Fruit-Sweetened Banana Bread

There's no refined sugar in this banana bread. The sweetness comes from the natural sugars in the bananas, raisins and dates.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 3 hr 40 min (includes soaking and cooling times)
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: 12 servings (1 loaf)
  • Nutrition Info
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Cooking spray

1 cup raisins

2 large dates, pitted

1 3/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon orange zest

1/2 cup milk

2 small ripe bananas, cut into small chunks


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. Put the raisins and dates in a medium bowl, cover with very hot water and let soak until the fruit is very soft, about 25 minutes. Drain, then puree until smooth in a food processor, scraping the bowl frequently.
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl.
  4. Beat the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth. Add the raisin-date mixture, and beat until incorporated and smooth. Add the egg and egg yolk, vanilla and zest, and beat until incorporated. Lower the mixer speed to medium-low, and add half the flour mixture, then the milk, then the remaining flour mixture, stopping to scrape down the side of the bowl as needed (it's OK if there are some lumps). Fold in the bananas.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake until the bread is golden brown and crisp and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Run a knife around the edges, and let cool completely in the pan on a rack. The bread can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Cook’s Note

When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off the excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)