Spiced Banana Bread with Dates and Walnuts

Is this the fiftieth (at least) recipe for banana bread you’ve encountered since autumn has officially started? No doubt. Have you already found your perfect recipe for banana bread? Probably. Is my recipe here the perfect one? I couldn’t say (I keep telling you, I am not the best baker up in here). But, is this banana bread full of warming spices, sticky sweet dates and crunchy walnuts, which makes it one of my favorite baked goods to have (with a hot cup of tea) on a gloomy autumn or winter day? You bet! Should you at least try to make it to see if it could be your favorite autumn snack too? I believe so.


This banana bread is relatively light with a moist, cakey bread-like texture rather than a stickier heavy loaf (though you may prefer the dense, heavier kind for which you may want to add less bicarbonate of soda). But, unlike bread, this banana bread keeps really well for at least three days if not more (I was unable to “research” if it lasts any longer) and I believe it tastes even better on day two and three than it does on day one (on the first day you get the bonus of your house smelling like real autumn baking).


Speaking of taste: my banana bread is full of aromatic spices and other extra goodies, but none of that delicious banana flavor is compromised. Promise. 
How do you make sure that your banana bread really has that maximum banana flavor? Well, I think everyone knows that you need overripe bananas to make banana bread. Not only does the mushy texture make it easier to incorporate the bananas into the batter, but super ripe bananas have a sweeter and more intense banana flavor and aroma. And when I say ripe bananas, I mean RIPE. Beyond ripe. Put the R.I.P. in ripe – deceased. I think bananas aren’t ready to be ‘banana bread bananas’ if their skin isn’t almost totally dark brown and the bananas give off a super sweet aroma and feel mushy (some of the bananas in the photographs above definitely aren’t there yet). If freckled bananas already gross you out and you find them too intense, then you’re not ready for this one.

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Spiced Banana Bread with Dates and Walnuts

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Banana bread full of warming spices, nuts and dates that is perfect for autumn (or any other season)
  • Difficulty:Easy
  • Prep Time:15 mins
  • Cook Time:60 mins
  • Freezable:Yes

Nutrition per portion

  • 4 to 5 super ripe bananas (you need 500g without peel)*
  • 120g unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 150g soft dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temp.
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 250g all-purpose flour + 1 tablespoon
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (about 6g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (about 4g)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Few gratings of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 100g chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 100g chopped dates, weight without pips
  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Mash the super ripe bananas (save part of one for decoration*) with a fork until it looks like baby food.
  3. In a bowl, combine room temp butter with the sugar until it looks creamy, then stir in the mashed bananas, grated ginger and two eggs.
  4. In another large mixing bowl, combine flour (reserve the 1 tablespoon), bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and freshly grated nutmeg.
  5. Bit by bit, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. Whisk gently until well combined and no flour pockets are present. Don’t over whisk.
  6. Lightly dust your chopped walnuts and dates with the reserved tablespoon of flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom. Gently fold the nuts and dates into the batter.
  7. Lightly grease a bread or cake tin and pour in the batter.
  8. If using, slice your leftover (part of) banana length-wise and arrange slices on top of the batter.
  9. Bake in the center of the preheated oven for about an hour. Check on the bread from time to time after 30 minutes, if the top becomes too dark, loosely tent the banana bread with some aluminum foil to avoid burning.
*I needed 4 and a bit of the fifth banana to get 500g of mushed banana for the banana bread and used the leftover half banana for decoration.

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