Taking the classic quick bread approach of banana bread and marrying it with seasonal gingerbread flavor, this gingerbread banana bread is an easy holiday inspired treat.
The sweet maple tahini glaze coats each piece for an extra decadent touch that truly makes this festive loaf shine.
I’ve made a lot of quick breads in my time.
Banana bread probably epitomizes American baking more than anything else. Second maybe only to chocolate chip cookies.
So it’s funny to me that until now, it never occurred to make a holiday/winter seasonal variation on it by including gingerbread spices.
But as the saying goes, better late than never.
So, here we are with this incredibly festive gingerbread banana bread loaf.
The bread itself is the perfect blend of naturally sweet, moist and decadent banana texture and flavor with the warm and cozy effect you expect from anything gingerbread flavored.
Molasses adds a touch of caramel flavored depth to each bite and the maple tahini glaze takes the quintessential gingerbread loaf topping to a new level.
It’s a wonderful blend of classic Americana baking with festive holiday flair!
CREATING A HEALTHY BANANA GINGERBREAD LOAF
Gingerbread is often accompanied by processed sugars and refined flours.
Sure, it’s the holidays and indulgences are fine and all but I wanted to create a healthier spin on this recipe that marries banana bread with a traditional gingerbread loaf.
The result is actually a gluten-free and vegan gingerbread banana bread. You’d be none the wiser though upon tasting it.
The gluten-free crumb is a wonderful moist and decadent texture (as any good banana bread should be) without being overly dense or mushy (a trait that many almond flour based breads can easily take on).
Flax eggs, coconut oil and almond milk (or any plant-based milk) for the glaze keep it vegan making this a bread that everyone can enjoy.
And since bananas are naturally sweet, there’s only 1/4 cup of maple syrup for additional sweetness. No refined sugars at all! Well, in the bread at least. The glaze is a bit of an indulgence, but definitely a worthwhile one.
For a recipe that’s not gluten-free or vegan but uses more traditional ingredients, try this tea glazed chocolate gingerbread loaf.
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE GINGERBREAD BANANA BREAD
To make the bread you’ll need the following:
- mashed ripe bananas
- molasses (regular not blackstrap)
- maple syrup
- melted coconut oil (or ghee)
- vanilla extract
- flax eggs
- blanched almond flour
- cassava flour
- oat flour
- gingerbread spices
- baking powder
- baking soda
To make the maple tahini glaze you’ll need:
- powdered sugar
- maple syrup
- almond milk (or milk of choice)
Flax eggs – A flax egg is simply ground flax seed combined with warm water that’s stirred and then rested until a gelled consistency results. For this bread, you’ll need 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed and 1/4 cup warm water.
If eggs aren’t a concern, 2 regular eggs can be used instead.
Gingerbread spices – Gingerbread spice can either be sold as a premixed combination of spices or, added individually depending on what you have on hand.
An easy “cheater” way to do this is by adding pumpkin pie spice (which I always have on hand) and then adding additional ginger.
Cassava and oat flour – If you don’t have one or the other of these flours, just use one flour for the full amount. They’re interchangeable in the amounts called for in the recipe.
Tahini – I recommend a smooth and creamy tahini for the glaze such as Soom. It will make stirring the glaze together much easier.
HOW TO MAKE BANANA GINGERBREAD
Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare a loaf pan with parchment paper.
Combine all the wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together until relatively smooth. A few bigger pieces of banana are ok.
Add the dry ingredients and stir until combined trying not to over-mix.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.
Let the bread rest and cool in the tin for 15 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool down completely.
Once cooled, make the maple tahini glaze by stirring all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
Pour the glaze on top of the bread and spread to the edges using a spatula.
Let sit for 10 minutes so the glaze can thicken before slicing and serving.
A FESTIVE HOLIDAY GINGERBREAD LOAF
If you’re like me and prefer the flavor of gingerbread in small doses, this banana bread is the way to go.
I’ve never been a fan of the kick you in the tooth, deep and dark spicy gingerbread (aka the classic cookie) but give me a lighter spin on it like gingerbread waffles or gingerbread oatmeal and I can get down with this traditional holiday flavor.
