I’ve always loved banana bread (or bananas in any form: split, mashed with peanut butter, sliced over cereal), but if you are trying to eat ethically, bananas are not exactly the best choice (they are always imported, and Chiquita, the company who imports and produces them, won’t be winning any awards for corporate social responsibility). But banana bread: there’s a treat I grew up enjoying so much it could almost (almost) make you forget where its primary ingredient came from. You’ve got to love a baked good that turns blackened, mushy fruit into something spectacular.
But then again, what I loved about banana bread wasn’t so much the banana-ness, per se, but rather the soft crumb that went so well dipped in tea or spread with cream cheese. Last week I attended workshops with Keltie where we baked with squash, and I can really get behind this whole baking-with-vegetables thing: if you take a veggie with a high sugar content (like beets or squash) or one with a lot of moisture (like zucchini or eggplant) you can turn it into a truly delicious (and slightly nutritious!) baked good. Pumpkin swirl brownies, anyone?
But I digress. The point of this post is not brownies (Keltie covered that already), but my new go-to replacement for banana bread: carrot loaf. I know we’ve all had carrot cake before, but this is carrot cake without an excess of sugar or gobs of icing: you can eat it for breakfast or after dinner (or late at night or in the middle of the afternoon…..)
Now, the recipes I used (found here) was not perfect. It was good, but a little dry. I’ve adjusted the portions to yield what I hope will be a moister loaf. And that’s the other thing: the name. Carrot loaf just sounds kind of…..boring. Not that I’ve ever been one to judge a dish by its cover. But if this blog is about convincing people to eat (local, organically grown, inevitably delicious) things they otherwise wouldn’t, we might need to work on the name. First: acknowledging the presence of walnuts, because walnuts are awesome. Adding a glaze of some kind might help with the moistness and the name. “Glazed Carrot and Walnut Bread.” Or you could simply say it in French: Pain au Carrotte et Noyer. There you go! Instant pizzazz.
CARROT LOAF WITH WALNUTS
1 large egg.
1 ½ cups of flour.
1 1/4 cup of shredded carrots.
½ cup of white sugar.
½ cup of brown sugar, packed.
½ cup of vegetable oil.
1/3 cup plain yoghurt
½ cup of chopped walnnuts.
½ cup of raisins.
1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
1/2 teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon of baking soda.
¼ teaspoon of salt.
¼ teaspoon of baking powder.
Stir together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and baking powder.
In a separate bowl, mix together the white and brown sugar, shredded carrots, vegetable oil, egg and yoghurt.
Combine the two mixtures, then add the chopped nuts and raisins.
Spoon the mixture into a greased and floured loaf pan (about 8*4*2 inches).
Bake at 350F for about 50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Store in an airtight container overnight.
(I sprinkled mine with icing sugar – you could also make a simple icing with icing sugar and water, or go full-tilt and slather the thing in cream cheese).