Yesterday was our sweet baby girl Zoey’s birthday. She turned two. We had a wonderful day full of play time, yummy treats, and lots of love. We did have to cancel the run in the woods that we had originally planned due to the lake effect snow that pummeled us for most of the day, but I promised Zoey we’d reschedule for later in the week. Oh, and don’t worry; I haven’t been taking a toddler trail running in the middle of a central NY winter. Our little girl is of the furry, four-legged variety.
Being an only child, Zoey gets pretty spoiled. Not quite spoiled rotten, but pretty close. And one of my favorite ways to spoil her is to cook up some tasty dog treats for her to enjoy. I know, what a surprise! For an extra special day like a birthday, I like to make something that we can enjoy together as a family, because as much as Zoey loves her parsley and buckwheat “cookies”, Chris and I just don’t really share her enthusiasm. Fortunately for all of us, I’ve found this peanut butter swirled banana bread to be just the thing to satisfy both dog and human taste buds.
Everything is this banana bread is perfectly safe (and for the most part even healthy) for dogs. The sweetness comes from the bananas themselves and pureed dates, so there are no processed or refined sugars. A mix of spelt flour and white whole wheat flour adds fiber and protein. And coconut oil keeps the bread decadently moist while adding some healthy fat. Now despite the whole grains and low-sugar content, this is still meant to be a treat. Just as you wouldn’t eat cake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner even if it was your birthday, this isn’t meant to replace your dog’s regular food. But a little slice can be a safe and tasty treat that I promise the dogs and humans in your life will all appreciate. So whether you’re a crazy-dog-lady like me who throws birthday parties for your canine buddies or you just have some overripe bananas to get rid of, give this recipe a try. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we did.
Peanut Butter Swirled Banana Bread
I like using spelt flour in baked goods that I plan to share with the dog because of the higher protein content and easier digestibility, but feel free to play around with flours to find what works best for you. If you do replace the spelt flour, you may need a little less of the replacement flour (maybe start with 3/4 c instead of 1 c). Also, as I mentioned, the only sugar in this recipe comes from the fruit so it’s not an overly sweet banana bread. I personally find this perfect since I like to eat it for breakfast, but you could certainly add a little sweetener if you’d like more of a dessert bread.
3 large ripe to overripe bananas
12 dried pitted dates
1/3 c melted coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c spelt flour
1/2 c white whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp clove
scant 1/2 c unsweetened creamy peanut butter, warmed for easier pouring
Put the dates in a heat proof bowl and pour enough boiling water over them to cover by an inch or so. Cover the bowl with a plate or kitchen towel and let the dates soak for about an hour. Drain and transfer the dates to a food processor. Process until smooth. This should yield about 1/2 c of date puree.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan and line with parchment paper.
Mash the bananas in a large bowl until they are fairly smooth with just a few small chunks remaining. Stir in the pureed dates, vanilla extract, coconut oil, and egg.
Combine the flours, salt, baking soda, and spices in a separate bowl. Stir the dry ingredients into the banana mixture until just incorporated.
Pour about half of the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Pour (or plop) the peanut butter over top of the batter and spread it out a bit. Pour the rest of the batter over the peanut butter. Run a butter knife through the batter a few times, both horizontally and vertically, to swirl the peanut butter throughout the batter.
Bake for 50-60 minutes until a butter knife inserted into the bread comes out free of uncooked batter. Keep in mind that you may have some peanut butter stick to the knife even when the bread is done, so you won’t necessarily get a completely clean knife. Remove from the oven and allow to cool somewhat before removing from the pan and slicing.
Yield: 1 loaf