plantain and macadamia nut bread

September 27, 2010

Banana bread is one of my absolute favourite things to bake. If you’ve never made it before then I would highly recommend this version that I made based on David Lebovitz’s recipe. It’s brilliant for beginners and always gets devoured so quickly. There’s a vegan version too!

But what about this? Fancy sounding, no? In the spirit of shaking things up a bit, I decided to make a recipe with plantains instead of bananas.  If you usually add walnuts to your banana bread, then how about trying macadamia nuts instead?

The outcome is not quite as sweet as banana bread (plantains naturally have less sugar in them) but it’s quite complex in flavour. The spices added to this loaf, as well as the mix of brown sugar and flour with white, give the flavour some real depth and heartiness which you don’t find in traditional banana bread.

The turbinado sugar sprinkled over the top before baking gives it a real browned crust with a sweet, crunchy bite. The macadamia nuts add even more crunch and heartiness, and the plantains – so yellow from their butter saute – stud the loaf with sweetness and colour.

I baked this in the late afternoon with autumn sunshine streaming through the windows and my cats watching on. The variety of flavours and ease of the recipe, along with those circumstances pretty much sum up all I love about baking. I hope you’ll try it!

Plantain and Macadamia Nut Bread
adapted from The Kitchn

Makes 1 loaf


  • 3 very ripe plantains; cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1 cup macadamia nuts; coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter and add sliced plantains. Sauté until softened and bright yellow; about 5-7 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together flours, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and clove.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together brown and white sugars, vanilla, eggs, canola oil and half and half.
  5. Fold wet ingredients into dry.
  6. Mash cooled plantains and add to egg/flour mixture. Stir in nuts. Spoon mixture into the prepared pan, smooth the top and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  7. Place in oven and bake 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Enjoy as is or toasted with a dab of butter and a sprinkle of sugar.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Madeline - Greens and Jeans September 27, 2010 at 9:04 am

I have never baked with plantains, but this sounds amazing!


Roxan September 27, 2010 at 11:12 am

Ooh.. baking with plantains sounds interesting. beautiful photos too!


Holly September 27, 2010 at 12:55 pm

the combination of flavors here is genius. i be LOVING this!!!


emily (a nutritionist eats) September 27, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Love this twist on an old favorite! We had plantains on a regular basis and I’ve been wanting to cook them somehow at home ever since!


Erica September 27, 2010 at 3:44 pm

How fun is this? What a great way to mix it up. Brilliant!!!


Susan September 27, 2010 at 3:48 pm

You are so creative! I love plantains but never know what to do with them! I’ll have to give this a try.


Katie September 27, 2010 at 4:22 pm

This looks fabulous! When I was growing up, my babysitter used to make me plantains for breakfast all the time, and every time I eat them now (a sad rarity) they make me think of happy times. I have to try your bread!!!


janetha g. @ meals & moves September 28, 2010 at 12:12 pm

you are the most clever little chef. i am always impressed by the things you make. this looks awesome!


Megan (The Runner's Kitchen) September 28, 2010 at 3:37 pm

Beautiful photos, as usual :) You are the next Smitten Kitchen, my dear!

I recently had plaintains for (maybe?) the first time. I had them prepared in a savory dish, but your bread looks divine!


kate September 30, 2010 at 7:38 am

i like the sound of this. twists on classics are always fun. and nutmeg and cloves would be really interesting. great recipe!


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