Peanut Butter and Pecan Banana Bread

Decadent Banana Bread
Last weekend, I got to thinking about banana bread. There's finally enough of a chill in the air to necessitate turning on the oven in the early mornings, not because I'm thinking about things to bake, but because this old house can get pretty chilly.

It seemed a shame to let all that gas go to waste, but I couldn't think of a thing to make, until I spied the last of the bananas that I'd bought the week before. They were a deep yellow and speckled like the sort of eggs that Welsummers lay.

I'm not sure how the whole thing came about, but somewhere between thinking about deeply speckled hen's eggs, drinking my second cafe au lait, and finishing off a crossword puzzle, it dawned on me to not only make a loaf of banana bread, but to stud it with peanut butter chips and toasted pecans, and then, just for fun, top it off with a drizzle of peanut butter glaze.

All before 8 a.m. Really, all before breakfast. So, when Mr. B walked into the house from his office just after I pulled it from the oven, he gave me that quizzical look that he always gives me when he can't quite figure out what the heck I've been up to. Surely, he could smell the banana bread, but he couldn't figure out what had inspired my early morning creativity. Instead, the best he could do was pour a another cup of coffee, take a deep breath, and tell me, "Boy, it sure smells good in here."

Banana Bread
1 stick of butter, softened
1 cup of sugar
3 eggs
2 cups of whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 very ripe bananas mashed
1 tablespoon of vanilla
1 package peanut butter chips
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
Peanut butter glaze (recipe follows)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cream the butter and the sugar together; add eggs one at a time, until thoroughly combined.
3. In a small mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients.
4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter mixture until all of the dry ingredients are integrated.
5. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas with the vanilla.
6. Stir the mashed bananas into the batter.
7. Add the peanut butter chips and the pecans.
8. Pour into a buttered and floured loaf pan.
9. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean; allow to cool on a rack for 2 hours before inverting.
10. Top with the peanut butter glaze; allow glaze to set before serving.

Peanut Butter Glaze
2 tablespoons of butter
4 tablespoons of peanut butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla
heavy cream
powdered sugar
sea salt

1. In a large, glass measuring cup, melt butter and peanut butter in the microwave in 1 second increments until liquified.
2. Stir in powdered sugar until mixture clumps into a ball.
3. Stir in a few tablespoons of heavy cream until mixture is smooth; return to microwave and heat until mixture bubbles.
4. Add salt and vanilla and stir; continue to stir until mixture cools and thickens and then drizzle over the banana bread.


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