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More Nigella recipes

Chocolate Tahini Banana Bread

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Introduction

I love the subtly rich smokiness of tahini, but I have only enjoyed cooking with it since I turned away from the spoon-bendingly thick stuff from my local supermarket, in favour of the more fluid variety, with its more delicate nutty flavour, from a Middle-Eastern shop near me, or online.

For those of you yet to discover the joys of tahini, I suppose you could think of this as a chocolate peanut butter banana bread, only made with sesame butter (which is what tahini is, in a manner of speaking) instead. This, for me, is the perfect, not-too-sweet, darkly chocolatey banana bread.

You can make a vegan version of this by omitting the egg, and upping the bananas to 350g / generous 1 cup and the tahini to 75g / ⅓ cup. The bread will not rise a lot without the egg, but the taste is still magnificent. Dark chocolate chips should be dairy-free, but do check the packet.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

I love the subtly rich smokiness of tahini, but I have only enjoyed cooking with it since I turned away from the spoon-bendingly thick stuff from my local supermarket, in favour of the more fluid variety, with its more delicate nutty flavour, from a Middle-Eastern shop near me, or online.

For those of you yet to discover the joys of tahini, I suppose you could think of this as a chocolate peanut butter banana bread, only made with sesame butter (which is what tahini is, in a manner of speaking) instead. This, for me, is the perfect, not-too-sweet, darkly chocolatey banana bread.

You can make a vegan version of this by omitting the egg, and upping the bananas to 350g / generous 1 cup and the tahini to 75g / ⅓ cup. The bread will not rise a lot without the egg, but the taste is still magnificent. Dark chocolate chips should be dairy-free, but do check the packet.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Ingredients

Yields: approx. 10 slices

Metric Cups
  • 2 large ripe or overripe bananas (approx 250g weighed with skins on / ¾ cup mashed)
  • 60 millilitres vegetable oil
  • 50 grams tahini
  • 1 large egg (at room temperature)
  • 50 grams caster sugar
  • 35 grams soft dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 60 grams rice flour (or plain flour if you don't need this to be gluten-free)
  • 25 grams cocoa
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 100 grams dark chocolate chips
  • 1 - 2 teaspoons sesame seeds (to sprinkle on top)
  • 2 large ripe or overripe bananas (approx 250g weighed with skins on / ¾ cup mashed)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 1 large egg (at room temperature)
  • ¼ cup superfine sugar
  • 3 tablespoons soft dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup rice flour (or plain flour if you don't need this to be gluten-free)
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 oz / ½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 - 2 teaspoons sesame seeds (to sprinkle on top)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C Fan/325°F. Put a paper liner into a 1lb/450g loaf tin (mine measures 21cm x 10cm x 6cm/8.5 x 4 x 2.5 inches, just to give you a steer) or grease and line with baking parchment.
  2. Peel the bananas, and, either by hand or using an electric mixer, mash them, then beat in the tahini, followed by the oil, then the egg, and finally the sugars and vanilla.
  3. Whisk or fork together the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and salt and slowly beat into the batter. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Add the batter to the prepared tin, smoothing the top, and sprinkle over the sesame seeds.
  5. Cook for 45-50 minutes until risen and firm to the touch, or until a cake tester comes out almost clean; some chocolate chips may make it a little sticky in parts. The loaf may have – indeed, will probably have - cracked on top, but this doesn’t matter.
  6. Let it cool completely in its tin on a wire rack and - if you can bear to wait - once it’s cold slip it out of the tin and wrap it in parchment then foil and leave it for a day before slicing and eating. I understand if this is too much to ask; I confess I don’t always manage to wait.
  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C Fan/325°F. Put a paper liner into a 1lb/450g loaf tin (mine measures 21cm x 10cm x 6cm/8.5 x 4 x 2.5 inches, just to give you a steer) or grease and line with baking parchment.
  2. Peel the bananas, and, either by hand or using an electric mixer, mash them, then beat in the tahini, followed by the oil, then the egg, and finally the sugars and vanilla.
  3. Whisk or fork together the flour, unsweetened cocoa, baking soda and salt and slowly beat into the batter. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Add the batter to the prepared tin, smoothing the top, and sprinkle over the sesame seeds.
  5. Cook for 45-50 minutes until risen and firm to the touch, or until a cake tester comes out almost clean; some chocolate chips may make it a little sticky in parts. The loaf may have – indeed, will probably have - cracked on top, but this doesn’t matter.
  6. Let it cool completely in its tin on a wire rack and - if you can bear to wait - once it’s cold slip it out of the tin and wrap it in parchment then foil and leave it for a day before slicing and eating. I understand if this is too much to ask; I confess I don’t always manage to wait.

