The Danes got it right. Apart from exceptionally designed mid-century furniture, cities built for bicycles, and remarkable rye bread, they have truly mastered the art of coziness.
In Denmark, this pursuit is know as “hygge”, and it applies to just about every facet of life. From crispy autumn afternoon strolls to family dinners, hand-knit sweaters to petting the cat, hygge is everywhere and the ultimate reason for doing anything.
There is no doubt that cozy for me means yummy food, and there is something especially comforting about baking. It could be the domesticity of it all, or the incredible smell that fills the house, or the sweet satisfaction of slicing into the thick crust of a dense piece of carbohydrate heaven…who cares? It’s hygge – and that is reason enough for me.
I have been making this particular banana bread recipe for years now because it is so delicious and makes me want to curl up on Sunday morning with an instructional book about macramé plant hangers or an old Woody Allen film (aren’t you just dying to come over?). It hails from one of my all-time favorite cookbooks Enlightened Eating by Caroline Dupont. I suppose there’s really nothing exceptional about the ingredients, but the final product is so much more than the sum of its parts. Not to sweet, delectably moist, and rich despite it’s whole food ingredients. I usually make mine vegan and people never believe how delicious it is – baking without animal products gives great results, I promise! In fact, this would be a great recipe to try out if you’re a skeptic.
I don’t think I am going to add any “health tips” in this post – I’ll just give you permission to take a break, put the kettle on, and bake this delicious, no-fail, hygge-making banana bread. It’s cold out there after all, and the cozy is calling your name…
Coziest Banana Bread
¼ cup milk of your choice (almond, hemp, cow, goat, soy…)
6 Tbsp. olive oil, butter, ghee, coconut oil
6 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 ¼ cups mashed ripe bananas (approximately 5 medium bananas)
2 cups flour (I used equal parts light + whole spelt)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. sea salt
1 cup chopped nuts + seeds (I used walnuts, pecans, and pumpkin seeds)
¾ cup chopped dark chocolate (1 standard 100 g bar) – optional
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Line an 8” x 8” cake pan or loaf pan with baking paper, or lightly oil and dust with flour, shaking out excess.
3. Put the milk, oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and bananas in a blender and blend until smooth.
4. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients. Add banana mixture and combine using as few stroked as possible. Fold in nuts and chocolate.
5. Pour into a cake pan and smooth the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (time varies greatly according to oven – mine takes about an hour, but this recipe suggests only 30 minutes. Check periodically after the half hour mark.)
Happy cozy-ing everyone. The Danes would be so proud.