My friend, Marina, had wanted me to make her a few loaves to take with her to her friend’s anniversary celebration. I wanted to make something a little fancier than “the usual” banana bread. This recipe, with crunchy toffee bits and pecans, tastes far more extravagant than basic banana bread. I also made her a Double Chocolate Zucchini Loaf and a Cinnamon Streusel Loaf. I will post those recipes in another blog! (*upate - recipes posted - simply click on either loaf to view recipes*)
If you are looking for a loaf that rises beautifully and looks like Martha Stewart may have made it – then this is the one. Denser loaves, like the Double Chocolate Zucchini Loaf, don’t have that lovely crest in the middle like this one does. Plus, this recipe makes 2 large loaves!! One for giving and one for eating!!
Toffee Pecan Banana Bread
2 cups bananas, mashed (about 4 medium)
¼ cup shortening
½ cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp cinnamon
½ cup + 2 Tbsp English toffee bits (or Skor baking bits)
½ cup pecans, chopped
Preheat oven to 350. Spray 2 loaf pans with cooking spray.
In a mixing bowl, cream together butter, shortening, and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until creamy. Blend in mashed banana.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Stir in ½ cup toffee bits and pecans. Do not overmix!! Pour batter into prepared pans. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of toffee bits over each loaf.
Bake at 350 for about 1 hour, or until done. (Start checking at about 45 minutes) Top should be golden brown and toothpick inserted into center should come out clean. If it is not done but top is looking too dark – cover with tinfoil and continue baking until cooked through.
Cool in pans for 5 - 10 minutes. Run knife around edge of pan to loosen. Remove to wire rack to finish cooling.
I always had trouble slicing loaves until I learned this tip – leave loaves overnight in the fridge and then take them out and let them come up to room temperature before cutting. If you don’t have all night to wait for them then just chill them for as long as you can and let them come back up to room temperature.
I can remember before we got our nice, shiny, new oven it was always a guessing game when making loaves. Would they turn out or would they be burnt on the outside and raw on the inside? It goes to show the importance of a correct oven temperature. With the new oven (well, new as of 2 years ago) if the recipe says to bake for 8 – 10 minutes then it takes 8 – 10 minutes, if it says 40 – 50 minutes then it takes 40 – 50 minutes. I know, I know....you are thinking “Okay, isn’t that what is supposed to happen?” Yes...yes it is... but it never happened like that with our old oven. We had to watch it like a hawk. 8 – 10 minutes could be 5 minutes or maybe 15 minutes! I’m surprised we didn’t have more disasters in the kitchen. I guess it’s what you get used to. Loaves were one thing that just never turned out though. I feel like a super genius now that they cook properly in the new oven. Yes..I am going to take credit for their success.