Finally, finally, after five years of writing this old blog, I bring you peanut butter banana bread.
The fact that this is my first recipe for banana bread is honestly shocking.
Considering that for years I have kept a stash of bananas in my freezer for the entire purpose of a regular supply of banana bread, I really don’t know what I’ve been playing at. I’ve evidently been distracted by charcuterie boards and BLTs. Banana bread is a delicious excuse to leave bananas sitting in the fruit bowl until covered in brown freckles. I don’t know many people who will eat them straight from the skin at that stage, aside from my mum who seemingly does it with grim determination.
Last year, I was trying to find the perfect banana bread recipe for my little recipe e-book I’ve nonchalantly mentioned. I grimaced and groaned and pondered recipes for banana bread and banana cake and banana muffins, and then did so again, when all the results emerged from my oven, all the while with a mouthful of cake and such a serious face of uncertainty, you’d be well-reasoned to think I was debating whether to go to war (while hungry).
There are thousands of delicious banana bread recipes out there which made my task at hand so difficult, and I suppose I’ve been battling that eternal question – does the world need yet another banana bread recipe?
But then I made this banana bread. This recipe has a touch of pizazz, just a little sparkle to catch your eye, and then I hope I can beckon you closer with my wiles and the promise of peanut, caramel and chocolate.
Having given the game away, there’s no need for a drumroll even though I have at last found the banana bread recipe that I genuinely think deserves one. This peanut butter banana bread is not just a solid bet thanks to the addition of everyone’s favourite creamy nut spread, adding salty smoothness to every bite of cake, but it is also flecked with crunchy peanuts and melted caramel and chocolate.
The secret? Snickers bars.
Folded into the banana bread batter are chunks of Snickers, maybe one or two missing because we all need snacks to keep us going, and once baked, the surface of the loaf is speckled with small puddles of oozing caramel chocolate. Cut yourself a slice and you’ll find molten chocolatey pockets and clusters of peanuts to break up the soft crumb.
All those mouth-watering flavours aside, what of this banana bread?
For a cake with one iconic flavour, it’s amazing how many variations you can find. There are banana breads with brown sugars, white sugar, and treacle or syrup like a banana sticky toffee pudding. They can be light and fluffy with cream cheese frosting or spiced, moist and dense with ripe fruit.
This recipe combines brown sugar with white for a paler cake yet is still balanced with caramel notes, plus there’s a dash of vanilla extract. As for the banana, only two are needed, ideally soft and easy to mash.
Here’s a secret to find optimal mashable bananas (the credit for this trick goes entirely to Olivia Potts!):
If you are making banana bread in a hurry, which I’m sure happens more often than we expect, a great option is to keep some unripe bananas in the freezer. To defrost, cover them in boiling water and then peel away their skins to find super soft and creamy banana beneath.
The recipe is very simple. Into the mashed banana goes melted butter, the sugars, vanilla and eggs. Beat merrily, add flour and baking powder, then all those crumbly pieces of Snickers. Pour and scrape it all into a loaf tin, then swirl dollops of creamy peanut butter across the surface. Sprinkle with a crystalline topping of demerara sugar, then slide it into the hot oven for 50 minutes.
After all my procrastination over banana bread, I just had to look at that beautifully crinkly surface, the sugar sparkling like a prom dress, and knew it had been worth the wait.
Peanut butter banana bread with caramel and chocolate
- 2 bananas soft and ready to mash, see notes for a trick
- 125 g unsalted butter melted
- 140 g brown sugar
- 60 g caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 250 g flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3 small Snickers bars (or 1½ normal sized bars)
- 2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
- Demerara sugar to sprinkle
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F and grease and line a 2lb loaf tin.
- Mash the bananas until relatively smooth and pour in the melted butter. Beat to combine then add the sugars, vanilla and eggs. Whisk thoroughly to ensure the batter is well mixed.
- Tip in the flour and baking powder and gently fold together. If the mixture seems a bit thick, feel free to add a splash of milk. Slice the Snickers bars into thin pieces and add to the mixture, folding carefully.
- Pour the banana mixture into the prepared tin and top with the peanut butter – spread the dollops out evenly across the surface. Using a skewer or fork, swirl the peanut butter into the batter and sprinkle with demerara sugar.
- Pop the tin in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Check the cake using a skewer – if liquid batter sticks to the skewer return it to the oven for 5 minutes. You want crumbs on the skewer as it is a soft and moist cake.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool in its tin. Serve in slices, maybe covered in extra peanut butter! Store in a airtight plastic tub.