One-Banana Banana Bread {Vegan}

I love banana bread. It’s a classic, easy crowd-pleaser, and while I’ve had a few that were subpar, I don’t think I’ve ever turned a slice away.

I already have two banana bread recipes on this site (see here and here). They are both pretty standard, containing the usual three overripe bananas. They’re great for those times when I have a bunch of near-rotten bananas lying around, but if I’m being honest, I rarely do. I buy a bunch nearly every week with the vague intention of making banana bread, but it almost never happens. Between breakfasts, snacks, and an obsession I have with creating a perfect banana milkshake, they’re gone long before they’re brown enough to be folded into brown sugar batter and slid into the oven.

Last night my boss offered me a banana that was far past its prime, casually suggesting that I make something with it. This is not an uncommon occurrence; people offer me their leftovers all the time in hopes that I’ll use them for some higher purpose. My biggest successes so far have been this Overnight Raspberry Cheesecake-Stuffed French Toast Bake and this Peanut Butter Granola.

I didn’t even have to think about what that banana would be thrown into–I came straight home to make an old favorite, Faux Martha’s One-Banana Banana Bread. I made this recipe over and over in the spring of 2015, using up overripe bodega bananas and messing with its chemistry in an effort to make it mine. I soon realized that her recipe was perfect already. As such, last night I had every intention of following her recipe to the letter, but upon discovering that I was out of eggs, I made a lot of adjustments at once.

The version I’m sharing today is vegan, made with a few easy changes. The “egg” is made from ground flaxseed and water. The buttermilk is a mixture of almond milk and apple cider vinegar. The butter is swapped for coconut oil. All the rest of the ingredients are standard fare: flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and so on. Fold them all together (but don’t stir too much–banana bread can easily be made tough), scrape the batter into a loaf pan, and bake for 40 minutes.

Now, this recipe does not make a ton of banana bread–there is just one banana in there after all–but the half-size loaf that it produces is seriously good. It’s dense, moist, and full of banana flavor. This loaf was made last night before bed, and when I woke up this morning to have a slice, the flavors had married perfectly.

For those of you wondering if this bread, being made without eggs and milk and butter, is as delicious as traditional banana bread, the answer is a resounding yes. I have toyed around with vegan baking here and there, but had never attempted a vegan banana bread until last night. I wondered if I’d be able to taste the flax or if the coconut oil would change the flavor, but I shouldn’t have worried. This One-Banana Banana Bread {Vegan} is just as delicious as the recipe that inspired it.

One-Banana Banana Bread {Vegan}
adapted from Faux Martha
makes 1 small 9×5″ loaf

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
3 tablespoons warm tap water
1/3 cup non-dairy milk
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1 large ripe banana

Preheat oven to 300F. Grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.

Make a flax egg. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together flaxseed and warm water. Let sit five minutes, or until thickened. Set aside.

In a measuring cup, whisk together non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together melted coconut oil and light brown sugar. Whisk in flax egg and non-dairy milk mixture followed by vanilla and mashed banana. Add dry ingredients. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold ingredients together (20 strokes maximum). Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let banana bread cool completely in the pan on a rack. Run a small, thin knife around the edge and invert. Slice and serve.

Banana bread is best the next day.

Southern-Style Cornbread & Chipotle-Lime Honey Butter

Southern-Style Cornbread & Chipotle-Lime Honey Butter99% of the time, I’m a biscuit kind of person. You’re making eggs? Great! I’ll make biscuits. Soup for dinner? Let me slap some biscuits together for you! It’s literally any hour of the day or night? Fantastic–let’s have biscuits.

Yes, biscuits are my answer to just about everything. But there’s something about snow that makes me want cornbread. Even the light dusting we had yesterday–it just screams cornbread to me. Where others might grab bread and milk when they are preparing to hunker down, I grab a pound of cornmeal.

Southern-Style Cornbread & Chipotle-Lime Honey ButterNow, there are two kinds of cornbread. In the north, cornbread is cakey and sweet. That’s all fine and good, but when I want cornbread, I want it southern–sturdy and deeply savory with crisp edges. It’s just as good sandwiched with a fried egg as it is as a side to soup or roast chicken.

My favorite cornbread requires just seven ingredients: yellow cornmeal, baking powder, salt, buttermilk, an egg, melted butter, and bacon fat. Yes, bacon fat. It makes the edges of this cornbread outrageously delicious and, of course, keeps it from sticking to the pan. Don’t have bacon fat lying around? Just substitute a tablespoon of neutral-flavored oil. It won’t have the same depth of flavor, but your cornbread will still come out of the oven with crispy edges.

