As promised, today I bring you a treat that just looks like Fall to me- Pecan, Peanut Butter, Banana Bread. I was kind of in the mood to make cookies or even cupcakes, but yesterday I saw this:
A plate full of ripe bananas and I couldn’t let them go to waste. I thought about making traditional banana bread, but I wanted something a little different, I grabbed my mom’s Maida Heatter’s Book of Great American Desserts and found this recipe. By the way, if you don’t have this book I highly recommend it as a kitchen staple, this woman knows how to bake!
A couple things to note in this recipe- the first is that it calls for you to butter your loaf pans and then dust them with wheat germ, fine bread crumbs or uncooked oatmeal. This creates a really pretty look to your loaves. I used Pam and oatmeal and just tossed it in my pan and shook it around until it stuck. It will look a little like this:
The second is that in the original recipe, it has you mashing your bananas with a fork on a plate. Our secret is using a ricer for our bananas- it has the same effect but less work (always nice).
If I were to do this recipe again, I would go with my instincts which said “wow that’s a lot of walnuts” and cut them in half. I left the original measurements below so if you are a big walnut fan you can keep them as is. Also I would have added another 1/4 cup peanut butter, since you get a hint of the taste, but I would like a bigger impact. Again, original measurements below, but feel free to add a little more!
Pecan, Peanut Butter, Banana Bread
This bread is a dark, moist, nutty banana bread filled with walnuts. It’s delicious served with a little bit of honey or warm butter or jam.
Makes 2 Small Loaves
- 6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) pecan halves or large pieces
- 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sifted all-purpose whole wheat flour (Trader Joe’s carries this)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 3 ounces (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
- 2 large eggs
- 2 to 3 large fully ripened bananas (makes 1 cup mashed)
- Using a toaster oven or oven, lay pecans on baking sheet and toast for 5-7 minutes. (For a toaster oven, just set to toast. In an oven, set to 350 and turn the nuts halfway). Set aside.
- Adjust a rack one-third up from the bottom of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter or use Pam to spray two small loaf pans, each with a 4- to 5- cup capacity (they pans may measure about 8 by 4 by 2 1/2 inches). Dust all over with toasted wheat germ, or fine dry bread crumbs or uncooked oatmeal, invert over paper, and tap to shake out excess. Set aside
- Sift together both the flours, the baking soda, salt and nutmeg and set aside. In the large bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter until softened (3-4 minutes). Add the peanut butter and beat to mix. Beat in the sugar, and then the eggs one at a time.
- Peel the bananas and either mash with a fork on a large plate or use a ricer. You do not want the bananas to be liquified, they should remain coarse and uneven with a few slightly larger pieces.
- Beat the bananas into the mixture. Then, on low speed, add the sifted dry ingredients and beat only until incorporated (I used a spatula to finish mixing the dry ingredients in). Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the pecans by hand.
- Pour half of the batter into each of the prepared pans and smooth the tops.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 35-40 minutes more (Total baking time is 50 to 55 minutes). Test by inserting a toothpick or cake tester to the bottom of each loaf; bake until the tester comes out dry or only with a few dry crumbs).
- Let the loaves cool in the pans for 5 to 10 minutes, then turn each loaf out onto a folded towel in your hand and place the loaves on the rack to cool.
Adapted from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great American Desserts