Sugar Free Banana Bread

This is an unusual one for me. I am all about sugar. I mean, I eat a lot of vegetables too, but when it comes to cake, I am a purist – it’s got to be full of butter and sugar. That’s what cake is about, right?


A few weeks ago one of my colleagues went on a sugar free diet, and a couple of the others were just generally trying to ‘eat better’…I think we’re always striving for this in my office, but there’s a pretty consistent balance between the amount of cake and the amount of fruit consumed – recently there has been a pretty steady stream of Creme Eggs being consumed. But, I digress! To my colleague, sugar free meant no cake, so I decided to look into making sugar free cake (because an office without sugar is no fun).


And behold! I found a recipe that I like. This is pretty straightforward, and I’ve played around with it a bit – most recently I have added chocolate to it, because that still counts as low sugar, right? But what I’ve found is that in banana cake you don’t really need sugar. Granted, it makes it look a bit more appetising (for whatever reason this cake has come out a slightly grey shade of brown every time I’ve made it), but it tastes just as good because bananas are super sugary, especially if you leave them until they’re really brown. I’m not going to start advocating a sugar-free lifestyle, but, this banana bread is pretty good if you want to try it.

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Maple and Bacon Scones

This week has been a week of much baking. I was given some free plums, so I decided to make breakfast crumble. Calling it breakfast crumble makes me feel better about the fact that I am essentially eating pudding for breakfast. But if Deb does it, it’s okay. I’ve also made banana bread, and birthday brownies for my friend Catherine. Earlier this month I’d tried Peyton & Byrne’s brownie recipe, but split the chocolate, half plain, half orange-flavoured. They turned out really well, so I decided to repeat (I have forgiven P&B for fail crumpets). Nothing quite like a chocolate orange brownie. As for the banana bread, best new recipe! I never thought I’d want to make anything other than Nigel Slater’s chocolate banana bread, but a contender has appeared, and can be found here (icing an unnecessary extra – 3 of us got through a whole loaf in an evening. That’s how good it is.)


As for the thing I’d actually planned on making this week, I’m actually kind of disappointed. From the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook comes “Maple and bacon scones = not as good as I was hoping”. Nothing went wrong, they were just kind of dry (which I suppose is always a danger with a scone), and I expected them to be laced with mapley goodness, and they just weren’t. I suppose this is the interesting thing about choosing 52 recipes just because you like the sound of them – there’s a higher rate of failure/disappointment, because I’m not just sticking to the things I’m familiar with and I’ve tried and tested before. But then, it’s no fun if everything works all the time. 


Anyway, after totally selling maple and bacon scones to you, if you’d like to make them – here’s the recipe! 

85g bacon (about 3 rashers)

4 tbsp maple syrup

190g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 tsp salt

55g butter

4 tbsp buttermilk

1. Fry the bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from the pan and drain it on paper towels. Pour the bacon fat into a measuring jug so you can see how much you have (should be about 2 tbsp). Freeze the fat until solid. 

2. Chop the bacon into small bits, and place in a bowl with the maple syrup. Stir and set aside. Remove bacon fat from freezer. 

3. Preheat your oven to 220C/Gas 7. Line a baking sheet. Mix the flour, raising agents and salt in a bowl and rub the bacon fat and butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the bacon/maple syrup mix and the buttermilk and blend together until evenly moistened. 

4. Knead a couple of times (as little as needed). Pat out to 2.5cm thickness, and cut into scones with a 5cm cutter. Place on baking sheet, and bake for 12-14mins until puffed and golden. 


Next week: Vanilla Bread! (but I reserve the right to change my mind…)