I was a little late to the lockdown banana bread trend, but a bowlful of ripe bananas during lockdown #3 finally brought it to the fore. In truth, I’d caught the dreaded virus. Mild symptoms, fortunately, but it did send my taste buds out of whack. Foods I usually liked were suddenly unappealing. I often felt hungry but not in the mood for anything. So I made some banana bread. And it was good! Slightly sweet with a nice hit of spice actually worked for me. And what could be more comforting than whisky?
I was originally going to call this “healthy hiker’s banana bread” for its lack of both refined sugar and loads of butter. But I decided the presence of something awesome like whisky is far more interesting than the absence of something relatively boring (though I do love good butter). But in case you’re wondering:
- This banana bread is sweetened with bananas of course, plus a little maple syrup or honey – no refined sugar
- Yoghurt adds necessary moisture (use whatever yoghurt you have – I made this with 0% fat Greek yoghurt), and the three eggs ensure a good rise and light fluffy result.
- Wholemeal flour and nuts help provide sustained energy on the trail, and lack of refined sugar guards against sugar crashes. I also soak my raisins in whisky for added flavour – you can skip it of course, but a little whisky on a big walk is always welcome in my opinion. (Did I mention this recipe pairs very nicely with a flask of good single malt?)
Even whisky is good for you!
“Being moderately taken, it slows the age, cuts phlegm, helps digestion, cures the dropsy, it heals the strangulation, keeps and preserves the head from whirling, the tongue from lisping, the stomach from womblying, the guts from rumbling, the hands from shivering, the bones from aching…and truly it is a sovereign liquor if it be orderly taken.”– Raphael Hollinshed, Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland. (1577)
In truth, this whisky-soaked banana bread isn’t just for hiking – it’s a great snack anytime or anywhere. But this is a website all about adventures so I’m branding it as such! And besides, one can only eat so many snack bars.
If whisky isn’t your bag, you can try this with bourbon, run, port, or other favourite elixir (Earl Grey Tea would be interesting). And don’t forget your drink pairing: this whisky & raisin banana banana bread was born to be matched with a flask of something appropriate (like more whisky).
And in case you’re wondering what whisky I like: Lagavulin and Laphroaig or long time favourites. But I’m currently working my way through a bottle of Bunnahabhain 12 year old that I’m enjoying very much! (I will confess that I usually use a less fancy whisky for cooking purposes, however a smoky Laphroaig banana bread would be something else!)
- More hiking snacks
- Six of the best drinks to carry in a hipflask
- For a not so healthy banana bread, try Nigella Lawson’s banana bread which is sublime.
Whisky & Raisin Banana Bread
- 100 g raisins or sultanas
- 75 ml whisky, bourboun, rum, port or other elixir
- 140 g wholemeal flour
- 100 g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- 400 g ripe bananas mashed
- 4 tbsp agave syrup, maple syrup, or honey
- 3 eggs beaten
- 150 ml yoghurt
- 50 g pecan or walnuts roughly chopped
- Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3.
- In a small saucepan, combine the raisins (or sultanas) and whisky (or rum) and bring to the boil. Take off from the heat, cover, and leave to sit while you get on with the rest of the recipe. (This is done to plump the raisins. You can skip this step, but it does make them nicer! If not using whisky or rum, try orange juice, or even just water.)
- Line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment. Mix the flours, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, spices and a pinch of salt in a large bowl.
- Mix the bananas, syrup, eggs and yoghurt. Stir into dry ingredients until just mixed, then fold in the raisins and nuts. Gently scrape into the tin.
- Bake for 1 hr 10 mins-1 hr 15 mins or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Cool in tin on a wire rack. Enjoy warm or at room temperature. It’s also good toasted and smeared with good salty butter!