New Pinterest Recipe of the Week: Strawberry Banana Bread

I know, I know. It seems all I do is bake and that I have some terrible obsession with banana breads. I promise I can do more than bake, and that while I do love a good banana bread, there are other foods that I enjoy preparing (and eating) just as much. That being said, when you have perfectly overripe bananas, you use them, and when you have additional summer produce begging to be used (in this case strawberries), well, you make the Strawberry Banana Bread. This recipe comes from Flying on Jess Fuel (written by a fellow military spouse, hooah!). Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 4 very ripe bananas (I only had 3, but they were larger, so it evened out)
  • 1/3 cup melted butter (As per usual, mine is unsalted)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (I don’t usually have whole wheat flour so I just used all-purpose in place of the whole wheat)
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, diced

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease an 8×4 loaf pan.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas, then mix in the melted butter. Add vanilla, sugar, and egg. Sprinkle salt and baking soda over the banana mixture and blend in. Add flour and mix until just combined. Gently fold in strawberries.

Pour or spoon batter into loaf pan, bake for approx. 1 hour. When a tester comes out clean, remove from oven and cool on rack. Remove from loaf pan after about 10 min. and allow to finish cooling on the rack.

Strawberry Banana Bread

Tweaks and Overall Review

Other than what is noted above, the only other tweak I made was to grease and flour my loaf pan. I just find it easier to get my pans to release when I do this. I needed slightly more than an hour of bake time, but no more than 1 hour 10 min. Also, I would advise testing in two locations when checking for doneness. The strawberries keep the pockets around them very moist so it may seem like the bread isn’t done if your stick hits one of them, which may cause you to give the bread additional oven time it doesn’t need. Just test in two locations (relatively close together and still in the center) and hopefully you avoid this possible issue.

How did it turn out? Wonderful. The strawberries were a great addition, but did not overpower the banana flavor. In fact, they married together quite well. The bread itself was moist, but still had a lighter texture than I was expecting. I let Hubs take the remainder of the loaf to work with him and it was a big hit. Apparently it was gone in about 5 minutes and there was moaning (the good kind). I’d say that’s a positive review. I also love this recipe for two other reasons. First, it uses melted butter. No waiting for butter to soften at room temperature. It’s not a big deal, but to me it just makes things seem that much easier. Second, you can mix everything in one bowl and cut down on clean-up. Anything that reduces the amount of dishes I have to wash wins in my book.

To sum up, you must try this! I thought it was amazing, my husband’s crew thought it was amazing, and I hope you’ll think it’s amazing.

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Tried and True: Betty Crocker’s Banana Bread

Confession: I had meant to write this post and get it up a few days ago, but alas, life happened, so blogging didn’t. Mea culpa! Hopefully you enjoy it now.

A few posts ago, when I went on my baking binge, I mentioned that I made muffins and a batch of my tried and true banana bread. I promised to post the recipe for the banana bread, so here it is. I’ve been using this recipe for years. It is my go-to when I want banana bread but don’t feel like trying out a new recipe. I originally found it in my bridal edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook (Note: In my opinion, a bridal edition cookbook is an AWESOME wedding gift), however the recipe is also available on their website here. Seriously, I LOVE this recipe. There’s a reason I come back to it again and again. I hope you give it a try and enjoy it too!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of butter, softened (I use unsalted)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups very ripe, mashed bananas (About 3 medium sized ones, though you can use 4 for some extra banana flavor)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup chopped nuts, if desired (I use walnuts)

Move your oven rack so the tops of your loaf pan will be in the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two loaf pans 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 or one 9 x 5 with shortening. (The original recipe calls for only greasing the bottoms of the pans, however I have found that life is easier when it comes releasing the finished loaf if both the bottom and sides of the pan are greased AND floured. Also, even using a 9 x 5 loaf pan I usually end up with enough batter for two loaves, so plan accordingly.)

In a large bowl, mix butter and sugar. Stir in the eggs until well blended. Stir in bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla, beating until smooth. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt until just moistened. Fold in nuts. Divide batter between pans.

Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 mins. or until a tester stick inserted to the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 mins. on a wire rack in the pans, then remove the loaves from the pans and allow to cool on the wire rack for another 2 hours or so, until cooled completely.Betty Crocker's Banana Bread

Tweaks and Overall Review

Other than the tweak I make to the greasing process, the only major change I make to the recipe is to add some cinnamon (about 1 tsp.) and some nutmeg (just a pinch) to my batter. However, this is a personal taste, so feel free to omit them if you choose. If you do want to add spices, I typically add them to my dry ingredients and let them be mixed in with them. (I usually have a smaller bowl with my dry ingredients blended together separately and then I stir in the whole lot of them into my wet ingredients.)

Have I mentioned before how much I love this recipe? I love the flavor, I love the texture, I love how the house smells when it’s baking. It’s moist and flavorful, partially from using buttermilk, and has always been a success when I make it for a potluck or send some off to work with Hubs. Yeah, I’m seriously attached to this recipe.

New Pinterest Recipe of the Week: Cream Cheese Banana Nut Bread

A few weeks ago I was complaining that having my girls has made it almost impossible for me to make any sort of baked good with bananas. The issue isn’t that they don’t like bananas. Quite the opposite, they LOVE bananas. And therein lies the problem. Bananas never seem to last long enough around here to get to that overripe state that’s perfect for baking all manner of delicious banana flavored treats.

As if an answer to prayer, the other day a friend mentioned she had some bananas on their way to overripe perfection and asked if I wanted them. OF COURSE! I was so excited! It’s been so long since I’ve had bananas ready for baking, I knew this called for trying a new recipe. The answer was staring at me from the fridge. A big Costco size tub of cream cheese sitting in my fridge just screamed, “Make the Cream Cheese Banana Nut Bread! You’ve had that recipe pinned for almost a year!” And so I did.

I found this particular recipe at Sugar & Spice by Celeste. The recipe makes two loaves, so plan accordingly.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup of butter, softened (I used unsalted)
  • 1 8oz. package of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup chopped nuts, toasted
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed banana (About 4 medium sized bananas)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350°F and grease and flour two loaf pans (8×4 size, or close to). (Once your oven is at temperature, you can use the time between the oven being ready and finishing the recipe to toast your nuts. Just spread them on a baking sheet and let them toast in the oven for about 10 minutes.)

Beat butter and cream cheese together with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Gradually add your sugar, beating until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just blended after each addition.

In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add your dry ingredients to the butter mixture, beating on low speed until just blended. Stir in your mashed bananas, toasted nuts, and vanilla extract. Divide your batter between your two loaf pans.

Bake for one hour or until a tester stick comes out clean and the sides are pulling away from the pan. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove to wire racks. Cool at least 30 minutes before slicing.

IMG_1390

Tweaks and Overall Review:

The original recipe called for using pecans, but I didn’t have any on hand so I used walnuts (which I did have on hand) instead. I don’t think it made much of a difference either way. I also didn’t have two 8×4 loaf pans, so I used one 8×4 and one 9×5. The loaf in the 8×4 pan was done after one hour 10 minutes, while the loaf in the 9×5 pan needed to stay in the oven for about one hour 20 minutes.

The recipe produces a very moist banana bread, but at the same time I felt there was something missing. There was a nice, even banana flavor, but it seemed a little flat to my taste. I think next time I will add a teaspoon or so of cinnamon to the butter/sugar mixture and see if that doesn’t give the bread the little kick my palate thought it needed.