Sunday, October 12, 2014

Mini Banana Nut Bread Gifts

Well, I don't know about you but I love this time of year.  Fall is by far my favorite season for a variety of reasons - the air is cool and crisp, the leaves are changing, and the football is flying.  What's not to love?    

I especially enjoy baking this time of year.  Well anytime really but I tend to do more of it in the fall and winter because it's just too hot here in the summer for baking.  Sharing goodies with friends, family, and neighbors just makes it all the more fun.  Considering that I had four very over ripe bananas on hand, I decided to surprise my family with mini-sized loaves of banana-nut bread today. When I did an on-line search for recipes, I came across a recipe  (Mini Banana Breads) on the Betty Crocker website but decided to tweak it slightly.  Overall it seemed like a great recipe but I wanted it to have more fall flavor so I added 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice and 1/2 cup pecans (versus walnuts).  My mini loaf pans were larger than the size indicated in the original recipe so it only made 5 total mini loaves (not 10).  I used the handi-foil brand mini loaf pans with lids (5 pack) which I purchased at my local HEB grocery store.  I prefer these because they have the lids and I intended to give a few away as gifts.

My mini loaves required 40 minutes of baking time at 350 degrees.  I started with 35 minutes but they weren't quite done in the middle and the tops weren't quite brown enough.

Here are the supplies I used to "decorate" the loaf tins - fall-inspired 12 x 12 scrapbook paper (cut into 4 three-inch strips), brown grosgrain ribbon, small round gift tags, and leaf stickers.

This is how they look all put together.  I wrapped the paper around the loaf tin and secured with scrapbook adhesive.  I tied the ribbon on and threaded tag through ribbon before tieing it in a simple square knot.  Each tag has a leaf sticker and "Happy Fall".  You could easily modify this to suit your gift occasion.

Here's my modified version of the Betty Crocker recipe:

Mini Banana-Nut Loaves 
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened 
  • 4 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped and lightly toasted (can substitute chocolate chips for nuts)

1)  Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.  Spray foil tins with cooking spray.
2)  In a lage bowl, mix sugars and butter.  Stir in eggs until well blended.  Add mashed bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla; beat until smooth.
3)  In a separate bowl, combine flour, spice, baking soda, and salt.  Add flour mixture to wet mixture in mixing bowl.  Combine just until moistened.  Stir in toasted pecans.  Divide batter evenly between 5 mini loaf pans.  Place pans on baking sheet.  
4)  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Place on wire rack to cool.  Leave loaves in pans and place lids on top.  Enjoy or decorate for gifts.

Makes 5 mini loaves (using mini foil pans and lids).   

Note:  I used my KitchenAid mixer with the wisk attachment.  I used a large spoon to stir in toasted nuts then divided batter among tins.

We enjoyed a loaf and I gave the remaining loaves as gifts to friends in our LifeGroup from church but also plan to make another batch or two for neighbors and teachers.  The modifed recipe tasted yummy.  It will definitely be going in the favorites pile!  The bread was moist with the perfect level of sweetness and spice.  Enjoy - Happy Fall Y'all!   

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