almond butter banana bread

Sydney is back in lock-down and although I have sourdough starter in the fridge, instead of sourdough bread I thought I'd make that other lock down staple, banana bread. First I had to wait a week for my bananas to get really brown and the mashed banana is now loitering in the deep freeze.
With my barely used copy of Dessert Person sitting on the shelf and a bottle of almond butter in the cupboard, what else could I do but make a loaf of Claire Saffitz's almond butter banana bread? 
Banana bread is called a quick bread for good reason. It takes longer to line the tin and measure out the ingredients than it takes to construct the cake. I made a few changes to the recipe, sunflower oil for coconut oil and cinnamon for cardamom because of personal preference and buttermilk for yoghurt because I was low on yoghurt.
The sugar crusted almond butter swirl is a thing of beauty and a really tasty addition.
I made a half batch of the batter and baked the banana bread in my mini loaf tin. I'm currently taking a break from work and we're in lockdown so the gym is shut. I need to make small batch items and practice portion control otherwise those COVID kilos will creep up on me. Thankfully my next door neighbours are happy to accept socially distanced care packages and the rest of the loaf is sliced and in the freezer.
Here's the recipe for you which makes a small, 8 x 17 cm loaf. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C. If you'd like to make a larger loaf, then double the quantity of ingredients and the bake time should stay the same.
Almond butter banana bread, makes a small loaf – adapted from a Claire Saffitz recipe.

Almond butter swirl
1 tbs (22g) almond butter
2 tsp caster sugar
½ tsp neutral oil 
⅔ cup plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
generous pinch flaky salt
¼ tsp bicarb soda
½ tsp cinnamon
1 large egg, cold from the refrigerator
⅓ cup caster sugar
½ cup (112g) mashed banana (from very ripe bananas) approximately 1 large banana
¼ cup plain, whole-milk Greek yoghurt or buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbs (44g) almond butter
¼ cup neutral oil
¼ cup unsalted roasted chopped almonds (optional)
Place the oven rack in the centre of the oven then preheat the oven to 180º C, conventional. Grease then line a small loaf pan, base measuring 8 x 17 cm, with baking paper. Line the bottom and two longer sides with a piece of parchment paper, leaving an overhang of 2-3 cms on each side, and set the pan aside.
Almond butter swirl 
Stir together all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix until smooth. Set mixture aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, bicarb soda and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a jug, whisk the egg to break up the yolk and white. Add the remaining ⅓ cup sugar and whisk vigorously until the mixture is smooth and slightly thickened, about 30 seconds. Add the mashed banana, Greek yoghurt, vanilla, 2 tbs almond butter and ¼ cup oil and whisk vigorously until the mixture is smooth (some banana lumps are OK).
Pour the banana mixture into the bowl with the flour mixture and whisk gently, just until you have a smooth batter with no dry spots. Add the almonds (if using) and fold the batter with a flexible spatula, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl to make sure everything is well incorporated. 
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Dollop teaspoons of the reserved almond butter mixture all across the top of the batter and then use a toothpick or chopstick to drag figure eights across the surface, making a swirl pattern. 
Place in the preheated oven and bake until the top has risen and split and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, 50-60 minutes. Remove the banana bread from the oven and set aside to cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes.
When cool, use a paring knife or small offset spatula to cut between the cake and the pan along the shorter sides. Use the parchment paper to lift out the banana bread and let it cool completely on a wire rack before slicing. 
Makes one small loaf which, if well wrapped, will keep for 4 days. As expected, this banana bread is really, really good so good in fact that next time I make this I'll make a slightly larger loaf because bigger is better.
See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.
Bye for now,

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