Apricot Banana Bread

Here’s a moist twist on banana bread, with chunks of sweet dried apricot and the added nutrition of bran (but no one will accuse you of serving health food!) Like a lot of quick breads, this one tastes richer after it’s been wrapped and stored for a day. I like to make breads like this ahead of the holidays and freeze them so I have special treats to serve visiting family and friends.

1/3 cup softened butter or margarine
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2-3 medium)
1/4 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. each baking soda and salt
1 cup 100% bran cereal (buds, not flakes)
3/4 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350º. Spray or grease a 9”x5” bread pan.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter or margarine and sugar. Blend in the eggs, and then the mashed bananas and buttermilk or yogurt. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and gradually mix into the batter. Stir in the bran, apricots, and walnuts. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from the pan to a wire rack. Freezes well.

Kitchen Hint: You can make this (or any quick bread recipe) as muffins! Simply spoon the dough into a sprayed muffin pan, each cup about 2/3 full, and bake for about 15 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched in the center.

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