You may also have noticed that there is no flour in this cornbread. This means it just happens to be gluten-free 😊

Southern-Style Cornbread & Chipotle-Lime Honey ButterWhile this recipe contains only a few ingredients, it needs a little technique to make the finished cornbread irresistible. The batter comes together in just a few minutes. Before you go to bake it though, make sure to get the pan nice and hot. I heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high for a good three minutes before swirling in the bacon fat. While the pan is still heating on the stove, I scrape in the batter and then let it cook for a minute before sliding it into the oven. This minute on the burner is just more assurance that the finished cornbread will have a great crispy edge.

Southern-Style Cornbread & Chipotle-Lime Honey ButterOne of my favorite things about making cornbread? It’s ready to eat just minutes after it comes out of the oven. I spend so many hours of my life waiting for things to cool–I love that this recipe doesn’t require that sort of tedium. In the ten minutes that I waited before slicing into this cornbread, I had time to whip up a simple Chipotle-Lime Honey Butter. While this Southern-Style Cornbread is perfectly delicious with a pat of regular butter, this spicy, tangy, slightly sweet butter really brings it over the top.Southern-Style Cornbread & Chipotle-Lime Honey Butter

Southern-Style Cornbread
makes about 8 servings

2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 large egg, room temperature
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon bacon fat (or neutral-flavored oil)

Preheat oven to 425F.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Combine buttermilk and egg in a measuring cup. Whisk together with a fork. Fold into dry ingredients. Fold in melted butter.

Heat an 8- or 9-inch oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat for at least 3 minutes. Add bacon fat and coat. Add cornbread batter. Cook for one minute before transferring to the oven. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cornbread cool for ten minutes before slicing into wedges and serving with Chipotle-Lime Honey Butter.

Chipotle-Lime Honey Butter
makes about 1/4 cup

1/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
zest of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt (omit if using salted butter)
1 teaspoon honey

Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Mash together with a fork. Taste and adjust chile powder by up to 1/4 teaspoon. Transfer compound butter to a serving dish.

Oat Crumble Banana Bread

 I almost didn’t share this recipe. Heck, I almost didn’t make this recipe.

Two weeks ago, I received an order for a hummingbird cake, so I went out and bought the necessary coconut, pecans, pineapple, and bananas. But things happen, and I had to cancel four days before the cake was scheduled for delivery; a friend of mine passed, and I was asked to cater the memorial. It was something to which I simply could not say “no.” So the bananas continued to brown, and the first half of the Fourth of July weekend was spent marathon-cooking with my friend, David, going to the service, and making sure all of the 100+ guests were fed. 

I got home Saturday night and noticed the browning bananas on my way to bed, figuring I’d throw them in something the next day. Sunday, my friend Liz came over to make pie, and the bananas were neglected again. I went into work unexpectedly on the Fourth of July, so no baking happened that day. 

When I went to pour my cold brew on Tuesday morning, I noticed the little bunch of bananas drooping off my baker’s rack, brown and visibly soft, seemingly minutes away from being inedible. And so I peeled and mashed all four and gently stirred them into banana bread batter. I poured it into a loaf pan with every intention of keeping it plain…but that’s not really my style. Classic banana bread is great, but I’m the kind of baker who loves to add cinnamon swirls, layers of cheesecake, or at the very least, a handful of chocolate chips anywhere I can. But it’s hard to add any of that stuff once the batter’s in the pan and the oven is making your kitchen a sauna. I was about to tap the pan on the counter and slide it into the oven, but then I paused, grabbed a half-stick of butter I had leftover in the fridge, a canister of oats, and some walnuts, and mixed up a quick crumble to sprinkle over the top before baking. 

When I took the loaf out of the oven, I had no intention of posting the recipe. The oat crumble had huge, beautiful clusters, my whole apartment smelled of cinnamon and bananas, and I couldn’t wait to have a slice before heading to work, but who really needs another banana bread recipe? Once you have a good one, you make it over and over, forever-and-ever-amen. I already have a whole wheat version on here, and I wasn’t planning to add another anytime soon. Plus, I had a lemon cake on the docket. Again, I was not going to post this recipe. 

But then, I ate a slice. And I followed it with a second one. All afternoon at work, I thought about the soft cinnamon-banana bread base and the crispy, crunchy combination of oats, toasted walnuts, and brown sugar in the crumble. It really is perfection in a mouthful. And so the lemon cake got pushed to next week, and here I am posting a second banana bread recipe.

And that, my friends, is the very long story of how this Oat Crumble Banana Bread recipe came to appear on this blog. 

 Oat Crumble Banana Bread
makes one 9×5″ loaf

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup neutral-flavored oil (I like canola)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup plain yogurt (nonfat is fine)
4 large ripe bananas, mashed

Oat Crumble:
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts (optional)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9×5″ loaf pan and line it with parchment, leaving a little overhang on the long sides. Grease the parchment. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oil and brown sugar, followed by eggs, plain yogurt, and mashed bananas. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to stir the batter together in no more than 20 strokes. There may be some small bits of visible flour–this is fine.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Set aside while you prepare the oat crumble.

