Cardamom Banana Oat Bread

I used to make banana bread all the time. In my early years of grad school, I was pretty much living off the bargain produce bin at Berkeley Bowl, and I always had more bananas than I could eat before they went south. And so I made banana bread, in one hundred different variations. But then when my circumstances became slightly less dire, I started baking all kinds of other things (scones! cakes! cupcakes!), and humble banana bread was left in the dust. Until now!

The thing is, I really like to eat oats for breakfast. I ate this baked oatmeal, with minor variations, for months on end. I loved it. I tried traditional oatmeal too, and sometimes I ate it raw in yogurt, a trick I learned from my dad, who calls it “concrete.” A very good name for it! But I happened to have a few bananas, and I became fixated on the idea of putting oats into banana bread. With cardamom! And thus, this breakfast was born.

The batter is nice and thick, just the way I like it, and I sprinkled a few oats on top for good measure.

If I’ve learned anything in my adult years, it’s that we all have a tried and true banana bread recipe. I prefer butter to oil, for instance, and if it doesn’t have nuts of some kind, it’s not worth eating, at least for me. So I encourage you to try throwing a few teaspoons of cardamom into your next batch of your favorite recipe. It is so delicious! And, I have to say, it also pairs really nicely with chocolate. I had many a slice slathered with Nutella: heavenly! However you like it, I hope you enjoy!

Cardamom Banana Oat Bread
Adapted from The Daily Green

1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 c all purpose flour
1 c quick-cooking oats
1/2 c brown sugar (or 3/4 c, if you like it more than lightly sweet)
2 1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c butter
1 c mashed bananas (about 2)
1 c milk
2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
1/2 to 1 c walnuts or pecans

-Preheat oven to 350 F and grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan.
-Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer.
-Cut in the butter with two knives or a pastry cutter until the texture resembles moist sand.
-Add the wet ingredients and stir just until moistened through, adding the nuts last.
-Pour batter into prepared pan, topping with a few dry oats.
-Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes, but start checking it with a cake tester at 40 minutes. Be careful not to over bake, as the oats will tend to make the bread dry out quickly.
-Let the bread cool on a rack for 20 minutes before removing from the pan. Slice and enjoy!



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