Stop me if you've heard this one. What do you get when you cross carrot cake with banana bread?
Did you ever wonder why moms make so much banana bread? I hadn't given it much thought until this weekend, but now I know. If you have kids, bananas are a staple. An utter must. Since the amount of kids I might need to feed can jump from one to five in an instant at the whim of our little social bee, I now stock them in the double digits. This also means that there are bananas of varying ripeness on hand, and more and more often lately, the smashed carried all day in my purse in case Greta got an instant case of the hungries bruised and beaten banana that gets stuck back in the fridge if still uneaten when day is done.
This lovely bread—as inviting as a breakfast bread as it is an after-nap weekend snack—is the happy accident when a few of those bruisers and last night's leftover carrot mash were calling to me "Reinvent me. Bake! Make me beautiful again!"
And here's the big reveal...there were. I topped my Carrot-Banana bread with sprinkling of sunflower seeds, rolled oats and hazelnuts (and walnuts on the other) for extra flavor and fiber, but you could add any combo of nuts, seeds and grains to the top (or insides) or yours. Give it a little love, it's deserving.
Makes 2 large loaves or 4 to 5 small loaves
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups raw organic sugar
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
10 ounces pure carrot puree (1 1/4 cups)
2 cups white whole-wheat flour or whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 to 3 very ripe smashed bananas
¼ cup rolled oats or barley
¼ cup lightly toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped (or walnuts)
3 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter 2 standard loaf pans or 4 to 5 mini pans and dust evenly with flour.
Beat the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer in a medium bowl on medium-high speed until thick and pale yellow, about 4 minutes. Add the oil and carrot puree. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and cinnamon and stir into the batter until evenly combined. Pour into the prepared pans and top with oats, nuts and sunflower seeds. Bake until the breads spring back lightly when touched and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes, or 20 to 22 minutes for small loaves. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Wrap well and set aside to ripen overnight or eat warm with butter.
Photos and Recipes © Sarah Copeland 2012
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