In a small mixing bowl, stir together oats, flour, cinnamon, light brown sugar, salt, and walnuts. Use a pastry blender (or two forks) to cut butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Use your fingers to scatter the crumble over the top of the banana bread batter. Tap the full pan on the counter five times before baking for 55-65 minutes, tenting with foil at the 30 minute mark. The banana bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with only a few moist crumbs.

Let the bread cool completely in the pan on a rack. Use the parchment overhang to lift the bread out of the pan onto a cutting board. Slice and serve.

Oat Crumble Banana Bread will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to ten days.

Cinnamon Swirl Zucchini Bread

 Isn’t it funny how our tastes evolve as we age? Things that we were horrified by years ago become our favorites out of the blue, leaving us with no idea of when or why our opinions changed. Sometimes we don’t even notice that we’ve changed at all.

For instance, my mother ordered a slice of zucchini bread once on a family vacation eighteen years ago. We were in who-knows-where Pennsylvania at the crack of dawn, eating breakfast at a picnic table outside a white clapboard coffee shop. I have no memory of what I ordered, but I remember being taken aback when my mom sat down with that bread. 

It was like I didn’t even know her anymore. Who was this woman, and why was she trying to ruin breakfast with vegetables? She offered me a bite and I recoiled in horror (internally, at least). Don’t get me wrong, I liked vegetables, but in my thirteen year-old mind, there was something utterly wrong about eating bread loaded with squash. 

But times have changed. Here I am eighteen years later, writing a blog post about zucchini bread. I don’t know when I moved over to the dark green side, but I’m now a card-carrying member. I mean, what’s not to love about soft, sweet, cinnamon-scented quick bread? It’s perfect for breakfast or a snack or dessert. Sure, there’s zucchini in there, but aside from a few green flecks, it’s not even noticeable. It’s only there for moisture. And you could use buttermilk or sour cream or yogurt for that anytime of year, but when the produce aisles are exploding with ripe, reasonably-priced zucchini, why not take full advantage?!

This zucchini bread recipe is a total classic and would be great with a cup of chopped nuts stirred into the batter, but today, let’s get a little crazy and fill our quick bread with a tunnel of melted cinnamon-sugar. Yes, you read that correctly. This isn’t any old zucchini bread–this is Cinnamon Swirl Zucchini Bread! 

So how do you get all that cinnamon-sugar goodness inside your quickbread? Well, it’s surprisingly easy. Once the simple no-mixer-required batter is stirred together, half of it is poured into the bottom of a loaf pan, then blanketed in cinnamon-sugar before the rest of the batter is layered on top. As the zucchini bread bakes, the cinnamon-sugar layer melts and moves as the bread rises. Once the loaf is completely cool, you can slice it up and see a little swirl of sweet cinnamon goodness throughout 😍 

Oh yes, this Cinnamon Swirl Zucchini Bread is something that even little thirteen year-old me could get excited about. And who wouldn’t? It’s moist, sweet, lightly spiced quick bread swirled with melted cinnamon-sugar, and it comes with a small serving of vegetables that you can’t even taste. It’s the dream. 

 Cinnamon Swirl Zucchini Bread
makes one 9×5″ loaf

For the pan:
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil

Cinnamon Swirl:*
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Zucchini Bread:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup neutral-flavored oil (I use canola)
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups shredded zucchini, not packed (about 1 1/2 large zucchini)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Grease the pan. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together flour and oil. Use a pastry brush to paint the entire inside of a 9×5″ loaf pan. Pour out any excess. Set aside.

Prepare the cinnamon swirl. In a separate small bowl, use a fork to whisk together granulated sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

Make the zucchini bread. In a medium-large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oil, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar. The mixture will be clumpy, like wet sand. Add eggs one-by-one, whisking to combine after each addition. Stir in vanilla, followed by shredded zucchini. Add dry ingredients, and stir just until combined (no more than 20-25 strokes).

Transfer half the batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with all of the cinnamon swirl mixture. Top with the remaining batter, spreading to cover the cinnamon-sugar layer. Lightly tap the pan on the counter to release any large air bubbles. Bake 40-50 minutes, tenting with foil at the 20 minute mark. Bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs.

Let zucchini bread cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Once the bread is cool, run a small thin knife around the edges of the pan before inverting to release. Slice and serve.

Store bread in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days.

Note:

If you don’t wish to use the cinnamon swirl, add an extra teaspoon of cinnamon to the zucchini bread batter.

Easy Scratch Chocolate Croissants

 I love a good complicated cooking project. My idea of the perfect day? Making a full Thanksgiving dinner by myself.

Yeah, I’m a little crazy.

But not crazy enough to attempt croissants from scratch…yet. The dough itself isn’t complicated, but there’s a ton of folding, and then there’s a process where butter is laminated into the dough. I’m sure I’ll get around to making the real deal someday, but for now I’m taking the easy way out.

