sticky toffee pudding. Mmmm, pudding…

    • frugalfeeding.com May 28, 2012 at 7:09 am #

      That’s a great way to use them – I’ve not made many raw desserts. I’ve so many more things to cook :D. I made a date and walnut banana bread and the dates were simply divine.

  5. Caitlin May 25, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

    wow, willow! what an innovative idea! this spread looks absolutely delicious.

    • Willow May 25, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

      Thanks, Caitlin! 🙂

  6. meetyourtreat May 26, 2012 at 11:29 pm #

    This sounds fantastic! I have recently started making my own nut butters it is so much fun, this is a fantastic idea and even better because it’s made with stuff most people usually have around anyway. I’ll try this for sure…

    • Willow May 27, 2012 at 2:28 am #

      Thanks! Homemade nut butters are wonderful, aren’t they? I love being able to tweak things and make different flavors each time.
      Hope you enjoy the banana nut butter! 🙂

  7. From Valeries Kitchen May 27, 2012 at 3:50 am #

    Hey this calls for dates! I think I may have a few of those lying around 🙂 Looks delish!

    • Willow May 27, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

      Heheh – I’m jealous of all those dates. 🙂

  8. Elly McCausland May 27, 2012 at 8:01 am #

    What a delicious idea! I love dates with bananas, such a good combination.

  9. Danni @ Healthy Kitschy Vegan May 27, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

    This looks so delicious! I might just have to make some today…mmm…good thing I have all the ingredients 😉

    • Willow May 27, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

      Wonderful, hope you like it!

  10. Kat May 27, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

    I always love hearing about what inspires someone to make something – and this is the most brilliant idea for not using the oven because of the heat (or just a brilliant idea for a spread in general). The spread looks really delectable, and a perfect snack on bread during the hot weather!

    • Willow May 27, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

      Thanks! It’s rare that I can pinpoint where an idea really comes from, but I was already fiddling with dates and nut butters, and when I started thinking banana nut bread it all just came together. 🙂

  11. Danni @ Healthy Kitschy Vegan May 27, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    Just made some! Oh my god, it’s so good! Thanks for sharing the recipe!!

    • Willow May 27, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

      Danni, I’m so glad you made this!! So happy you liked it, thanks for telling me. 🙂

  12. Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes May 29, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

    This recipe is so me – I can tell you right now this would never last a weeke between Justin and me , I can just tell this would be so addicting!

    I have been loving dates, they are so versatile 🙂

    • Willow May 30, 2012 at 2:34 am #

      Indeed, it is super tasty! It’s filling, too, though – a couple slices of bread with this in the morning and I’m set for hours!

  13. Kristy May 29, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

    This looks delicious, Willow! And your photography is gorgeous!!! Nuts and bananas are such a classic combo- how can this not taste amazing?!?!

  14. Abby May 30, 2012 at 12:11 am #

    This looks so decadent! I nominated you for an award 🙂 Here’s the details http://foodstoriesblog.com/food-stories-award/

    • Willow May 30, 2012 at 2:36 am #

      Thank you so much, Abby! This made my day – so excited! I’ll accept the award shortly. 🙂

  15. Courtney J May 30, 2012 at 3:44 am #

    Awe, this looks FANTASTIC!!!! 🙂 Love this idea. So creative. I am going to make this for my boyfriend. He’ll be obsessed – without a doubt! *hehe*

    • Willow June 1, 2012 at 1:55 am #

      Wonderful! I hope he likes it. 🙂

  16. Ritroviamoci in Cucina May 31, 2012 at 7:58 am #

    You had a great idea! It makes me think of many uses in baking … and I increased salivation! :o)

    • Willow June 1, 2012 at 1:56 am #

      Indeed! I haven’t had a change to use it in baking yet, but I’m sure it would be wonderful. 🙂

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