There's a pleasant shift in the cooler days brought by autumn. Following Easter and the end of daylight savings, we relax with an extra hour to rest in the mornings. Our evenings become darker an hour earlier and the calm predictability of life at home during this transition feels familiar and welcome.
My mind drifts to spiced pumpkin soup, hot earl grey tea at breakfast and camomile tea in the evening. I plan our winter wardrobe as I rotate our light summer clothes towards the back of the shelves, reminiscing over the last times we wore each item in the sun. Love's summer wardrobe is packed away in boxes bound for donation as she will have outgrown these tiny clothes by the time we wind our clocks forward again in the springtime. Our tiny daughter seems more willing to snuggle against me a little longer every morning and I relish the opportunity to share the warmth from her sweetly scented skin.
In addition to carefully preparing our winter wardrobe, Autumn is also a time for dusting off the baking trays. Gone are the popsicle moulds and salad bowls in place of my slow cooker, loaf pan and various cake tins. This season is all about reacquainting myself with the art of baking and what better way to start than with an easy banana bread; no electric beaters or eggs required.
Vegan Banana Bread
2 large or 3 small very ripe bananas
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil (not olive oil)
1/2 cup raw sugar
2 Tbs maple syrup or molasses
2 cups gluten free self-raising flour
3/4 tsp gluten free baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (ground nutmeg is ok)
Preheat your oven to 180 C (350 F). Lightly grease a 9 x 5 inch (23 x 13 cm) loaf pan with cooking oil spray and line with baking paper.
In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas very well. Add the sugar, applesauce, oil, and maple syrup and stir to combine.
Sift in the flour, baking powder, & spices. Use a wooden spoon to gently mix until the dry ingredients are incorporated, taking care not to over beat the batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, smooth the top with the back of a spoon and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. The top should be lightly browned and a knife inserted through the centre should come out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for five minutes in the pan, then cool on a cooking rack.
To make a blueberry banana bread variation, I add a generous 1/3 cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen) to the batter after stirring the flour and mashed bananas together. Baking time is the same.
You can also pour this batter into a muffin tin. It makes 6 large or 12 small-medium sized muffins.
Slice only the sections you wish to eat and serve warm. A few seconds in the microwave will resurrect the freshness if served the next day. This heartwarming, moist banana bread is best enjoyed warm from the oven, with the option of your favourite jam for those with an extra sweet tooth.
What is your favourite recipe to bake when the cooler days arrive?