I’m certainly not going to skimp on flavor though. No way! These chocolate croissants are buttery, flaky, and bursting with chocolate! And they take just two hours start-to-finish. 

Easy Scratch Chocolate Croissants are super simple. The dough is what’s called a “rough puff“–homemade puff pastry with all the difficulty taken out. It only has four ingredients, takes just minutes to put together, and is just as good (if not better) than the all-butter puff pastry you find in the freezer aisle. Plus, there’s some serious pride in being able to say “Oh, yeah. I made the pastry.” Trust me–when you say that, people look at you like you’re Julia Child. What they don’t know is that it’s really no trouble at all.

Basically, rough puff pastry is like making pie dough or biscuits–cold butter is cut into dry ingredients before liquid is added. After everything is stirred together, a shaggy dough forms. Be careful to keep everything cold; the butter must stay solid until it reaches the oven, or the dough will be tough instead of flaky and layered.

A word on ingredients. Don’t be tempted to use regular store-brand butter here–the dough needs the extra fat content found in European or cultured butters. Plus, this recipe has so few ingredients that quality really matters. American-style butter is delicious, but if you’ve ever had European butter, you know how insanely rich and luxurious it is. When it’s used in pastry, that richness translates into some seriously amazing breakfast. So, don’t use just any butter you have in your fridge–go for the really good stuff. I like Kerrygold, Lurpak, and President. Enough about butter! Back to the rough puff. Once you have your shaggy dough, turn it out onto a very well-floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a rectangle that measures roughly 8×10″. Take one of the short sides and fold it so that the edge of the dough meets the center, like folding a piece of paper to fit in an envelope. Fold the other short side of the dough over the top–again, just like folding paper for an envelope. Turn the folded dough one quarter-turn. Roll it back into an 8×10″ rectangle, then fold and turn again. Repeat this until you have done it six times total. This will create unbelievably flaky pastry with visible layers!

Wrap your folded dough in plastic wrap, and chill it for at least an hour. This dough may be chilled up to 48 hours, or frozen! If you choose to freeze it, just thaw it in the fridge overnight before using it.

When you are ready to make croissants, unwrap your folded dough and place it on a very well-floured surface. Unfold the dough and use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough out to a 12×18″ rectangle. Slice the dough into eight small triangles, each with two long sides.  
Take each triangle and place a bit of chopped dark chocolate near the short side. Use your fingertips to roll the short side over the chocolate, continuing to roll toward the point where the long sides meet. Shape the ends in any way you choose, and pinch any gaps together. If the dough gets warm or sticky at any point in this process, chill it briefly before continuing. 

  Place your croissants on a lined baking sheet, and brush each one with egg wash. Place the pan in a 425F oven and close the door. Immediately turn the oven down to 400F and bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden. Then, prepare for buttery, flaky, chocolaty heaven. Oh my word.

I know that seems like a lot of steps, but this really is a simple recipe. There are only six ingredients, and you can have warm, homemade chocolate croissants on your table in about two hours! All that’s left to do is sit back with a cup of coffee or tea and pretend you’re in Paris 😊 

 Easy Scratch Chocolate Croissants
makes 8 small croissants

Rough Puff Pastry:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
5 ounces unsalted European-style butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup water or milk, very cold

For Croissants:
4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 large egg, room temperature

Make the pastry. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Pour in cold water or milk and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Turn dough out onto surface, and use your hands to pat it into a rough square. Roll the dough into an 8×10″ rectangle. Fold dough in thirds, and give it one quarter turn. Roll into an 8×10″ rectangle again, fold, and turn. Repeat rolling, folding, and turning until it has been done six times total. Wrap folded dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours.

Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Unfold dough. Roll into a 12×18″ rectangle. Use a sharp knife or pizza wheel to cut dough into quarters. Slice each quarter diagonally so that you have eight triangles with two long sides and one short side. Place roughly 1 tablespoon chopped dark chocolate near the short side of each triangle. Use your fingers to roll the short side toward the pointed end where the two long sides meet. If there are any gaps, squeeze them together with your fingers. Repeat with all triangles.*

Place croissants at least 2-inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Whisk egg with a fork. Use a pastry brush to paint each croissant with egg. Place full pan in oven. Immediately turn temperature down to 400F. Bake 12-15 minutes, until puffed and golden. Let cool five minutes before serving.

Croissants are best the day they are made, but will keep in a covered container at room temperature for up to 48 hours. 

Note:

Easy Scratch Chocolate Croissants may be frozen at this point. To do so, place croissants on a lined baking sheet and freeze until solid. Once completely frozen, place croissants in a freezer bag for up to one month. When you are ready to bake, there is no need to thaw. Follow the instructions as written, adding a minute or two to the baking time.