Joyous Vegan Mango Banana Bread

I have a confession to make: Joy the Baker has been a major inspiration for me as a blogger and baker. If you’re into baking and food and whatnot and haven’t yet visited Joy’s blog, you seriously need to. In addition to great recipes, she adds little life stories that make them fun to read and styles them up with some awesome photography.

One fateful day, I saw this Mango Banana Bread recipe on her site and I decided I must make it as soon as possible. I went out and bought some mangos and made the bread the very next morning, if I recall correctly.

So….it was amazing. And I’m gonna share the love.

I tweaked the recipe just a teensy bit by using white whole wheat flour and walnuts. Because I love whole wheat and bread with nuts.

First, you’ll want to find yourself a ripe mango and cut it into cubes–which was trickier than I thought it’d be, so if you’ve never cubed a mango before, you can learn right here. Set aside.

After that, get yourself a large mixing bowl and some ripe bananas. 3 medium or 2 large ones will do.
Then…mash those suckers up.

 Add:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Whisk these “briskly.”

Sift in:
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
rounded 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
rounded 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix together with a wooden spoon until the wet and dry ingredients are just combined. (I meant to add the walnuts in later, oops.)

Fold in:
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 ripe cubed mango

Pour into a prepared 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. I recommend lining it with parchment paper.

Sprinkle with granulated sugar or maybe some shredded coconut if you desire so.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes.

Resist the temptation to eat it fresh out of the oven–let the bread cool for 20 minutes before taking it out of the pan. Let it cool a little more on a wire rack, and then enjoy it. Enjoy, enjoy.

Oh, and by the way…this recipe’s vegan. Yeppers.

Joy’s recipe: here.

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Joshua Tree Date Nut Bread

I am now convinced of two things: dates are amazing and great things come from Joshua Tree.

Not only do dates make amazing milkshakes, give cause for an awesome harvest festival down in Indio, or have 50 references in the Bible (according to Wikipedia), but they also make amazing bread.

Not only is Joshua Tree a funky-lookin’ tree…

(Photo credit not mine)

…or the name of an incredible U2 album…

…but it is also the place where my great-grandmother lived, who made fame in my family for her Date Nut Bread. So when I received a surprise care package from my aunt that featured a fine-lookin’ box of dates, I decided I must try my hand at the recipe.

The first time I made it, I ate it in four days. By myself. I wish I was joking.

I made it for the second time last Saturday, and worked up enough self-control to get it to last through the week. There’s still one piece left and I had actually shared some this time.

Fortunately for my conscience , this bread is full of natural ingredients and rather nutritious as a result of a few changes I made to my great-grandmother’s recipe. I used whole-wheat pastry flour, which adds some hearty fiber, and I substituted half of the sugar with unsweetened applesauce. The dates are the key ingredient of the bread, acting as a natural sweetener and giving it a very exotic flavor…if there is such thing as an “exotic” flavor…

First, crank the oven to preheat at 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine:
1 cup chopped dates
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup boiling water
After stirring mixture, set aside and let cool.

…don’t worry, it’s supposed to look like something you might encounter in a college boy’s dorm room…

In a large bowl, beat together:
2 eggs
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened natural applesauce

Stir in the date mixture. If it hasn’t cooled enough, the eggs will coagulate…and that’s bad. Frowny face :(

Hand-mix in:
2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
2 Tbsp. melted butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Pour into greased loaf pan and bake from 45 minutes to 1 hour.

And check it out! Look at that fine bread!

Let’s get some natural lighting on that bad boy…oh yeah!

Just a little suggestion: I ate this for breakfast with hot Breakfast tea and a bowl of sliced banana with granola and plain yogurt (mixed with a few drops of agave nectar to sweeten it a bit)…and the combo was to die for. The experience might even have been further maximized if I had listened to U2’s The Joshua Tree at the same time…

Crushcrushcrush on Cinna-Apple-Banana Muffin Bread

The college student strikes again.

Dorm Room, you CANNOT confine me in your four walls of kitchen-less purgatory! Meal Plan, you are NOT my master! I CAN be a simple freshman AND bake delicious food!

Therefore, Dorm Room and Meal Plan, I lick my batter-dripping spatula and then laugh in your conquered faces.

