(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...
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.
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!
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** (or make your own, 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.
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.