Autumn is almost upon us… Although it doesn’t technically start until the 23rd, the stores are already filled with Halloween treats, pumpkin sweets, and even Thanksgiving decorations. I can’t believe it. Where did the year go? It was January like five seconds ago… So despite the triple-digit temperatures, the stores have been tricking me into thinking it’s time to break out my fall recipes, but I just don’t feel right making something so “fall-y” when it’s still in the 90’s and 100’s out. My solution? Banana bread. It’s not quite as fall-y as pumpkin, but not too “summery” either. Yes, foods have seasons. Stop looking at me like I’m a crazy person.
Even though I already have my “go to” banana bread recipe, I just had to try this recipe when I saw it. Possibly because I had two pounds of cream cheese in the fridge and a bunch of over-ripe bananas on the counter that I needed to do SOMETHING with… it’s like it was meant to be. The downfall being that banana bread is something that I have not yet mastered photographing. It always turns out either way overexposed or severely underexposed… It’s a perfect storm of lack of skill, experience, and equipment that causes the pictures to come out less than perfect. Trust me, though, this is a recipe you want to try.
The bread doesn’t come out so “in-your-face” banana-y, and is light with a tender crumb. Also, though I tweaked the recipe a bit (who makes banana bread without a bit of cinnamon in it?), it’s not nearly as over-the-top as my usual recipe is. The texture reminds of that of the strawberry cream cheese bread I made earlier this summer. I think I will use these cream cheese batter as a base for a variety of future quickbreads.
BF had the day off, so I took it into my work instead of sending it to work with him. It disappeared in under an hour, so I’m not the only one who thought it was really good. This recipe makes 2 loaves, so make one for yourself, and one for a friend (or work). Or you could just freeze the extra loaf for a future banana bread-related emergency.
Cream Cheese Banana Bread
[ Printable Recipe ]
For the bread:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking power
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- dash of ground nutmeg
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 8 oz 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temp
- 3 – 4 medium ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon melted butter
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 350F, and prepare two standard loaf pans
2. Whisk together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, mix together mashed bananas and vanilla.
3. Beat butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until combined. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until just blended.
5. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, mixing on low. Stir in banana mixture, be careful not to over-mix.
6. Pour into prepared pans and make your topping.
7. FOR THE TOPPING: combine all ingredients in a small bowl, and sprinkle evenly over both loaves.
8. Bake in middle of oven for 1 hour, or until it passes the toothpick test (poke a toothpick into the center of the loaf – it should come out clean with just a few crumbs clinging to it). Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans to complete cooling.
* To avoid over-mixing, you can stir the flour in instead of beating it in. Using a paddle attachment and a stand mixer will also help to avoid overbeating (vs. a whisk attachment/hand mixer)
* If your streusel is browning too quickly, tent the bread with aluminum foil.
* You can add nuts, chocolate chips, or cinnamon chips for a more “decadent” version (to make up for the calories you saved by using low-fat cream cheese)
[ Adapted from Bake or Break ]