Banana-Nut Bread with Lavender

Bananas do not fare well in hot Utah summers.

Some months ago, I pleasantly accepted the reality that Jade enjoyed a banana each morning at breakfast. Considering that my school year breakfast is not uncommonly a Rock Star and a raspberry fritter from the 7-11, I can’t harden my heart to a cute toddler expecting a banana. Plus, they’re cheap. What’s not to love? I can buy a bunch once or twice a week and she’s a happy girl.

Then summer hit. The darn things went bad as soon as they landed in the fruit bowl, leaving me to buy fewer bananas more often.

And occasionally making banana-based substances.

I have been fiddling with this basic recipe for some time now. A couple of years ago my grandmother-in-law gave me this old southern cake recipe book. This book is beloved. Only three recipes have seen the light of day, but the book is warm and friendly and full of tips. My favorite recipe was that of “banana-nut cake”, which I gradually tweaked a little bit to my own tastes and what was getting a good response from the family.

Then today, on a lark, I added lavender in two forms: mixing in a couple of drops of lavender essential oil with my eggs and using for part of my chocolate a lavender chocolate bar.

The bread already has a magnificent crust and the molasses makes it rich. But the lavender? There’s something a little wondrous about it, a subtle richness particularly in the chocolate.

Perhaps I’m in a lavender mood. I am attempting to grow some out in my garden and whilst at the farmers’ market today I found myself at the stand of Blue Canyon Farm with their awesome lavender. Lavender… sigh. It’s just so summery!

Here we go, then… Banana-nut Bread with Lavender:

1 stick of butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp.  molasses
2 eggs, room temperature
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
2-3 drops lavender essential oil
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 bar of lavender chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat sugar, molasses and butter together until fluffy. Obviously, you can substitute the sugar and molasses for actual brown sugar, but I like being able to control it. I can’t go back to packaged brown sugar anymore.

Add the eggs, bananas and essential oil, beat well.

Combine the flour, salt, powder, and soda together and slooowly combine with the wet stuff. Mix until it is just mixed. Apparently overbeating things is bad. I try to avoid this.

Then, add nuts and chocolate. Pour into a greased bread pan and pop into the oven. Bake it for 1 hour, 15 minutes.



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