See, I had a few problems: 1. I had a lot of extra ingredients from the Devil Wears Peanut Butter and Chocolate M&M Cookie recipe, and 2. I didn’t have enough ingredients for Shred, White, and Blueberry muffins.

So I, the college student, looked around my room. I had no applesauce, nor an abundance of walnuts, nor buttermilk…but I did have a bunch of apples and bananas, a few walnuts left over from a salad, granola bars, and a tub of yogurt. And cinnamon.

So I thought, “Well, I guess I could make a banana puree for the applesauce…and cut up some apples and another banana for the fruit pieces…

…and yogurt can substitute for buttermilk, right?

And I could use the few walnuts I have and crumble one of those ‘Oats ‘n Honey’ granola bars on top…

“…and listen to Paramore at the same time!!!!”

(Photo credit not mine)

Within the hour, along with Hayley Williams‘ voice, a heavenly baked-good scent poured out of the kitchen, tinged strongly with cinnamon. And not long after that, I beheld the fruit of my labor:

And not long after that came the most important part, the tasting:

I’ve got a lot to say to you, yeah, I’ve got a lot to say; I’ve noticed Cinna-Apple-Banana Muffin Bread is DELICIOUS!…Crush…crush…crush…

Okay, enough with the Paramore references. Here’s the recipe:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Prepare and set aside:
1 cup of dime-sized apple pieces
1 1/4 cups banana puree (I blended some bananas with a fork, adding about 3 tablespoons of water to it)
2 medium bananas, split into thirds and cut into pieces
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (I wish I had this many when I baked it–I had to satisfy myself with the few I did have)
About half a cup granola for topping (optional)

Mix in a large bowl:
2 1/2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour
2 1/2 cups of old-fashioned oatmeal
2 teaspoons baking power
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 teaspoons cinnamon

Mix together in a medium bowl:
1 1/4 cups banana puree
1 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
4 tablespoons oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Make a well in the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients until the dry is just wet (I explain why on the Blueberry Muffin Bread recipe).

Fold in the apple and banana pieces and the walnuts. Then, pour into a prepared pan (I used a 9 x 8 pan, but you can use whatever depending on how thick you want your loaf, etc.). Crumble your favorite granola on top (I used the “Oats ‘n Honey” bar).

After 20 minutes of baking, cover with aluminum foil. I, not being quite as fortunate to own such, covered the tin with another slightly larger metal pan that I found in the kitchen. Bake for another 10-15 minutes. I’m pretty sure that’s how I did it; I used a bit of trial-and-error because the middle was taking so long to bake, and I don’t remember my method exactly. I judged the bread was done by using the stick-a-knife-in-the-center trick.

When it’s done, give it some cooling time and then enjoy! I highly recommend a little spread of peanut butter and a nice cup of coffee to compliment. You may even want to hum “Crushcrushcrush” in between your “Mmmmm”s…

…Nothing compares to a quiet evening alone, just the one, two I was counting on. That never happens, I guess I’m dreamin’ again, so I guess I’ll eat my Muffin Bread…

Banana Bread fail

Girls, if you haven’t already heard, the best way to get to a man’s heart is through his stomach. That is a piece of advice you should not take lightly.

I especially love this piece of advice because I love to bake, and due to my apprenticeship of the wonderful bakers in my family, I feel quite confident of my own baking skills. Therefore, I’ve been in the business of employing this proverb for a few years now.

Over winter break, for very necessary reasons, I made one of my guy friends a loaf of banana bread. Actually, I made two loaves, one for him, and one for my family.

I was very proud of this banana bread. The loaf for my family was disappearing quickly, and I myself was pleased with its flavor and texture–let’s just say I felt rather confident when I handed the treat over to my friend.

Between that time and this past weekend, he never spoke to me of the banana bread. So I was thinking, Like, geez, thanks for saying nothing about the bread I made you!

Actually, I was more worried that he didn’t like it. That he HATED it…that he would never eat anything I ever made AGAIN.

Okay, so those were my dramatic thoughts; I knew for sure that he liked my peanut brittle, so not all could be lost.

