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Gift of the Magi Bread

"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."
  • Total Time
    Prep: 15 min. Bake: 50 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    2 loaves


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large 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 sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup 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 8x4-in. loaf pans. Sprinkle with remaining almonds. Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
Nutrition Facts
1 slice: 159 calories, 7g fat (4g saturated fat), 21mg cholesterol, 120mg sodium, 24g carbohydrate (16g sugars, 1g fiber), 2g protein.

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  • Linda
    Jan 2, 2019

    This is a note for Carol whose bread was unbaked in the middle. I always check the dates on my baking soda before I make a bread. Also, check the date on your eggs. I like someone else's idea of using mini chips too.

  • Carol
    Dec 14, 2017

    I must have done something wrong.. Loved all the ingredients in this recipe. Baked according to time instructed. Toothpick came out clean.. After the bread cooled I notice the middle fell in and the bottom seemed too moist.. I cut it in half to take a look and the whole middle was unbaked.. So put it in the oven again and put foil around the pan to help bake the inside better.. baked for another 15 minutes.. still seemed too moist... tried again for 10 minutes... still came out moist. Not sure if it was from the chocolate chips melting down that made it too moist or what. Any ideas on what I should have done to have it bake better??

  • 2124arizona
    Jun 24, 2017

    This quick bread is moist and flavorful. It is worthy to give as a gift during the holidays!!

  • txsonja
    Dec 20, 2015

    I have made this several times since the recipe first came out in TOH to give as gifts. IT is so good. I use pecans in place of the almonds and mini chips instead of regular size. This is a favorite recipe!

  • delowenstein
    Jun 1, 2013

    I had actually prepared this bread when it first came out for Taste of Home! Instead of dried cherries, I'd used 1/2 cup maraschino cherries, chopped. I also used 1/8 cup of flour to prevent the oranges, dates, dates, chocolate chips,cherries to prevent these ingredients from sinking to the bottom of the cake! Note: I'd greased and floured my pans-I found that even if the recipe doesn't specify to flour a loaf pan or a baking pan, I still flour it because it's easier to remove the bread or cake-I learned that quite some time back!This trick has worked for me! This is an excellent bread to use for the holidays!Dawn E. Lowenstein

  • Mocorbin
    Oct 30, 2012

    I make this in memory of my mom who made it at Christmas time. I believe she got the recipe from the a nun at the Catholic church we went to. She never put in the almonds or dates because her 9 children were very finicky. She would sometimes make 4 mini loaf breads so she could share with our wonderful neighbors in Detroit. My husband likes it without the chocolate chips but I think that's the best part. Enjoy!

  • BubbasMama
    Dec 27, 2010

    I too make this yummy bread every Christmas - it is a family tradition. It is easy to make and has an excellent flavor. I do leave out the nuts as my husband doesn't like them and I have used regular milk chocolate chips which doesn't seem to change the good flavor :)

  • libract
    Dec 5, 2009

    Have been making this for years and am always asked for it from friends at Christmas time. It has become the big favorite from all our friends.