As I stand in line at my local Starbuck's each morning waiting to announce my order, I always glance at the sweets case filled with breads, scones, and muffins, to see if they have anything new. I have developed an excellent restraint from buying a treat with my non-fat latte; however, I stand there dreaming of ways I can develop some of their appetizing selections.
A couple months ago, I noticed the freshly piled platter of banana nut bread, sitting alongside the now year-round (smart move) pumpkin bread. Adoring both of them, my mind started thinking of how delicious they would taste combined into one bread - a banana-pumpkin bread!
As I tend to do when I'm on a mission, came home and searched the internet for a recipe to adapt. I found one from King Arthur Flour, a favorite source for recipes, and another from a delightful blogger friend, Kim, from Liv Life. After creating the recipe twice, I took parts I liked from both, which came together into a very healthy, scrumptious Banana-Pumpkin Bread.
The bread is extremely moist, and full of delectable flavor! It was suggested by KAF when completely cooled, to wrap in plastic wrap, and serve the following morning. (I also refrigerated it.) I didn't do this the first time, and it made such a difference in my second loaf. The flavors blend together so nicely overnight. I look forward to any do ahead recipes, so this definitely meets that criteria.
I was having a couple friends over for an afternoon coffee, and decided to play "dress-up" with my banana-pumpkin bread for the occasion. I used one of my classic stand-by cream cheese frosting recipes, and prior to my girlfriends arrival, liberally frosted the bread. Down the center of the frosted bread, I piled cut banana slices from two bananas, and sprinkled chopped walnuts along the sides. I completed it all with a colorful, fresh mint leaf stem. The bread is totally delicious on its own, but the dressing up creates a beautiful specialty!
Until next time...mangia! xox
Yield: 1 loaf
for the bread:
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 large eggs
1 cup pureed pumpkin (I used Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin)
1 cup ripe mashed banana, the riper the better
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour or premium whole wheat flour (I used KAF premium whole wheat)
3 tablespoons ground flax meal (optional)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 tablespoon turbinado (raw) sugar for sprinkling on top (or use frosting recipe)
for a cream cheese frosting topping: (optional)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
chopped walnuts and sliced bananas for garnish (optional)
fresh mint leaf stem (optional)
Create the Banana-Pumpkin Bread:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or spray an 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" bread pan.
2) In a large bowl, beat together the oil, yogurt, sugar, honey, eggs, pumpkin, banana, orange juice, and vanilla.
3) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ground flax meal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Sprinkle the walnuts over the top, if using. Fold the dry ingredients into the banana pumpkin mixture, and mix just until combined.
4) Spoon the mixture into the prepared bread pan, sprinkle with the turbinado sugar (if not using frosting), and allow to rest for 15 minutes before placing in oven.
5) Bake for 53 - 58 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (The bread in my photos took 55 minutes.) Remove from the oven and cool on rack in pan for 10 - 15 minutes. Remove from the pan and continue cooling on rack. When completely cooled, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator. Best served the following day.
Create the Cream Cheese Frosting (if using):
In a stand mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add confectioners sugar, and beat on low speed until combined, then on high speed until frosting is smooth. Spread over top of completely cooled bread. Garnish with bananas, chopped nuts and fresh mint leaf stem, just before serving, if desired.
- If you wish, in place of 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, you can use 1 cup of whole wheat flour, and 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour.
- Frost and garnish the bread prior to serving. I made the entire cream cheese recipe above, and had a small amount remaining. If you don't want it as thick as I created it, you can easily cut the recipe in half.
- The bread freezes very well, with or without the frosting. For an individual serving, with a sharp knife, slice from the frozen loaf, and allow it to thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
Bread recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour and Liv Life. The Cream Cheese Frosting is from A Cup Of Mascarpone's basic recipes.