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Spiced Butterscotch & Black Walnut Banana Bread

This month I was assigned to Manu’s Menu for the Secret Recipe Club. Manuela is an Italian married to an Indian, living in Australia with her family, so her blog is a smorgasbord of delicious international recipes, with the majority being delicious, authentic Italian food. She has recipes for many things on my 40 by 40 list, like Lamingtons, croissants, biscotti/Cantucci, & risotto. And what did I do? I’m so predictable. I went for the banana bread because as you know, I have an obsession and I seem to always have overripe bananas on hand. I may have not checked anything off my bucket list of recipes to make, but we’re enjoying some really delicious banana bread in the mean time, so that makes up for it. :)

I took Manu’s recipe for the bread and kicked it up a notch, just on a whim that started because of the butterscotch chips sitting on my desk when I was reading her recipe. We really loved the combination of oozing butterscotch, black walnuts, and subtle spices in a loaf rich in banana flavor.  I went ahead and used the butter called for but next time will try oil as I just really prefer the soft & silky texture that oil gives to quick breads. If only oil had all the delicious flavor as butter!

This was a wonderful loaf and I thank you, Manuela for helping me create it. Buon appetito!

Spiced Butterscotch & Black Walnut Banana Bread

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

2 cups (8 ½ oz / 245 g) all-purpose flour
¾ cup (5 ½ oz / 150 g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cloves
2 eggs
½ cup (4 oz / 113 g) butter, melted
3 large (or 4 small) overripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup (2 ½ oz / 60 g) toasted black walnuts, chopped
½ cup (3 ½ oz / 94 g) butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9×5 loaf pan and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, butter, bananas, and vanilla. Stir together until just moistened, then add the walnuts and butterscotch chips. Stir together until just combined and spread into prepared loaf pan. Bake for about an hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Remove from pan and allow to cool on a wire rack. Store tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.

Recipe source: adapted from Manu’s Menu

Caramel Nut Crunch

My friend, Teri, is one of the best cooks I know and, lucky for me (and you!) she’s always willing to share her fabulous recipes.

This sweet & nutty Chex mix is a delightful change from the usual party mix that abounds during the holidays and not only makes great party food, but wonderful gifts as well.

Caramel Nut Crunch

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup dark corn syrup (light will work if you don’t have dark)
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 cup Chex cereals (I used 2 cups of each kind)
1 cup pecan halves,walnut halves or peanuts (I used mixed nuts)
1 cup slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 325. Butter a jelly roll pan, 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 1 inch. Put cereal and nuts into a large bowl and set aside. Heat brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, pour over cereal and nuts and stir, stir, stir until well coated. Spread in prepared pan & bake 15 min. Cool until slightly firm, 5-7 min; loosen w/metal spatula. Let stand until firm, about 1 hr.and break apart. Store in covered container. Makes about 8 c snack.

Recipe source Teri B.

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