Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Autumn Banana~Pumpkin Bread with Cranberries & Walnuts

My husband loves bananas on his cereal, but not everyday, and I'm always finding myself with one, two or like today, three bananas that I just can't let go to waste.  I know, I could make a smoothie and say, "be done with it" or freeze them for later use, but today is rainy and temperatures aren't suppose to reach much above the upper 60s, so baking is my choice.

I love experimenting with ingredients and today I thought about how I could make this more fitting to the season [that's fast approaching:)] and have decided to incorporate my two favorite symbols of autumn--pumpkins and cranberries.

Mom made lots of banana bread when I was growing up, but her recipe, which I cherish, was the standard with bananas and walnuts.  Kelly loved to bake banana bread to give as gifts and stock her freezer for later treats.  One of the first things I baked with Ari was banana bread (and muffins) when I was there in May to distract him from all the sadness.  I still remember his face when he bit into his first baking creations and wished I had a camera to capture that look of pure enjoyment!

Wrapped in beautiful cellophane for gifts or just to have with your morning coffee or tea, this autumnal version is sure to be a hit with your family.

Banana~Pumpkin Bread with  Cranberries & Walnuts
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup golden brown sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 T Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 tsp. Banana flavoring
3 medium bananas, peeled & mashed
1 1/2 cups (15 oz can) pumpkin (not pie filling)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup walnuts, toasted and broken into pieces
 2 - 5" x 9" loaf pans, sprayed with a non-stick baking spray
Preheat oven to 350F-degrees. Toast walnuts for 8 minutes and set aside.
In the KitchenAid, using a paddle attachment, beat butter, oil and sugars together.  Add eggs and combine.  Add the bananas and canned pumpkin and beat to combine. 
Make sure the bananas do have some spots on them, otherwise wait to make this bread
Don't worry, the mixture will look curdled!  Remove bowl from the mixer and stir in flour, baking soda, and salt.  Stir, just to combine.  Fold in the cranberries and walnuts.  Pour into the prepared loaf pans.
Bake at 350F-degrees for 30 minutes, then, lower the temperature to 325F-degrees and bake an additional 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan about 15 minutes.  Turn out to cool completely before slicing.
 Your temperatures may not be dropping like ours, but this is a yummy bread that tastes good on any night and it makes a wonderful gift to give.  Also, with two loaves you could easily wrap up one and freeze it for a cold morning .  Enjoy!


  1. This looks delish! I'm curious about your use of half butter/half oil. I usually go for the quick breads that use butter b/c the recipes with oil are sometimes too greasy. What's your thought on this?

  2. You're right and I too don't like all oil for just that reason. However, after butter is softened or melted it sets and will firm up again, where oil remains in a liquid state. By combining the two in quick breads I get the flavor that butter provides, but I keep the moistness & preservation that the oil provides. And, with only a 1/2 cup it's not enough to make it greasy. So I like to use half and half.
    I've also noticed in some recipes it's called for using half shortening and half oil, but I'm a purest and think the butter adds more flavor...not to mention it's BUTTER:)
    Thank you for your question, xoxo