Spiced Buttermilk Banana Bread with Hazelnuts

• 20 April 2014

This recipe is one of the most beloved in our home--we pretty much all go crazy for it!  The combination of bananas, vanilla, buttermilk, good sea salt, hazelnuts and aromatic cardamom make it my go-to recipe when the bananas are past their prime.  In fact, I buy a lot of bananas, just so I have an excuse to make this recipe.  I can easily down one of these perfectly moist, mini loaves in one sitting; so be warned that it's dangerously delicious!

If you want to save yourself some time (and I highly recommend you do so), buy pre-chopped hazelnuts.  You can find them in the baking aisle at your local Super Target, QFC and sometimes at Fred Meyer and Harmons.  Be sure to use good vanilla too--I like the Nielsen Massey (also at Target, Williams Sonoma, etc.) or the pure bourbon vanilla extract at Trader Joes.

One last note on my Spiced Buttermilk Banana Bread with Hazelnuts recipe...when I decide to make banana bread, I don't want to just make one loaf.  If I am going to the effort to make something from scratch, I want to make a lot!  More to consume and more to share.  This recipe will make either 3 large loaves (in standard loaf pans), 8 mini loaves or a combination of the two--4 mini loaves and 2 large loaves.  It's really up to you!
Spiced Buttermilk Banana Bread with Hazelnuts

1 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c. sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 c. mashed ripe bananas (about 6-7 bananas)
4 c. flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons fine gray sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. chopped hazelnuts

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Place the softened butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Cream on medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time (incorporating each egg before adding another).  Pour in the pure vanilla extract and blend; and then last, the mashed bananas.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, gray sea salt, cinnamon and cardamom.  With the mixer on medium speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the sugar/butter mixture, alternating with the buttermilk.  Start and end with the dry ingredients (dry-buttermilk-dry-buttermilk-dry). Once thoroughly blended, fold in the chopped hazelnuts.

Pour into parchment-lined or greased mini loaf pans for 45 minutes (50-55 minutes for a standard size loaf).  Once browned on top, pull the loaves out of the oven and place on a wire rack.  Once cool enough to handle, slice up and enjoy!


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