I’ll even do these gingerbread collagen cookies (they’re about as dark and “ginger-bready” as I will comfortably go) but no thanks to anything beyond that.
Sweet ripe bananas are the perfect complement to intense gingerbread flavors.
They do a wonderful job mellowing everything out but keeping just enough intensity to still be able to taste the seasonal spices.
This loaf makes a lovely baked good for a neighbor or friend, a wintertime afternoon snack with tea (or something stronger like a coconut chai hot toddy) or, even an indulgent addition to your morning coffee.
I used to call this apricot brandy pound cake the iconic Christmas baked good in my family but I just might have to change my tune now that this bread exists!
HOW TO STORE AND FREEZE THIS GINGERBREAD BANANA LOAF
The bread can be made ahead of time but it’s best to reserve the glaze until before serving.
If you want to bake the bread sooner, let it cool completely then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
The recipe also freezes really well. Freeze an unglazed loaf wrapped the same way for up to 2 months. Thaw under refrigeration and glaze before serving.
Once glazed, keep the bread wrapped on the counter for 4-5 days. It won’t last that long so don’t even worry!
WHY IS MY BANANA BREAD GOOEY OR FUDGY?
A problem that occurs often when baking banana bread is an overly moist or gooey texture.
There are a couple of common reasons for this: under-baking the bread or not using enough leavening agents (baking powder and baking soda).
While the recipe says 55-60 minutes of bake time, every oven is different.
That’s why the toothpick doneness test is important for quick breads like this gingerbread banana loaf.
Make sure to use the amounts of baking powder and soda called for as well.
I don’t mind a slightly under-baked gooey bread but when it’s complete mush, that’s another story.
It’s also important to measure the mashed bananas.
For me, 1 cup of mashed banana was about 2 bananas. But again, size is subjective to each of us so make sure to measure the mashed bananas instead of just assuming 2 large bananas.
Too much banana can weigh down the bread while it bakes resulting in a heavier, dense and overly fudgy consistency.
I’m usually a huge fan of add-ins in quick breads for texture.
It’s one of the reasons this tart cherry tea bread is a favorite (love the bit of dried cherries in each slice!).
So it’s a bit surprising I didn’t add anything to this gingerbread banana bread but honestly, it’s so flavorful and interesting enough with the glaze it needs nothing more.
That said, if you can’t resist the urge, try some chopped walnuts, golden raisins or even dried cranberries in the bread. The walnuts in our cranberry orange quick bread are the perfect textural addition to an otherwise very moist and tender bread.
Dark chocolate chips are another great combination with gingerbread.
It’s why these chocolate chunk molasses gingerbread cookies are always a must make in my holiday baking.
Happy holidays, friends! I hope this loaf finds a way into your oven this season!
MORE HOLIDAY BAKING INSPIRATION:
Orange Pomegranate Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Greek Yogurt Christmas Morning Muffins
Orange Infused Cranberry Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies
Dark Chocolate Rosemary Raisin Biscotti
Chocolate Drizzled Matcha Shortbread Cookies
Gingerbread Banana Bread with Maple Tahini Glaze
- 1 cup mashed ripe banana, about 2 large bananas
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil or ghee
- 2 flax eggs, 2 tablespoons ground flax seed + 4 tablespoons warm water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup blanched almond flour
- 1/2 cup cassava flour
- 1/3 cup oat flour
- 2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
For the Maple Tahini Glaze
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons tahini
- 1 1/2 teaspoons milk of choice
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
- Add mashed banana, molasses, maple syrup, oil/ghee, flax eggs and vanilla to a large mixing bowl. Whisk until combined.
- Add the remaining dry ingredients and stir until well combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, smooth the top and place in the oven to bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 15 minutes.
- Transfer the bread out of the pan and onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Once cooled, make the glaze by combining the powdered sugar, maple syrup and tahini in a small bowl. Slowly add the milk while mixing until the mixture is thick yet spreadable. (*see note)
- Pour the glaze over the top of the cooled bread and spread out to the edges using a spatula. Let rest for 5-10 minutes to thicken before slicing and serving.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.