Monday, May 21, 2012

Evil Pumpkins and Snakes

Believe It Or Not by Joey Scarbury
This song was the theme song for a TV show called The Greatest American Hero which aired back in the early 80s.  It was a fun show but my favorite part was the theme song.  I love songs that give you an immediate lift - much like an ice cold glass of Diet Coke!  There's just no holding down your spirits as they soar along to this song.  You are, literally, walking on air!  As I am today!  I've got super heroes on my mind.  Those fathers that work so hard for us, those husbands that are the most amazing fathers - and grandfathers - sons who take such joy in their own sons, and grandsons who detect and ward off the invisible threats in the world.  And Banana Bread.  Banana Bread can mend broken hearts, make you forget boo-boos, make a smile magically appear, and just the aroma will wake up the Super Heroes at your house.  Banana Bread a super hero?   You better believe it!

I know I posted a Banana Bread recipe a few months ago - one laden with chocolate chips and candied ginger and destined to leave you weak in the knees bite after bite.  But I want to visit banana bread again today - firstly for the pleasure of it now but mostly for a post I have coming down the road.  I highly recommend making two loaves - doubling the recipe - so you can enjoy a loaf today and then again when I make that other post next month.  Let's just say that that trip to Atlanta has left me with more than Bacon Cheeseburger Hand Pies to share!

I gave you some ideas for Mother's Day so it's only fair that I start giving you some Father's Day options as well, right?  My husband loves Banana Bread.  It's gone about as fast as I make it.  He has several slices as it comes out of the oven and, after those settle, he's usually back for a chaser a couple hours later - you know, a bedtime snack sort of thing.  I'll also come down to the kitchen the next morning to find that a few more slices have disappeared from the plate and I know they found their way into a plastic baggie and are probably sitting on his desk and being pecked at throughout the day.  We've been married almost 34 years - I kinda know these things.

Chances are you have a Banana Bread lovin' man in your house as well.  Maybe he's not into all the stuff I put in that first recipe I shared so this recipe is tamed down just a little.  I'm going to add some pecans this time and a little streusel for the top.  I'm also adding some chunks of not-so-overripe bananas for a little creamy bite now and then to counter the crunch of the pecans.  Like I said, it's a preamble for another recipe idea to be shared at a later date and I'm thinking that chunks of banana AND pecans would be perfect!   Awesomeness awaits!!  Stay tuned!

And, now, I must go because the Banana Bread aroma at this house woke up this little Super Hero 
and he has informed me that he's fighting off some evil pumpkins and snakes that are apparently lurking at my front door.  They're probably waiting for a chance to pounce on the Banana Bread as soon as it's out of the oven.  Sounds like a job for TWO people!  Avengers, schmengers! I've got Super Will!!

Banana Pecan Bread
makes 1 loaf
printable recipe card
1 stick unsalted butter, softened (113 g)
1 c. granulated sugar (200 g)
1 egg
2 c. all-purpose flour (274 g)
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
2 slightly overripe bananas
3 T. milk
1 T. vanilla extract
1 c. chunked pecans, toasted
1 ripe banana, cut into chunks

1/4 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. rolled oats
1/4 c. chopped pecans
1/3 c. butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9X5 loaf pan.

In a mixer bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy - about 3 - 5 minutes.  Add the egg and mix until well combined.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a third bowl, mash together the 2 more ripe bananas, milk, and vanilla extract.

Starting with the flour mixture, add half and mix until just starting to come together.  Then add half of the banana mixture and mix a few turns.  Add half of the remaining flour and mix a few turns.  Then add the remaining banana mixture and mix a few turns.  Follow with the remaining flour mixture along with the pecans.  Stir until it just comes together.  Finally, fold in the remaining banana chunks.

Spread into the prepared loaf pan.  Prepare the streusel by combining all ingredients and stirring together until well combined and crumbly.  Sprinkle the streusel across the top of the batter.
Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes then remove and cool on a rack.  If you are taking my advice and cooking one to be frozen to use with my post next month, go ahead and bake it an extra 5 minutes.  Then cool and double wrap in plastic wrap and then freeze.

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