January 23, 2010

Banana Cranberry Nut Bread

Growing up, my mom always made us the best banana bread (it was just banana bread back then, because I hated walnuts). Her recipe was from a Better Homes & Garden cookbook and had a little gold star sticker marking the recipe.

Now that I'm all growed up, I use the Joy of Cooking and add lots of walnuts! This time around, I added dried cranberries and substituted in some whole wheat flour and applesauce, trying to be heathful-like.

This particular version of banana nut bread came out a little moist and tart. I definitely cut back on the sugar and added a lot of banana and applesauce. I like that you can play around with the additions in this recipe, and always get a different (but delicious) final product.

Banana Cranberry Nut Bread
Adapted from Joy of Cooking

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (can substitute whole wheat flour for no more than 1/2 the amount of flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup (6 tablespoons) butter, softened
(Note: I used about 4 tablespoons of butter and 1/4 cup of applesauce)
2/3 cup sugar or honey
2 ripe bananas
1 to 2 large eggs
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder. In a larger bowl, beat together butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs one at a time and bananas and continue beating.

Add dry ingredients to wet mixture in three parts, incorporating completely until adding more. Fold in nuts and dried fruit. Pour into a greased loaf pan, and bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool slightly and then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.