Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bread


Much of what I do in the kitchen depends on seasonal produce or what has been on sale lately. Recently, there were some really good sales on store brand peanut butter and bananas, so of course, I stocked up on both. 
While the peanut butter has a nice long shelf life, the bananas have been doing what bananas always seem to do: ripening faster than I had planned. 

I am one of those people who likes to eat bananas out of hand only when they are just barely beginning to get a few brown freckles. Once they get past that stage, well, in my mind, they are really only suited for baking. It was pretty evident this week that my most recent purchases needed to be used–and soon.

Now that I also had lots of peanut butter, I thought it might be fun to try to mix the peanut butter and chocolate flavors together with the bananas for a “new and improved” banana bread.
Someplace in my recipe files, I have cards for both a peanut butter bread and a chocolate bread.  I remember serving them for neighborhood Bible studies decades ago. Served with a little whipped cream cheese or butter, guests would often sandwich them together, one slice of each.
Time to go back to a basic banana bread recipe (from Mrs. Bert Feltham) in my old brown (1936) Brick Church Cookbook. I grew up cooking recipes from this, and the copy I have once belonged to my Great Grandma Mereness. It is still fun to go back and flip through its pages, some carrying the spots and stains that indicate frequent use.  

Starting with that classic, it didn’t take much to update the old version by adding in both peanut butter and cocoa. The result was a great melding together of all these favorite flavors for a wonderfully delicious alternative to ordinary banana bread. 

I think even Great Grandma Mereness would probably have approved.
Kids Cooking Note

This recipe combines a whole bunch of kid friendly foods and isn’t too unhealthy. It also is very easy to make and uses ingredients most families are likely to have available—including those bananas that always seem to go from barely ripe to past their prime overnight. This could be a good cook together recipe.
Chocolate-Peanut Butter-Banana Bread
1/2 c peanut butter—may be creamy or chunky
1 T soft butter OR oil
1 c sugar
1 c mashed bananas
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1/2 c baking cocoa
2 c flour
1 t baking soda
Cream peanut butter, butter, sugar and eggs together until smooth. Stir in bananas, vanilla, and cocoa powder and beat until well blended. Sift flour and baking soda together and add to remaining ingredients. Stir only enough to blend—don’t overbeat. 
Pour into two greased 4 X 8 loaf pans (“medium” loaves) and bake at 325 degrees for about 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from pans and cool on a cooling rack before wrapping tightly. 
If desired, you may sprinkle the loaves with about 1/4 cup coarsely chopped salted peanuts  before baking.
This is especially good the second day, sliced and served with or without butter or softened cream cheese.



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