Banana bread is a staple in my baking routine. I always have old good-for-baking bananas stored in the freezer. This recipe was adapted from Southern Living’s Cream Cheese Banana Nut Bread. It passed the co-worker test, in that it was gone by 9 a.m., and they were seen liking streusel topping off their hands!

1 ½ c. all-purpose flour

1 ½ c. whole wheat flour

½ t. baking powder

½ t. baking soda

½ c. butter, softened

8 oz. 1/3 less fat, cream cheese (aka Neuchâtel cheese)

2 c. granulated sugar

2 large eggs

5 medium bananas, mashed

1 c. chopped pecans, toasted

1 t. vanilla extract

Topping:

½ c. packed brown sugar

¾ c. chopped pecans, toasted

1 Tbls. All-purpose flour

½ t. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8”X4” loaf pans, and set aside.

Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda and set aside.

Using an electric mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and cream cheese until creamy. Gradually add the sugar and mix until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until blended. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, slowly, blending until just combined. Add bananas, pecans and vanilla, which can be done by hand.

Divide batter between two pans*.

For the topping: combine all ingredients in a bowl, and mix by hand. Sprinkle evenly over batter in pans. Lightly press the topping into the batter to help it adhere better.

Bake for one hour, or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool breads on wire racks. When cooled, remove from pan. Wrap tightly or store in air tight containers in refrigerator.

*I made this recipe in one 8”X4” loaf pan, and six small loaf pans. The small loaves bake for 25-30 minutes, until wood pick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean.

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