Banana Nut Bread

The past few days I have been walking by our fruit bowl on the kitchen table and have noticed the banana were almost past the point of being edible.  One of my biggest pet peeves is having to throw away fresh fruit that does not get eaten.  Have you seen the price of fresh fruit lately? It is not cheap!  Yesterday afternoon I had some spare time on my hands (shocking, I know) and I decided I was not going to let those bananas go to waste.

There is nothing better than the smell of freshly baked breads, cakes, cookies, etc!  I absolutely love how baking makes our entire house smell!  In order to use up those bananas I knew that some banana nut bread would be perfect, plus it would make the house smell like a bakery for a few hours!!

There are millions of recipes for banana nut bread, so how can you pick a new one to try?  I knew I wanted a recipe which made 2 loaves, since I wanted to give one loaf away as a “thank you gift” today.  (If you don’t want to give away the second loaf, you can always wrap it nice-n-tight and freeze it for later!)  After sorting through a few different recipes, I settled on this one — and this is honestly some of the best banana nut bread I have ever made.  The cream cheese and bananas add so much moisture to the bread, without causing it to be too moist.  And to top it off, it’s an other extremely easy to make which is always a bonus!

Banana Nut Bread

Banana Nut Bread
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Ingredients:
3/4 cup Butter, at room temperature
1 (8 ounce) package Cream Cheese, at room temperature
2 cups Sugar
2 Large Eggs
3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
4 Medium Bananas, mashed
1 cup Pecans, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until creamy. A 1/4 cup at a time, add the sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Next, add the eggs one at a time and beat just until blended after each egg.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, while the mixture is on low speed, just until blended. With a large spoon, stir in the bananas, pecans and vanilla extract.

Spoon the batter evenly into 2 greased and floured 8″x4″ loaf pans.

Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean and the sides are pulling away from the pan. If need be, you can cover the bread with aluminum foil for the last 15 minutes to prevent the top from burning or browning, if necessary. Cool the bread in the pan on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes before removing the bread and allowing it to cool for an additional 30 minutes.

*Serving Size: 2 loaves.

Source: Sugar & Spice by Celeste, originally from Southern Living Magazine.

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