Crunchy Matcha Banana Bread

I love banana bread. I love it clean and classic, studded with chocolate chips, swirled with cinnamon, “healthified” with dried fruit and nuts…the list goes on! I like to enjoy it in the morning with a smear of warm butter for breakfast or even as dessert in place of a heavier and more sinful slice of cake. I can really find any opportunity to make banana bread and St. Patty’s Day was no exception!

I have recently been intrigued by matcha powder and thought St. Patty’s Day would be a great reason to experiment with this new “it” flavor. Matcha powder is stoneground green tea leaves that can be used to make matcha tea, lattes, or in baked goods for a lovely green tea flavor and color.

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Matcha powder from Trader Joe’s- a well priced option!

Matcha has become one of those nutrition buzzwords because of its concentrated antioxidant levels. In fact, 1 cup of matcha powder equals the antioxidant power of 10 cups of regularly brewed green tea! Antoxidants are crucial for protecting our bodies’ cells from infection and damage from substances known as free radicals, which are linked to cancer formation. Not only does matcha contain health-promoting antoxidants, but it also contains an amino acid (protein build block) called L-theanine, which promotes relaxation and mental clarity. Worried that “mental clarity” is code for extremely wired? Don’t worry!  Matcha only contains 25mg of caffeine, which is about 1/3 of the caffeine in coffee and only slightly more than brewed green tea. In fact, in combination with its other natural properties, the caffeine in matcha is found to be released more slowly, actually allowing you to have a longer period of mental focus and productivity without the “crash”.

Now knowing what an all-star ingredient matcha is, I was ready to add a dash of green to one of my favorite banana bread recipes to put me in a lucky, Irish mood!

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Crunchy Banana Bread with Matcha walnut streussel

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients for bread

  • 3 large ripe-to-over-ripe bananas
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, warmed until it liquefies, or olive oil
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour- I used a mixture of white whole wheat and rye
  • 1/4 cup uncooked amaranth (SK uses millet)

Ingredients for streussel

  • 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/8 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons organic Matcha powder
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped walnuts
  • 6 tablespoons butter room temperature

How to:

For streussel- with a fork, combine all the ingredients with the softened butter until the mixture resembles a coarse lumpy dough. refrigerate while you prepare the rest…

Preheat your oven to 350°F and butter a 9×5-inch loaf pan. In the bottom of a large bowl, mash bananas with a potato masher or the back of a fork until virtually smooth but a few tiny lumps remain. Whisk in egg, then oil, brown sugar, syrup and vanilla extract. Sprinkle baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg over mixture and stir until combined. Stir in flour until just combined, then add amaranth.

Pour mixture into prepared pan and cover completely with the streussel, lightly pressing so the crumbs stay on top. Bake until a tester comes out clean, about 40 to 50 minutes. Cool loaf in pan on rack.

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