This chocolate banana bread is delicious just as it is but it makes a substantial snack spread with nut butter. I like to use ready prepared date puree which I keep in my freezer ( see latest recipes) and use instead of the dates and water.
1 Place the dates and water in a pan, bring to the boil then turn off the heat and cover the pan with a lid. Leave the dates to soften whilst you prepare the other ingredients, ideally for about 30 minutes
2 Preheat the oven to 190°c (170°c fan) gas mark 5 and grease or line the loaf tin with baking parchment.
3 Place the soaked dates, including any liquid, oil, banana, vanilla extract, honey if using, lemon juice and eggs into a food processor and blend until smooth.
4 Add the flour, cocoa, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and process until combined adding another fluid ounce or so of water if needed to make a soft dropping consistency.
5 Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface. Sprinkle over the cacao nibs using your fingers to press them lightly into the surface.
6 Place the cake in the centre of the oven and bake for about 40 minutes or until springy to touch when pressed with your fingers.
7 Cool for 5 minutes in the tin then turn out onto a cooling rack and remove any parchment. Store in an airtight tin once cool and keep in the fridge until needed. Eat within 4 days or freeze.