Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Do you like Banana Bread?   I do.  I think most people do.  How about Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips in it?   Yes?  Me, too.  How about Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips in it and  –wait for it—- Peanut Butter?   WOW!   Do I have your attention now?   Well, this recipe certainly grabbed my attention,  and I only found it because I cleaned my bookcase.  There fallen down behind several bigger books was an old issue of Taste of Home magazine, March, 2009.

I knew when I found it that I must have kept it because of some recipe that appealed to me.  Sure enough, the turned down page indicated bread recipes that had won a contest. ( 12 of them!)  They all looked so good, it would have been a hard decision which to make first except that I had two ripe bananas, and all the other ingredients on hand,  so that was the decision maker.

The  smell of this bread baking is heavenly and anyone at home when you make it will come running to find out what smells so good and when they can have some.  It has a layer of crumb topping and melted chocolate chips in the middle, and more crumbs on top.  Every bite is scrumptious!  The recipe makes 2 loaves;  8 inch x 4 inch pans.

TOPPING

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

BATTER

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 pkg. ( 8 0z. ) cream cheese softened.  1/3 less fat is OK
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed ripe banana
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  Add the peanut butter, and using a fork, mix in to form a crumbly mixture.  Set aside.

  1. In a large bowl cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in bananas and vanilla.  Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon;  Stir into creamed mixture just till moistened.
  2. Divide half the batter between two greased 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans; sprinkle with half of the topping.  Top with the chocolate chips.  Repeat layers of batter and topping.

   

  1. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool for about 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to finish cooling.

    

From My Experience:  If you do not have the exact pan size,  go a little bigger rather than smaller  because this is a fairly large recipe and pans will be full.  Also use more than half the crumb topping in the center of the breads, and less for the crumb topping.  I split mine in half as directed and as the bread rose in the oven the crumbs fell off and burned on the oven floor.  More crumbs fell off as I tried to get the breads out of the pans.  Finally, I would suggest using mini chocolate chips so they melt during baking.  My chips were the large size and they remained whole instead of melting .  Everything tasted wonderful, but these were the problems I encountered.

SOURCE:   Taste of Home magazine,   March, 2009

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Mississippi Mud Bars

I think I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again:  I.  Love. Chocolate.  It is always my first choice in desserts.  So if there’s chocolate in it, on it, around it, or anywhere close by, you can be sure I’ll find it!   When I was asked to bring a “finger-type” dessert to an end-of-year picnic, this recipe came right to mind.  What else but chocolate could produce Mississippi Mud?  (As a food, that is.)

The recipe was published in the Winter 2012 Baking Sheet, from King Arthur Flour.  I am a faithful subscriber to this little recipe-filled periodical many of which have turned down pages for recipes I want to try.

Mention Mississippi Mud and like the ice cream, I think of chocolate chips, nuts and peanut butter.  These bars have not one, but two kinds of chocolate:  dark and white, plus pecans – a Southern touch.  Pure deliciousness in one little cookie bar.  Since they are eaten with your hands it’s OK to lick your fingers!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate, coarsely chopped, or white chips
  • 2 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks, divided
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, divided

A word here about pan size:  You may choose a 9”x13″, a 9″x9″, or an 8″x8″ pan. The smaller pans will produce 16-20 bars that are thick with a thick layer of chocolate on top.  The 9″x13″ pan will produce 24-32 bars, but only about an inch thick.  That’s the size I used to bake the bars pictured here.

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Select your pan and grease generously with non-stick spray.
  2. Cream the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl until smooth.  Beat in the peanut butter followed by the egg and vanilla.  Mix well; scrape the bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture.
  4. Add the white chocolate, 1 cup of the semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, and half of the pecans.
  5. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.  Using a spatula works well to spread it to the edges.  Bake for 40-45 min. for 8″ or 9″ square pans;  30-35 min. for the 9″x13″ pan. The bars should be golden brown all over.
  6.   Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the remaining chocolate over the top of the bars.  Return to the oven for 1 minute to soften the chocolate, then take the pan out of the oven and spread the now-melted chocolate evenly over the top.  Sprinkle with the remaining pecans, pressing them lightly into the chocolate.  Allow to cool before cutting into bars.

SOURCE:  The Baking Sheet, Winter 2012,  from King Arthur Flour