Tis the season! And while there is no escaping the whirlwind of shopping and decorating and wrapping and yes, cooking, it’s even more important to grab those little moments that the holidays are here to celebrate. Decorating the Christmas tree with those finally home for a little while college kids. Watching Love Actually for the millionth time with your honey. Taking a nap with your dog in your fleece Grinch pajamas. And sharing a little sweet something with friends you don’t get to see NEARLY enough. Something like this sweet and spicy coffee walnut banana bread!
And while I took that baby’s picture, I will go on record as saying I did not bake it. Nope. That plate of deliciousness was baked for me, which is one of the other things I cherish about the holidays. As much as I love all the stirring and sautéing and baking…you know I do!…there’s something that makes me feel very cherished by tucking into something that has been made just for me. Well, and for the Southern husband. And it’s even sweeter when it’s made by someone you love who shows up for a spur of the moment visit.
We have a long rocky history of baking, this girl and I. The apple pie we made when we were about 11 years old has gone down in family history. There was even a song written about it. (By us.) Hey, who knew you were supposed to take the core out of the apples before you baked them into a pie? But I gotta tell you, there have never been cookies and brownies and yes, apple pies with unexpected added fiber in them that were made with more hilarity, and so whenever she makes me something like this delectable banana bread, it zaps me right back to being 11 years old and cracking each other up in my mama’s kitchen.
So here’s a perfect treat to surprise someone dear in your life with: a rich and aromatic banana bread laced with just a teeny hint of coffee, studded with nuts and full of that perfect banana taste. Eat the first piece warm with a cup of tea, and then make it into French toast, tear pieces of it into chunks for bread pudding, toast it up and spread it with banana jam…and go give that friend who knows you from Way Back When a call. That’s a holiday gift like no other!
- ½ cup butter, melted
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten together
- 1 cup mashed banana (about 3 good and ripe ones)
- 2 cups flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ⅓ cup hot coffee
- ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional if you don't want to use 'em)
- Preheat oven to 325 and grease a 9" loaf pan.
- Beat butter and sugar together until well combined. Lower speed and add eggs and bananas and mix until smooth.
- Put flour, salt and baking soda in a bowl and stir together gently with a whisk until well combined.
- Add ⅓ of flour mixture to banana and mix. Add half the coffee, then another ⅓ of the flour mixture, then the rest of the coffee, then the rest of the flour mixture. If you are using the nuts, stir them in now.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake for an hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, and then remove to a cooling rack. Share with someone you love!