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD NOTE:
Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 5 days. This loaf cake is often better if stored in an airtight container for a day or overnight before cutting.

FREEZE NOTE:
Can be frozen for up to 3 months, tightly wrapped in a double layer of clingfilm and a layer of foil.
To thaw, unwrap and leave at room temperature for about 4 hours.

MAKE AHEAD NOTE:
Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 5 days. This loaf cake is often better if stored in an airtight container for a day or overnight before cutting.

FREEZE NOTE:
Can be frozen for up to 3 months, tightly wrapped in a double layer of clingfilm and a layer of foil.
To thaw, unwrap and leave at room temperature for about 4 hours.

Tell us what you think

What 10 Others have said

  • Baked this today, but since we didn't have any tahini or vegetable oil, I replaced them with peanut butter and melted butter. Oh my goodness! The smell alone had me hovering near the oven. Did not wait until the following day and devoured half of it in one sitting. It is moist and not too sweet. I am already plotting on sourcing some more overripe bananas before the weekend.

    Posted by CurrentMrs on 2nd September 2021
  • I used this recipe tonight but made muffins instead of the loaf. i used regular A-P flour and instead of vanilla I used maple extract. they came out delicious and I baked them for 30 minutes at the designated temp. Thank you Nigella!

    Posted by DomesticHotMess on 1st March 2021
  • I’ve made this many times now, everyone loves the flavour of the tahini and chocolate combination. The only thing I omitted from the recipe is the superfine sugar and only used soft brown sugar. Because the bananas are ripe they are sweet enough without the added sugar. I doubled the recipe and it turned out beautifully.

    Posted by Deer44 on 27th January 2021
  • I was sceptical about making this thinking it wouldnt be to my liking but It called for all ingredients that I needed to use up indoors so decided to give it a go. Well glad I did as this loaf is a joy! Rich and gooey. Think it's an acquired taste but I absolutely love it. So quick and easy to make goes so well with a smoky tea or black coffee.

    Posted by Vintage7soul on 29th November 2020
  • This is the second time I make this bread. I love it SO MUCH. I used regular flour and honey instead of the caster sugar. This is my favorite dessert of all times. Thank you so much for sharing it!

    Posted by GisselleAvila on 17th August 2020
  • Delicious! I only managed to leave the cake for half a day before trying it. I love the rich flavour. I used gluten free flour instead of rice flour ( a mix of corn and potato starch and rice flour). Definitly making this one more often. Also nice to have gf recipe without ground almonds, makes it a bit cheaper.

    Posted by NikiJa on 1st February 2020
  • Sublime. Insanely good. Substituted with coconut oil, rice malt syrup & coconut sugar & it still tasted amazing. Thank you.

    Posted by GwenH on 9th July 2019
  • Loved, loved loved this moist and tasty bread. Thank Nigella for another great recipe!

    Posted by LRGJR27 on 9th July 2019
  • I was too impatient and tried a slice when it was only just cool. I was disappointed. I should have followed the recipe advice to leave it, because a few hours later when I served it to my friends, it was a totally different story. It had become a wonderful fudgy, chocolatey, banana delight.

    Posted by CelloAnne on 15th June 2019
  • What a great recipe. The banana bread had a lovely depth of flavour and was quite fudgy!

    Posted by savelinalepou on 22nd January 2019
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