Anyhow, this past weekend, I finally decided to ask him if he liked the banana bread–carefully adding that if it wasn’t to his taste, he could tell me so that I might “do better next time.”

He began telling me that he had never eaten banana bread with a topping on it…

Confused, I told him the banana bread I had made only had walnuts on top, not the sugary crumbles he spoke of.

Then it hit me. I had given him THE WRONG BREAD. Somehow I hadn’t noticed that the loaf I had grabbed out of the freezer was a coffee cake my mom had made, a stark contrast to what my banana-bread-craving friend had been expecting when he took his first bite.

That advice I gave earlier? Yeah, I pretty much did the exact opposite.

Epic fail.

My friend was rather relieved to find out that what he had eaten was definitely not banana bread:

“Good…cuz I was gonna say…that banana bread sucked.”

Shred, White, and Blueberry muffins

Yes, I did just combine an Attack Attack! song with a muffin.

But, really, I just needed a title, and it doesn’t make sense if you know that this blog is about a recipe in which I didn’t make muffins, but I made bread. And I wasn’t listening to Attack Attack! while I was making it either, I was listening to Audio Adrenaline and House of Heroes. So all of such is beside the point. Here’s the story:

For my roommate’s birthday, I decided to make her blueberry muffins.

They were, you know, a’ight. One of my guy friends ate about 6 of them before we even left the kitchen. Coulda’ been a little sweeter, though (I used a not-as-bad-for-you sort of recipe).

In two days, I was freaking out because the buttermilk I had spent my precious college-student-funds on was about to expire. Waste not.

I knew I had most of the ingredients needed to make another batch of the muffins, but I didn’t have quite enough blueberries left in the fridge to make a double recipe. And I wanted to make them a little sexier, anyways.

So after buying some 19-cent bananas at Target (dimes ARE useful currency, actually!)…

 

…and pilfering some walnuts from the dining hall…

…I concocted a new recipe, and…

I think the Muffin Man is jealous of me now.

1. The blueberries, banana pieces, and walnuts worked together as deliciously as a love triangle.

2. I used a brownie pan because I didn’t have enough muffin cups left. So it turned out as a sweet-lookin’-loaf that, due to the oven I was using and my lack of tin foil, was a bit gooey except around the sides. To some people, gooeyness is not appreciated, but in my culture, we celebrate gooeyness with thanksgiving.

3. This recipe is as hearty and healthy as it is wonderful, due to the angelic gifts of whole-wheat pastry flour, applesauce, and oatmeal, as you will notice in the recipe.

4. This baked good is best enjoyed in a warm state, and is complimented well with a little spread of peanut butter. Makes me wish I still had some of this stuff in the fridge…

Now that you are dying to know how to make this new amazing breakfast food, I suppose I better give you the recipe…

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Set aside:
1 cup of blueberries (drained if previously frozen)
2 medium bananas, split into thirds and cut into pieces
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
*These are the general measurements I would use. If you happen to like more blueberries and less walnuts or more bananas and less blueberries, you are free to augment the recipe according to your personal fruit-and-nut desires :)

Mix in a large bowl:
2 1/2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour
2 1/2 cups of old-fashioned oatmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix together in a medium bowl:
1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
4 tablespoons oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Make a well in the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients until the dry is wet (you don’t want to over-stir). Note: there is a scientific reason why you MUST pour the wet mixture onto the dry mixture like so; I’m sure there’s some interesting chemical formula that explains this all, but all I know is that it WORKS BETTER than the other way around (the guy that ate 6 muffins tried it the other way, and the batter was harder to mix and not quite the same…I almost made him swallow the mixing spoon. Okay, not really…).

Anyhow, after the dry and wet ingredients have been married, fold in the blueberries, banana pieces, and walnuts. Then, pour into a greased pan (I used a 9 x 8 pan, but you can use whatever depending on how thick you want your loaf, etc.).

As I’ve only baked these once, I don’t know exactly how long to cook them. The muffin recipe I had used said to bake the muffins for 16-18 minutes, but since I used a pan, the baking took at least half an hour, and the middle was still a bit gooey (as aforementioned)…My advice would be to bake for 30 minutes, check to see how brown the edges are, and adjust the time accordingly. And always err on the side of too-gooey.