My favorite part of this recipe is the cream cheese. One, because it actually calls for light cream cheese, which I always can use as a justification for making it ("Oooh, banana bread! It's light!") and two, because it gives the banana bread a different flavor and texture. It's not too sweet or spongy, which is the way a lot of banana breads turn out. I like it even without the peanut butter glaze, although it's the glaze that brings it from the "Great to serve as a snack" level to the "Give to a friend as a gift" level. If you can bear to part with it.
Cream Cheese Banana Bread
1 1/4 cup chopped pecans, divided
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 (8 oz) package 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (1 1/4 lb unpeeled bananas, about 4 medium)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 3/4 cup pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 12 to 15 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring after 6 minutes.
2. Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
3. Combine whole wheat flour and next four ingredients; gradually add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in bananas, 3/4 cup toasted pecans, and vanilla. Spoon batter into 2 greased and floured 8x4 inch loaf pans. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup pecans.
4. Bake at 350 degrees 1 hour or until long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean and sides of bread pull away from pan, shielding with aluminum foil during last 15 minutes to prevent excessive browning, if necessary. Let cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks, and cool 30 minutes.
Peanut Butter Glaze:
1 1/3 cup powdered sugar
3T creamy peanut butter
Stir together the water, sugar, and peanut butter until smooth, adding more water or powdered sugar as necessary to get a good consistency. Drizzle over completely cooled loaves.
Yield: 2 loaves
Recipe source: adapted from Southern Living Classic Southern Desserts