While biking to work this morning, I was thinking about the bananas I had going brown in my kitchen, and I was thinking that I should make some banana bread. My mind then wandered to the strawberries we picked last week, and how I need to use them, too...
Then a wonderful idea dawned on me. Banana SPLIT Bread!
For me, a banana split needs to have banana, vanilla ice cream, strawberries, and chocolate. I know that some people like maraschino cherries, nuts, and the like. You could certainly add these things to the bread, but it might be overkill. You could also add more than one layer of the fillings if you felt like it, or thicker layers... play with it. :)
I took a standard banana bread recipe from King Arthur Flour, and I wanted to use their new Self-Rising Flour. I've been experimenting with it, and I'm a little in love. You can certainly follow the original recipe and use regular or white whole wheat flour and add leaveners.
The hardest part was waiting for it to cool before slicing!
Banana Split Bread
(Modified from King Arthur Flour's Heavenly Healthy Banana Bread)
3-4 medium to large over-ripe bananas (about 1 pound, before peeling)
1/2 c butter, melted
1/2 c brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c maple syrup
2 lg eggs
2 c King Arthur Flour Self-Rising Flour
2 oz cream cheese (I used neufchatel), softened
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c sliced strawberries
2 Tbsp mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 9" x 5" loaf pan.
Mash the bananas, then cream in the butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Stir in the syrup and the eggs. Add the self-rising flour and mix until well combined.
Stir together the cream cheese and the vanilla. Place into a pastry bag with a small hole cut in the tip.
Put half of the banana bread batter into the pan and smooth with a spatula. Pipe a thin line of the cream cheese down the length of the batter in the pan, then follow with a stripe of sliced strawberries, then repeat with another line of cream cheese, followed by a line of mini chocolate chips, and a line of cream cheese. Repeat until you reach the other side of the bread pan. (You may have some of the fillings left over. Do what you will with them - add them on in if you like, or save them for other purposes!)
Top with remaining batter, carefully so as not to disturb the stripes. Smooth the top gently. Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean (except for the cream cheese!). Cool on a wire rack in the pan for 20 minutes, then remove from the pan to cool completely before slicing and enjoying.