Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Baking: Apple Butter Banana Bread!

As most of my friends should have gotten their packages today (or will be tomorrow), I can share with you my Apple Butter Banana Bread and how you can use it as gifts! The recipe is super simple, and you could make the recipe as one large 9x5 loaf, or you can make it as three mini-loaves (3x5 pans). If you're making the one loaf, just add 10 minutes to the baking time.

For all the loaves I was making, I made five batches of the recipe, and after doing it twice, I didn't even have to keep looking at the recipe since I pretty much had it memorized at that point!

Start by combining 1.5 cups of flour, 1.5 teaspoons baking powder, half a teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg in a large bowl. Once it's mixed well together, make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and set the bowl aside.

Then in a medium-sized bowl, mash two bananas until they're smooth, yet slightly lumpy.
Then you add two eggs (slightly beaten), 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup canola oil, and 1/2 cup apple butter. I love WhiteHouse, but any kind you want to use will be good (if I had time, I would have gone to the farmers market because fresh homemade apple butter is amazing!).

After mixing all these ingredients together (without over mixing), then you pour the wet ingredients into the well of the dry ingredients.
Obviously it overflows past the well, but by doing the well, it makes it a little easier to mix together. I used a wooden spoon this whole time, there is no need to use a hand mixer or anything for this. You'll want to mix the wet ingredients with the dry just until everything is combined. You definitely don't want to over mix!

Then, after spraying my mini loaf pans with Baker's Joy (the best baking spray to make sure things don't stick!), I poured in the batter, about half to two-thirds full.
I baked the loaves for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. This was the perfect amount of baking time, but always check your loaves before taking them out by sticking a knife or toothpick in them and making sure it comes out clean.

After letting the loaves cool on an wire rack in the pans for 10 minutes, I popped them out of the pan and let them finish cooling all the way.
One tip I would give, is even though this recipe makes three mini loaves, if you have any intention of making more than one batch, have six pans. That way, as soon as you take one batch out, you can put another batch in, rather than waiting for the breads to cool and then reusing those pans. It'll save you a lot of unnecessary oven time!

I finished off the Christmas packages by wrapping each cooled loaf in clear plastic wrap, and then tied a Christmas-themed ribbon around the loaf!
It's nothing fancy, but I like the festivity of it!

I love my new tradition of sending my friends baked goods for Christmas (last year I sent different types of cookies) and mixing up what I send them! 

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