Getting Baked: Wholemeal winter wonders

Julia Stanyard 5 February 2015

This week’s recipe should hopefully offer a little respite after the week we’ve had. Whilst the winds have been blowing, snow falling and essays looming, I’ve been procrastinating with these little beauties. 

These are for the times when your head is saying you need a little energy, but your body is asking for something a little more wholesome. They are the perfect answer: they’re easy, they use up any mouldy old bananas sat on your shelf, and you can more or less throw anything in them. These are my wholemeal date and banana biscotti.

The dates have many benefits for your cheesy-chip and VK-riddled body. Not only are they packed with vitamins and minerals like potassium and iron, but you’ll be glad to know they also help with sexual dysfunction, so what more could you want?

It might seem like a long process, with not one but two bakes, but honestly you’ll be thankful for that extra crunch. The moment you dunk these little gems into a good old cup of tea or hot chocolate the time will seem inconsequential.  

Just a few tips; during the second time in the oven, only a very low heat is needed, so you can shove them in and leave them for an hour or two while you do some reading, or procrastinate filling in your rag blind-date form.

Also, if dates aren’t your thing, any other dried fruits, nuts or chocolate will work just as well. Additionally, sugar can be used too, muscavado would be best, but be aware of the sweetness of your dates or substitute, for example if using chocolate it may be a good idea to reduce the sugar to 80g. 

 

Ingredients:

120g plain fine flour (‘00’ grade preferably)

120g wholemeal flour

1tsp baking powder

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

Pinch of salt

100g honey

1 large banana, mashed

1 egg, whisked

1tbsp sunflower oil

Handful of dates, stoned and chopped 

Icing sugar (if desired)

 

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 180°c and line a baking tray with parchment.
Sift the flours, baking powder, spices and salt into a large bowl.
Mix together the honey, mashed banana, whisked egg and oil then add to the dry ingredients. Mix until well combined then add in the dates (or whatever you have substituted). The mixture should be slightly sticky, but dry enough to handle.  
Arrange into a log shape on the baking tray and place in the oven for 30-40 minutes until golden and baked through, then remove from the oven and allow to cool (this is important – otherwise it will be tricky to slice them)
Turn the oven down to around 75°c Using a sharp knife with a long blade, slice the log into roughly 2cm wide pieces. Place these on a wire rack and then into the oven for a second bake. You’re aiming for them to be dry and not squidgy to the touch, so they become the perfect dunker. 
Once they’ve reached this stage take them out and allow them to cool (if you can restrain yourself) and dunk away.