Somehow we accumulated a lot of over ripe bananas this weekend. I would feel guilty trashing them so they were put to good use in our smoothies and our favorite banana nut bread recipe.
I love simple recipe so this one is the most loved at our house but it offers so much flexibility. You can use any nuts you desire or none at all, sprinkle in some chocolate chips, throw in dried fruits like cranberry, or add fresh ones like mango. Lately, I’ve been using more spelt flour in my baked goods instead of all purpose flour not so much for health reason but to increase the amount of whole grain we consume.
If baked correctly, it should be moist with a hint of sweetness. Many years ago, I discovered the secret to retaining moisture in the banana bread by adding cream cheese. Who would have thought?!
To me, banana nut bread is comfort food. You can have a slice for breakfast, add vanilla ice cream for a dessert, or eat it as a midnight snack. Well, whatever way you like your banana nut bread, enjoy!
Banana nut bread
6 oz PHILADELPHIA cream cheese, softened (we used low fat cream cheese instead of full fat)
¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
2/3 cup light brown sugar (you can also use honey or maple syrup)
2 cups of mashed banana (about 4 medium bananas, mash 3 1/2 bananas and save half a banana for the top)
1 ½ cups spelt flour (you can also substitute with all purpose flour)
2 tsp CALUMET Baking Powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup crushed pecans (you can use any nuts you like)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Beat cream cheese, butter, and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.
3. Add bananas and eggs; mix well.
4. Sift in combined dry ingredients; mix just until moistened.
5. Stir in vanilla extract and pecans.
6. Pour into greased 9x5-inch loaf pan.
7. Slice half of a banana length wise into four pieces and place on top of batter. Press the banana slices down lightly. Sprinkle crushed pecans on top.
8. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
9. Cool 5 min before serving. Store any leftover bread in refrigerator.