Beyond Banana Bread – Rob Noon

3 Recipes for Using up Ripe Bananas

It’s strange to think that it’s been almost a year since the first national lockdown sparked a booming new interest in home baking. For a while, it felt like you couldn’t spend more than 5 minutes online without being overwhelmed with arty shots of sourdough and banana bread recipes. But now as life begins slowly edging its way back to something approaching “normal”, I find myself with less enthusiasm to immerse myself in elaborate recipes and new home baking projects. As my sourdough starter hibernates at the back of the fridge I feel it’s time to focus on the immediate things that need using up: like the overripe bananas in the fruit bowl.

Inspired by Food Waste Action Week and a desire to rekindle the deliciousness of home baking many of us enjoyed in the first lockdown, I’m sharing 3 tasty recipes for overripe bananas. Ultimately, they’re an incredibly valuable ingredient that should definitely never go to waste – they add an excellent depth of flavour as well as a moistness that can be hard to replicate if omitting eggs for vegan recipes. 

Banana Cheesecake

  • 3 bananas, the riper the better
  • 50g melted butter
  • 10ml crushed biscuits – digestives, lotus or hobnobs all work well
  • 142ml double cream (can be substituted with soft tofu to make vegan)
  • 140g icing sugar
  • 400g soft cheese
  • Dash of vanilla extract
  • Ground cinnamon
  1. Remove the skins from the bananas, chop and freeze in a tupperware for around two hours. Once frozen, mash or blend until soft.
  2. Combine biscuits and butter to form the base, pressing into a cake tin with a removable base.
  3. Whip the cream, then add the sugar, vanilla extract, soft cheese and peanut butter – depending on the peanut butter it might help to pre-loosen it with some of the soft cheese.
  4. Smooth the topping over the base, decorating with a sprinkle of cinnamon and chopped banana. Put in the freezer overnight and serve once slightly defrosted.

Peanut Butter Banana Brownies

  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • Splash of milk
  • 80g peanut butter
  • 150g sugar
  • 130g melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 180g flour
  • 45g cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Combine the bananas, sugar, baking powder, butter, vanilla and splash of milk
  2. Once evenly mixed, add the flour, salt and cocoa powder.
  3. Smooth the mixture into a well-greased baking tray. Spoon dollops of peanut butter onto the top, using a butter knife to create a marble pattern. 
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 180c.

Banana and Cinnamon Rolls

  • 42g butter
  • 1 packet instant yeast
  • 240ml milk of your choice
  • 12g sugar
  • Sprinkle of salt
  • 2 mashed ripe bananas (around 100g)
  • 400g all purpose flour
  • 50g butter
  • 60g sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • Handful of chopped nuts
  • 1 banana, sliced very thinly
  1. Gently heat the butter and milk together until melted but not boiling. It should be the temperature of a pleasantly warm bath – too hot and it will kill the yeast. Mix in the mashed bananas.
  2. Combine all the dry dough ingredients into a bowl or stand mixer. Gently add the wet mixture bit by bit until a soft ball forms. Leave the rest for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  3. Once the dough has risen, shape it into a rough rectangle on a lightly floured surface using a rolling pin. Feel free to add a dash of olive oil to your rolling pin to help it not stick.
  4. Cream together the butter and sugar for the filling, using a knife to coat the dough before topping with the nuts and thin banana slices.
  5. Roll up the dough, slicing into rolls with a sharp knife. Place onto a baking tray that has been well oiled or covered in baking parchment. Bake in the oven at 180C for 25-30 minutes.