Peanut Butter Banana Bread

While I loved the fish and chips, chicken tikka masala, and scones with clotted cream we tried during our trip to London already four months ago (time flies!), it was the peanut butter banana bread from the cafĂ© (called Department of Social Sciences and Coffee) next to our apartment that stayed with me most. Apart from the fact that it was delicious -- served lightly toasted, with a little butter and jam -- its appeal also lay in the fact that it was so clearly, blatantly, un-Italian. Now, don't take that the wrong way -- you know I love Italian food!-- but every once in a while its nice to eat something a little different, something you know you'll never, ever find in Italy, just to shake things up. I ditched my usual cappuccino-and-cornetto routine and had a slice of peanut butter banana bread for breakfast every morning in London, and I've had it in my head to recreate it ever since then.

Now! If you're not American, I know what you're thinking. You're having doubts about the peanut butter/banana combination, aren't you? The thing is, we Americans loveeeee peanut butter. We spread it on crackers, bagels, and toast, pair it with apples and celery, and sandwich it between bread to make peanut butter sandwiches. And not just plain pb sandwiches -- in the U.S of A we also love our peanut butter and bacon sandwiches (yes, you read that correctly, and its divine) peanut butter and Fluff sandwiches, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. If this all sounds strange -- some of those "only in America" flavor combinations -- you'd be absolutely right. But consider this -- peanut butter is one of those ingredients that has an uncanny ability to complement and exalt a variety of other ingredients, odd as the pairings might seem. Its salty sweetness wakes up milder flavors (the aforementioned apple) and emphasizes stronger ones (dark chocolate, for example) and also tempers sweeter ones, which brings us back to today's peanut butter and banana combo. There are few better breakfasts than a slice of toast with peanut butter and banana, as far as I'm concerned, and if you're still skeptical, remember: Elvis Presley himself enjoyed (fried) peanut butter and banana sandwiches. If its good enough for the King, its good enough for you.

So! Today's peanut butter and banana bread puts together these two somewhat unlikely but incredibly compatible flavors, giving the classic banana bread a delicious twist. The peanut butter and banana flavors both shine and play together nicely here, neither one overwhelming the other; the texture is perfect, light and fluffy; the sweetness is spot on, just enough, another one of those "not-too-sweet" baked goods I've been making more and more of; and the peanut butter, yogurt, and whole wheat flour make this seem like a vaguely healthy breakfast choice (certainly healthier than a donut, at least!) It is lovely served with a swoosh of peanut butter or a drizzle of honey, a treat at breakfast, brunch, or for (midnight)snack. My peanut butter banana bread craving has been successfully satisfied, but even if you haven't been dreaming about this the past four months, I suggest you make it, too. Yummm.

A couple of notes: I think the whole wheat flour here is really nice, but feel free to use all white flour instead of whole wheat flour here, if you don't have it. I think a little cinnamon would also be a tasty addition. Feel free to add chocolate chips if you want to make things a little more decadent, and remember to use overripe banaas (the brown, ugly ones) as they have the most flavor. You can also bake the batter in muffin pans if you want Peanut Butter Banana Muffins.

Looking for other banana-y recipes? I've got these Banana Pecan Waffles, this Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread and these Banana Nutella Muffins. Want more peanut butter recipes? I've got these Peanut Butter Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies, these Magical, 4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies, and this Peanut Butter Pie. In search of more breakfast-y loaf cakes? Allow me to recommend this Ricotta Pound Cake, this Chocolate Loaf Cake, this Lemon Poppy seed Cake, and this Triple Orange Pound Cake.

PEANUT BUTTER BANANA BREAD

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups (195 grams) flour
1/2 cup (65 grams) whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 overripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup (120 grams) peanut butter
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
1/2 cup (85 grams) light brown sugar
1/3 cup (85 grams) plain yogurt
1/4 cup (50 grams) vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (170 degrees Celsius). Butter an 8x4 inch loaf pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, sugars, yogurt, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
Add the mashed bananas to the peanut butter mixture and stir until the bananas are well incorporated, then add the dry ingredients and stir until everything is just combined. 

Pour the batter in to the loaf pan and bake for about an hour and 15 minutes, being sure to cover the loaf with aluminum foil if it starts to brown (you'll probably have to do this at the 45 minute mark). When a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean with a few crumbs attached and no batter, the bread is ready. Let your Peanut Butter Banana Bread cool completely before slicing and serving. Serves 10-12.
Recipe adapted from www.browneyedbaker.com








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