(I’ve been making this bread almost weekly for the past year and a half, so by now I have a really good handle about how to make it consistently good every time. So I wanted to update this post with those changes, and new pictures showing how I do it now. Normally if I need to update a post, I’ll just add a little note and say that it’s an edit, leaving the original intact. But since I have a completely different method now, I need to replace all the pictures, so I’m basically just going to end up rewriting the whole post. So if you’re used to the old post and wonder why it’s different now, that’s why!)
I’ve been eating this bread pretty much every day for breakfast. It satisfies that early morning sweet craving, and when topped with homemade chocolate almond (or peanut) butter, it has a lot of staying power! It easily carries me through to lunch. It’s not as sweet as my old sugar-laden recipe was, but it’s has a nutty, mildly sweet flavor that satisfies me perfectly fine. I hope it does you as well.
One of the things that gives this bread great flavor is the browned butter. It deepens it and gives a slight toffee smell and taste that’s wonderful! It’s not hard at all to brown butter, but if it intimidates you, you can always use just regular softened butter – it’ll still turn out fine. It just won’t have quite as much flavor.
Just get 1/2 cup of butter in a pan and turn on the heat to medium high.
If you look closely at the picture, you can see the white solids of the butter sinking to the bottom while the clarified oils rise to the top. Those white solids are the part that’s going to brown.
I have a gas stove, so I usually just pick up the pan and kind of swirl it around over the flame to keep it moving. You, of course, can just use a spoon for that if you’d rather!
After a minute or so, it’ll probably start to foam up like this.
That’s okay! Don’t freak! Just keep it moving until you start to notice some dark brown liquid bubbling up through the foam.
That’s the browned butter solids. Turn off the heat. The bubbling will immediately settle down. And it should smell wonderful and nutty and caramelly.
Pour it into a mixing bowl to speed up the cooling process.
I typically plan ahead of time when I’m going to make this, so I’ll brown the butter at night so that it’s the consistency of softened butter in the morning. If you’re in a hurry, though, you can stick it in the fridge for a bit. Just make sure to take it out before it gets too hard! When it’s ready it should look like this.
While you’re waiting for your butter to solidify, soften your dates. Get about 15 large dates, pitting them if necessary, and put them in a heat safe bowl.
Pour boiling water over top to cover them.
How hard your dates are when you start out will determine how long they need to soak. Mine generally only need about 10 minutes, but you should leave them until they’re mushy soft.
When they’re soft, take them in your hands and sort of squeeze the excess liquid out of them, then put them in your food processor.
Pulse a few times to get them going. They’ll probably end up going to the outside of the container because there’s not enough liquid in there. I used to add some of the soaking liquid, but I found that this could make the bread soggy sometimes. So now I add in the eggs instead! It serves the purpose of adding liquid to get the dates pureed, but it’s liquid that’s already in the recipe so you’re not messing with the liquid to dry ratio at all.
Process, scraping down the sides as necessary, until the dates are completely pureed with the eggs. It’ll look like this.
Take three VERY ripe bananas, peel them, and mash them up with a fork. I used to put them in the food processor with the dates, but I found that the consistency of the bread is much nicer when they’re more roughly mashed this way.
Now scrape the mashed bananas and the date/egg puree in with your browned butter and mix it up.
I also add in two droppers full of liquid Stevia (about 30 drops) to boost the sweetness. This is the brand I use, and I’ve really loved it. It doesn’t taste nearly as strange and bitter as the kinds I’d used before, and it’s pure – no additives – and organic. If you use a different brand, I don’t know if this same amount will work or not. If you’d rather not use Stevia but still want to boost the sweetness you can add some honey or palm sugar – but then you’ll have to think more carefully about eating it.
Add in the dry ingredients: whole grain spelt, almond or cashew meal, baking soda, and salt. I now use more baking soda than my original recipe called for, as I’ve found that it needs a little extra boost to rise well. Also, I always use almond or cashew MEAL as opposed to flour, so if you use flour instead the amount might be different – I don’t know because I’ve never tried. I’d suggest starting with less and seeing how the consistency is, then adding more as you feel you need!
I love a little texture to my food, so I like to add chopped pecans and cacao nibs to the batter. I think it’s delicious! You can just leave these out if you’d rather, though.
Mix it all up until it forms a moderately thick batter.
Spread it into a large loaf pan that’s been greased with coconut oil, butter, or palm shortening.
Bake at 350 for 75 minutes.
Let it cool for about 15 minutes, then slide a knife around the edge and turn it out. Cut a piece for yourself while it’s still crusty and hot and wonderful!
Be sure to smother it with nice grass-fed butter.
And top it with chocolate nut butter and wash it all down with a glass of farm fresh raw milk if you really want to fill yourself up! This is pretty much what I have for breakfast most days. I like to put a slice in the toaster oven to crisp and warm it a bit first. It’s quick and easy and yummy, so it’s my perfect kind of breakfast!
Now, as I said, this bread isn’t as overwhelmingly sweet as banana bread that has sugar in it, but it is definitely sweet enough. Or at least it is for me (especially with the chocolate peanut butter on top!) If you want it sweeter, you can always add palm sugar or honey for some of the dates but then you won’t be able to eat it as liberally. I love the fact that I can eat as much of this as I want, so I’m fine with the mild sweetness of it for that reason!
Enjoy as breakfast, a snack, or even – with some whipped cream or fruit – dessert!
- ½ cup butter
- 15 large dates, pitted
- 3 very ripe large bananas, mashed with a fork
- 2 eggs
- 2 droppers full (about 30 drops) of liquid Stevia (I use Trader Joe's organic brand)
- ¾ cup whole grain spelt
- ¾ cup almond meal or cashew meal
- 1½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- (optional) handful of chopped pecans
- (optional) handful of cacao nibs
- Heat the oven to 350 and grease a large loaf pan with butter, coconut oil, or palm shortening.
- Brown the butter. Put the butter in pan over medium high heat. You'll see white butter solids on the bottom of the pan as it melts - that's what will brown. After a minute or so it'll start to really foam. Keep stirring until you see brown come bubbling up through the foam from the bottom. Remove from heat. It should be a dark brown and smell nutty and caramelly, but not burned.
- Pour the browned butter into a mixing bowl and let it come to the consistency of softened butter. You can stick it in the fridge for a bit if you want to speed it up.
- While you're waiting for your butter to solidify, start softening your dates. Put them in a heat-safe bowl and pour boiling water over them to cover. Let them sit for 10-15 minutes, or until they're very soft and almost mushy.
- After the dates are soft, remove them from the bowl with your hands, squeezing out the excess liquid. Put them in your food processor.
- Pulse them a few times to get them started, and then crack the two eggs into the food processor to add some liquid and let them puree better. Process the dates and eggs together until completely pureed.
- Scrape the egg/date puree and the mashed bananas into the bowl with the browned butter. Add in the liquid stevia or other sweetener if using.
- Add in the dry ingredients: the spelt, nut meal, baking soda, salt, and pecans and cacao nibs. Mix thoroughly.
- Spread into the greased loaf pan.
- Bake for 75 minutes, or until the center springs back when pressed with your finger.