Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Almond Blueberry Banana Bread #BreadBakers

Almond flour is the secret ingredient that adds richness and extra flavor to this almond blueberry banana bread, making it buttery, without any butter. As a bonus to many, it's also gluten free!


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about friendship and what it is that creates those bonds. Sometimes it’s a hobby or interest in common that brings us together. Other times it’s weathering a storm or difficult circumstances or even living in a challenging place at the same time. As expats in far-flung locations, we come to depend on each other, become like family, because we have no one else who understands us, who gets what we are going through.

The blogging world is like that too. I can’t compare starting my food blog with moving to places like Balikpapan, Indonesia or Macaé, Brazil, but back in 2011, typing up words and sending out a recipe for possibly no one to read and comment on felt equally as solitary at the beginning. (Six years ago this very month!)

Like moving to a new city and country, finding friends in the food blogging corner of cyberspace takes time. My first blog, started in 2007, was set to private. I didn’t see it as a way to connect with anyone but family. I told stories of our holidays and posted photos of our girls. But with the public food blog, all that changed. I was a nervous wreck the first time I actually shared a post link on Facebook with friends. What would they think? Would anyone read it? Worse, would they laugh?

My confidence grew as I made blogger friends, joined the Food Bloggers Network group on Facebook, exchanged tips and comments on cooking and recipe writing and photography and social media. I learned the meaning of foreign terms like SEO and white balance and bounce rates, including the mysterious ways of Google analytics. I began participating in themed group events, like Sunday Supper and Bundt-a-Month and Muffin Mondays.

I might never have believed it before, but my online friends, my fellow bloggers, became real friends. We chat privately, in twos and in groups. We commiserate with each other. We support each other. We laugh and we vent. We are a community drawn together by our like interests, our love of cooking, our frustration with changing social media algorithms and learning new technology, and the profound knowledge that we are understood.

________

This month my Bread Bakers group is using nut flours to bake our breads at the instigation of our host Cindy of Cindy’s Recipes and Writings. I’ve been enamored of using almond flour in baked goods since I first read Nigella Lawson’s languorous description in her How To Eat of the clementine cake she makes every Christmastime.

While the gluten free flour mix in this recipe can be easily substituted with all-purpose flour, I chose to make a gluten free recipe today to honor my friend and fellow blogger, T.R. Crumbley of Gluten Free Crumbley, one of our community who left us too soon, not even 30 years old.

As a member of the Sunday Supper, Movement, I got to know T.R. through our group events. He was a sweetheart, quick to volunteer his help, the first to crack a joke and at our annual Food Wine Conference, the life of the party. I’m so sorry that he was too sick to join us in person this year where he was honored as Bloggers' Choice Blogger of the Year. He’d have been in his element at the Strawberry Bash on Saturday night. He accepted his award by Skype so he did get to hear the cheers and applause of the crowd.

As managing editor of Sunday Supper, I corresponded from time to time with T.R. over the last year. He graciously gave me permission to expand the Weekday Supper posts that he had contributed over the years, to include the full recipe. His only request was that I let him know when I was going to republish one, so that he could be sure to share it again on social media. That was T.R. all over.

If you or someone you know eats gluten free, please check out Gluten Free Crumbley. T.R.’s family plans to keep his blog going both as a tribute and because it would be a shame to let all of his hard work go to waste. He loved to cook for family and friends. He especially loved sharing his recipes. I like to think he'd enjoy this almond blueberry banana bread. I hope he knows how much we miss him.

Ingredients
3 medium ripe bananas
1 large egg
3/4 cup (180 ml) milk
3 tablespoons or 45ml canola or other light oil, plus extra for pan if not lining with parchment
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup or 120g almond flour (also called finely ground almonds or almond meal on some packaging)
1 1/4 cup or 200g gluten free bread flour blend (I used Dove Farms.)
1 1/4 cup or 120g quick cooking oats
1/2 cup or 100g dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup or 140g fresh or frozen blueberries (do not thaw first, if using frozen)

Method
Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and grease a 9x5in or 23 x 13cm pan or line it with baking parchment.

Use a whisk to mash your bananas in a bowl and then add in the egg, oil vanilla and milk. Whisk to combine.


In another large bowl, add all of your dry ingredients and stir to combine. Add in the blueberries and stir to coat.


Pour your wet ingredients into your dry and use a wooden spoon to mix well until the dry ingredients are thoroughly combined with the dry. Unlike in quick breads made with all-purpose flour, gluten free flour batters need to be completely wet before baking.


Pour the thick batter into your prepared pan.


Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until the internal temperature of your Almond Blueberry Banana Bread reaches 210°F or 99°C on an instant read thermometer. Cover the loaf with foil if it is getting too browned before it is cooked inside.

Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.


Enjoy!


Do you love baking with nut flours too? You might enjoy making my White Chocolate Cranberry Blondies, Staffordshire Yeomanry PuddingAlmond Raspberry Cake or Passover Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars as well.

And check out this creative nut flour recipe list from my fellow Bread Bakers. Many thanks to our host Cindy of Cindy’s Recipes and Writings for all of her hard work behind the scenes.
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page.
We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.
BreadBakers
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