It’s been one of those fridge-purging days, coinciding with the end of a dark and rainy work week, making it an extra-depressing evening. The confluence of these events also left me with an intense desire to bake, a carton of buttermilk past its best-before date, and several black bananas in the freezer begging not to be thrown out.
In my day job I read a lot about garbage and the throw-away society. There’s been some interesting studies coming out of the United Kingdom about food waste, and one of the findings that has huge impacts on our purchasing and throwing-away habits is that best-before dates are not often dictated by the actual food going bad but by attractiveness of the food. They’re meant as a loose guideline only. Also, a lot of thought goes into packaging to optimize profits, which makes me wonder why they sell buttermilk in 1L cartons only?
I never ever need more than a cup or two of buttermilk at once, and its shelf life isn’t like hard cheese. However, there are scores of kitchen-savvy and money-savers out there who say that buttermilk can be frozen! And, like milk, it’s probably still good up to 5-8 days after the best-before date, especially for baking. A smell test and a lump test will tell you if it’s usable. **Use at your own caution!!**
And so armed with my carton of buttermilk that has supposedly gone bad, and my on-the-verge-of-rotten bananas, I serendipitously turned out the lightest, moistest banana bread, ever. Where the energizer banana bread excels in bulk and density, this one is soft and delicate, but still well within the good-for-you spectrum of baked goods, making it well placed as a breakfast item, a snacking cake, or dessert.
Adapted from Williams Sonoma’s Banana Buttermilk Muffins recipe.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together
- 1 and 1/4 cup white wheat flour
- 1/2 cup ground almond
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- A handful of chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts…etc)
- A handful of dark chocolate chunks or chips (optional but highly recommended – a handful is about a half cup)
In a large measuring cup (3 cup capacity or larger) or a medium mixing bowl, mix together:
- 1 cup mashed banana (about 3 average sized banana)
- 1 cup buttermilk, well shaken
- 2 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Add the wet ingredients into the dry, and stir until just mixed. Pour into a parchment-lined loaf pan and top with more chopped nuts or oats.
Bake at 350F for 45 minutes.
As this is a very moist cake with only a little sugar, so store in an airtight container in the fridge, or slice and freeze.