Banana Date Bread with Caramel Frosting
One of my favorite memories of grade school involves a magical slice of banana bread they used to serve with lunch every now and again. I would be lying if I said most of my childhood memories didn't involve some sort of food, just to be clear. This piece of banana bread was spongy, moist and had the most amazing frosting. And it wasn't like cake frosting, it was perfectly made specifically for banana bread. It was sweet without overpowering the subtle and sweet banana flavor. I'm telling you, if it stuck with me for this long, it must have been that good. I'm a huge fan of anything that is sweet, without being too sweet. If you're not following, think of that weird girl who used to eat around the icing at birthday parties, or would choose cornbread over peanut butter chocolate cheesecake. Yup, that's me! Anything that is just sweet enough to make you want more, and not too sweet to where you feel sick to your stomach. I suppose that's why I've always taken such a liking to banana bread. It's sweet without being too sweet, cakey enough without being cake, and unfulfilling enough to make you want at least 3 slices before you feel satisfied. Weird, I know.
As I'm sitting here sipping my morning coffee, I'm asking myself the same question you might be thinking, "Then why and how did I like the cafeteria frosting so much?!" Well, the only answer I can muster up would be, because it was perfectly unsweetened just enough.
I set out to remake something similar, complimentary, and of course healthy for this simple banana bread recipe. I decided to experiment with dates and create a caramel frosting with these super sweet dried fruits. It turns out, little trial and error actually occurred and dates do in fact make the best healthy frosting! With the help from a food processor and 1/4 cup of water, dates break down into this really creamy, syrup like sauce that is perfect for banana bread. Instead of using this frosting for a post-bake glaze, I decided to bake the caramel right on the banana bread to harden and replicate the texture of actual frosting, however; you can also use this recipe for a drizzled glaze, or even for a caramel spread when serving.
This recipe is 100% free from any added sugars. I didn't use any honey, maple syrup, or even agave to achieve this delicious recipe. I simply used very ripe bananas (look for black spots) and the natural sweetness from the dates. I also used cinnamon, which does act as a subtle sweeter for the bread itself. This recipe makes a very moist and condensed banana bread that is best served slightly chilled. We enjoyed this recipe so much that it was gone within two days! I hope you love it as much as we did!
Banana Date Bread with Caramel Frosting
What You Will Need
3 ripe bananas (+1 for toppings), 2 eggs, 1 tbsp. vanilla extract, 1/4 cup coconut flour, 1 tbsp. cinnamon, and 1 tsp. baking soda
Date Caramel Frosting
1 cup pitted dates (around 7-8) and 1/4+ cup of water, depending on how many dates used
Begin by pitting 1 cup of dates and adding them to a food processor or blender. Add 1/4 cup of water and blend on high until clumps and skins have been completely liquified. You will start to see a 'caramel' like texture begin to form. If not, add 1 tbsp. of water until you have reached that consistency. Transfer into a separate bowl and let chill in the refrigerator until the banana bread is ready for the oven.
Next, begin by mashing 3 very ripened bananas until smooth and most lumps have been worked out. Next, mix in 2 eggs and one tablespoon of pure vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, add 1/4 cup of coconut flour, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon of baking soda.
Carefully combine dry ingredients into the banana mixture and blend until a cake-like batter begins to form. Once blended, pour into a greased loaf pan and top with date caramel and optional extra banana slices. Bake at 350ºF for 45-50 minutes.
Let the finished banana bread cool completely before transferring it out of the loaf pan and slicing. This will allow the date frosting to cool and harden at room temperature so it's not too gooey.
Once cooled, cut into 8 slices and enjoy!