"I make this extra-special banana bread only once a year to celebrate Christmas," says Sandra Bonow of Lewiston, Minnesota. "It's loaded with scrumptious ingredients such as coconut, mandarin oranges, dates, cherries, chocolate chips and almonds."
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium)
- 1 can (11 ounces) mandarin oranges, drained
- 1 cup flaked coconut
- 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
- 2/3 cup sliced almonds, divided
- 1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries
- 1/2 cup chopped dates
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with bananas. Stir in the oranges, coconut, chocolate chips, 1/2 cup almonds, cherries and dates.
- Pour into two greased 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans. Sprinkle with remaining almonds. Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Yield: 2 loaves.
Originally published as Gift of the Magi Bread in Taste of Home December/January 2002, p63
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