I’ve discovered the Breakfast Club – a challenge to make breakfasts “more than tea and toast” with a different theme each month (you were thinking of the film, weren’t you?) I love breakfast, I genuinely cannot function without it, so this sounds like a lot of fun to me. I actually discovered the Breakfast Club last month, and the theme was “Yoghurt” but due to a lack of both inspiration (I wanted to do something other than yoghurt with muesli) and time, I never quite got round to it. This month’s theme is “To Go” – so breakfast on the commute, etc.
Now, I don’t really do much commuting. St Andrews is quite small and compact – from my flat, walking to the library takes 2 minutes, my seminars are about 8 minutes away and it takes 15 minutes to walk to the marine labs. The only time that I tend to have breakfast “on the go” is when I’m running really late and have to grab a cereal bar on my way out the door and wolf it down whilst in a mad rush to wherever I should have been 10 minutes previously.
But that wasn’t going to stop me partaking in the “To Go” challenge. I think if I did commute, I would probably eat a lot of muffins, just because they are so fun and I love them and if you put dried fruit and oats, etc., in them, I’m sure they would make a fairly healthy, filling breakfast. I had some bananas that were ripening at an alarming rate, so clearly banana muffins were on the cards. But then I realised that as much as I love muffins, they’re not the most practical shape if you’re a bit tight on space in your bag and have to take several with you. Luckily, I have some mini-loaf tins, so I thought, “aha! Rectangular muffins! So much more practical to transport!” In the end, their texture resembled that of a loaf more than a muffin anyway, thus my breakfast “loaflets” were born…
To make them substantial enough to last until lunchtime, I used a recipe that included porridge oats and wholemeal bread flour as a starting base, adding dates and pecans for energy and texture. The crumbly topping gives the loaflets a nice bit of subtle crunch, though I suppose it makes them slightly less practical to transport – woops. They turned out rather yummy! I had one for breakfast yesterday and it kept me going all morning. I’m sure these would work really well as a big sliced loaf, too. I’ll try that out at some point and let you know…
Banana, date & pecan loaflets
Makes 6 5×8 cm loaflets
Adapted from several recipes in Mad About Muffins
These can be made the evening before, left to cool and then stored overnight in an airtight container ready for breakfast the next day. If you’re eating them at home, they’re also yummy sliced in half and spread with butter. If you are eating them on the go, they’re a tiny bit sticky so having a wet-wipe to hand might be a good idea.
For the batter:
60g all-purpose flour
50g wholemeal bread flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
60g porridge oats
100g demerrera sugar
250g very ripe bananas (unpeeled weight)
½ tsp vanilla extract
35g very hot water
90g ready-to-eat dates, chopped
For the topping:
65g pecans, chopped
50g all-purpose flour
15g demerrera sugar
20g maple syrup
30g butter, softened
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C. Grease 6 mini loaf tins (I’m sure this would work as a normal loaf – I haven’t tried it yet though, so I’ll keep you posted. Do let me know if you try!).
2. Prepare the topping by combining all the topping ingredients in a bowl and rubbing them together to get a crumbly, lumpy mixture.
3. Sift the flours, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a medium-sized bowl. Tip in any bran from the wholemeal flour that didn’t go through the sieve. Add the oats and stir all the dry ingredients together.
4. Melt the butter in a large, heat-proof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Once melted, remove the bowl from the pan, add the sugar and mix thoroughly.
5. Peel the bananas and mash them with a fork in a small bowl. Add them to the butter and mix thoroughly.
6. Lightly beat the egg using the same fork and bowl that you just used for the bananas. Mix the egg and vanilla extract into the butter mixture.
7. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly. Stir in the hot water, and then mix in the rest of the flour mixture. Stir in the dates.
8. Spoon the batter evenly into the mini loaf tins (I over-enthusiastically filled mine right up until the top). Sprinkle the topping over the loaflets and press it down slightly into the batter.
9. Bake for 30-35 mins (it will be longer if you’re making a normal loaf – I’ll get back to you once I’ve tested it) or until the loaflets are well-risen and golden and a toothpick comes out clean.
10. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before storing in an airtight container until breakfast.