Peanut butter and honey, peanut butter and banana; some things just belong together.
It worked in Elvis Presley’s favorite sandwich -- peanut butter and banana -- and it works in Peanut Butter-Honey Banana Bread, an old-school banana bread with a peanut butter boost and a sweet update of honey.
It’s the honey that pulls this recipe together and makes it special.
Honey's subtle undertones bring out the earthy nature and natural sweetness of the peanuts, and the fruity intensity of the bananas round out the earthy edges of the peanuts and dial up the character of the honey. Freshly grated nutmeg and a small amount of almond extract bring the flavor of the peanuts forward.
It can be tricky to cook with honey -- it’s sweeter than sugar, varies widely in flavor, and behaves differently than sugar in baked goods. So, you might want to ground yourself with a good, all-around honey cookbook like Marie Simmons’ “taste of honey,” (Andrews McMeel, 2013) before you start substituting honey for sugar, or try to wing it with your own creations.
This recipe was developed using Séka Hills Wildflower Honey, which is slightly molasses-y, and a little bit earthy, making it well-suited to the peanut butter, and assertive enough to stand up to the bananas so that the honey flavor shines through in the completed loaf. It is available in the San Francisco Bay Area at The Pasta Shop in Oakland and Berkeley, The Cheese Board Collective in Berkeley, Farmer Joe's in Oakland, and Star Grocery, also in Oakland. Purchase it online from the Seka Hills website.
PEANUT BUTTER-HONEY BANANA BREAD
makes one 9-inch by 5-inch loaf
- 2-cups flour (240 grams/8½ ounces)
- 1-teaspoon baking powder
- ½-teaspoon baking soda
- ½-teaspoon salt
- 1-teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 2 very ripe bananas (to make one cup)
- ½-cup peanut butter (128 grams/4½ ounces)
- ¼-cup butter, softened (58 grams/2 ounces)
- ½-cup Seka Hills Wildflower Honey (170 grams/6 ounces)
- ¼-cup firmly packed brown sugar (50 grams/1¾ ounces)
- ¼-cup white sugar (50 grams/1¾ ounces)
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°
- Butter and flour a 9-inch by 5-inch baking pan, or coat with cooking spray.
- Cream the butter, peanut butter, and sugars together. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the bananas, vanilla extract and almond extract.
- Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg, and sift them into the peanut butter/ banana mixture; mix until just blended.
- Turn the batter into the prepared baking pan, and bake at 350° for 50 minutes, or until a baking skewer comes out clean. Cook’s note: Baking times vary widely by oven, so use 50 minutes as a starting point only – check every 5 minutes after the 50 minute mark to make sure the loaf is fully baked. Better to have the outside of the loaf a little toasty, than gummy on the inside. See the slideshow for visual examples.
- Remove the loaf from the oven and let it cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Then, remove the loaf from the pan and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack.