Sweet, tender, buttery banana bread is dotted with toffee pieces in this lovely loaf — perfect for breakfast or a snack.
If you’d told me 10 years ago today that I would move to Maine for a dream job at a newspaper, get divorced, raise two kids solo and adopt a kitten, I would have questioned your sanity. Twenty years ago, I would have laughed and laughed at the crazy story you’d
But here I am, and I am glad for it.
As I write this, the kitten — he’s inching closer to cathood every day — is curled up next to me, sleeping. It’s our nightly ritual. I get out our favorite soft blanket and set it over my legs and spread it out beside me. He hops up, kneads it a little bit and then falls asleep pressed against my leg. It’s sweet. I love him.
Of course, getting a cat was a surprise. I’ve always been a dog person. I grew up with a neighborhood lab and my own poodle. My family still has dogs.
But I am allergic to most dogs and that allergy has intensified in Maine. I guess my body had maintained a degree of resilience to their dander when we had beagles. But once they no longer lived with me, I lost it. As much as I would love to get another dog, I can only have a hypoallergenic one and even then, I am allergic to their saliva (and if you’ve ever had a dog, you know that you will come in contact with that). It’s not in the cards right now.
Fortunately, I am not allergic to cats.
Some of the best things in life are the unexpected ones. Getting a cat who I’ve come to love was surely unexpected. But it’s been wonderful too. He has so much personality and adds delight to our household. But he’s also been a great stress reliever too — giving us all somewhere to focus on hard days.
Likewise, my love of cooking was unexpected. I stubbornly refused to take home ec in high school, rejecting it as an old-fashioned ode to “women’s roles.” I swore I’d never cook, never sew, never keep a house.
But then a funny thing happened: I grew up and I needed to eat. Eventually, I discovered that cooking was more than feeding myself. It’s an art, an act of love, a creative endeavor … and it’s become part of my career. I am so grateful for that unexpected pleasure.
These days, career and life intersect in recipes like this Banana Toffee Bread, a bold, moist loaf with buttery toffee and fragrant banana flavors.
Shall we talk about how to make this?
Like most banana bread recipes (perhaps even all?), this starts with several overripe bananas. Four, actually. This gives the bread
The bananas are peeled and then mashed into a paste before being stirred into the batter of butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla.
The batter is finished off with flour, baking powder, salt and toffee pieces. Absolutely delightful!
Then it’s poured into a loaf pan and baked for an hour or so. Keep baking it until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, even if it takes longer than that. Sometimes it does.
Let it cool for about 20 minutes before loosening the edges with a knife. Then slide it out onto a cutting board.
You can slice it immediately and eat it warm or let it cool completely before cutting.
Banana Toffee Bread is delightful for breakfast or good as a snack too.
I’m not sure that 15 or 16 or 17 year old me would believe that baking would bring me such great joy or fulfillment as a 30-something adult. I’m not sure that me, at that age, wouldn’t keep arguing that I’d sold out or given in. But age brings with it a certain maturity and understanding. And I know that I was wrong when I thought home economics wasn’t for everyone.
At least I got there eventually.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, , softened to room temperature
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 ripe bananas, , mashed
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup toffee pieces
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan with cooking oil spray. Set aside.
- Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until the mixture looks light and fluffy. Add one egg at a time, beating well each time. Add the vanilla and bananas to the mixture and mix well on medium speed.
- In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. With the mixer running on its lowest speed, add the flour mixture to the bowl little by little, until just combined.
- Add the toffee pieces to the batter and mix until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread with a spatula to even it out.
- Slide the pan into the preheated oven and cook for about 1 hour. The bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool before slicing and serving.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of four cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to a tween and a teen, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.