Being Mrs. Pierce

Life as a wife, hiker, wanna-be chef, book-lover, traveler, and now, mom

Nutella-Swirled Banana Bread April 28, 2014

Filed under: Cooking — skpierce12 @ 7:51 PM
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Over the course of many trips to Menard to visit my in-laws, a certain Nutella cake always seemed to find its way into our dinner conversations. Typically this occurred as the four of us were diving into a delectable dessert lovingly prepared by my in-laws, and we would all start throwing out the names of other favorite desserts and dessert-related memories. The Nutella cake came up every time. This was a cake that my in-laws had made and enjoyed multiple times, but that they had never made and enjoyed with us. Finally, it was decided: next visit, Nutella cake. And so it was that over spring break we four adults made quick work of an absolutely wonderful cake featuring–what else?–Nutella.


The cake was so tasty, in fact, that upon returning home I suddenly had an eye out for any and all recipes with “Nutella” in the title. It did not take long before I stumbled across this Nutella-Swirled Banana Bread recipe found on the blog Pass the Cocoa. It was a guest post done by Stephanie Wise of Girl Versus Dough (whose new e-cookbook, Quick Bread Love, you should definitely check out in the menu to the right). When I found myself one Saturday with four ripe bananas on hand, I decided to make up a double batch of the banana bread.


The recipe does involve multiple steps, but with the help of my KitchenAid stand mixer, I had the batter ready to go fairly quickly. My anticipation ratcheted up as I poured in the Nutella layer and swirled the batter around. Even before baking, this bread looked and smelled amazing.


I baked the loaves about 45 minutes rather than the stated 55-60 minutes, but my oven typically runs hot. At this point, I was too eager to try the bread to wait for the loaves to cool completely so that I could drizzle the melted chocolate on top. I sliced John and myself a piece off the end of one of the loaves while they were still warm from the oven. Even without the chocolate topping, the banana bread easily earned 5 stars. It was moist and full of banana flavor, and the Nutella-swirl layer made this the best banana bread I’ve tried.


After the loaves fully cooled, I did drizzle the melted chocolate on top as directed. After letting it set, I wrapped the uncut loaf in plastic wrap and foil and placed it directly into the freezer. John and I would eat up the cut loaf over the following week, but I had a particular destination in mind for the frozen loaf:  Menard on Easter weekend. What better way to reciprocate the Nutella deliciousness that my in-laws had shared with us on spring break than with a Nutella-flavored baked treat of my own?


Banana-Pecan Bread (New Recipe #64) August 7, 2013

Filed under: Cooking — skpierce12 @ 4:07 PM
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Banana nut bread is a food weakness for me, and unfortunately, it is often loaded with calories and fat. I therefore was thrilled to find a banana nut bread recipe in Ellie Krieger’s Comfort Food Fix cookbook. Ellie often can be counted on to provide healthy-yet-delicious recipes. Considering that I’ve been slightly obsessed with the Comfort Food Fix cookbook for the past week, it was inevitable that I would make a loaf of this bread.


I had already started the recipe when I realized that I only had 3 medium, rather than large, bananas, so I had less than the called-for 1½ cups of mashed banana. This may or may not have had an impact on the final result, in which the bread was slightly dry. I did overcook the bread a smidge. I checked the loaf 45 minutes into its baking time, but I should have done so sooner. The top was a little too brown for my taste, and the edges of the bread were a little harder than I would have liked. However, the inside was still delicious. John, who enjoyed his slices toasted with butter, awarded the recipe 4 stars. I, who ate my slice plain, gave it 3 stars, but I am open to upping my rating in the future when I use the correct amount of banana and do not leave it too long in the oven.


Banana-Pecan Bread

Nonstick cooking spray
1/3 cup pecan pieces
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup plain nonfat yogurt
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 very ripe, large bananas, peeled and mashed (about 1½ cups)

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

2. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until fragrant, about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, yogurt, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk in the bananas. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing just enough to combine them. Stir in the toasted pecans.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then transfer the bread to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: one 1-inch-thick slice). Per serving, 8 PointsPlus.

(If loaf is divided into 10 servings, the PointsPlus value drops to 6 per serving.)