Hurray! The Secret Recipe Club is back!
If you’re not familiar with the concept, here’s the Coles Notes version – every month, a group of SRC members are given a secret blogger buddy, and are responsible for making and photographing and documenting one of their recipes. Then we all reveal those recipes at the same time on the same day, and have a grand ol’ time checking out the great finds.
It’s always exciting to see who my blogger buddy is each month, and I’m particularly excited this time around because I was assigned to Jen of Beantown Baker.
Jen has been blogging for nearly 5 years and posts as often as twice a week… as you can imagine, there is no lack of recipes to choose from! True to her blog’s name, she is indeed from Boston, and mostly blogs about baked goods and sweet treats, though she does have quite a few savoury recipes, too.
After spending a while poking around (and making myself very hungry in the process), I realised I kept returning to her Cinnamon Banana Bread. I can never pass up a good banana bread recipe, and this one looked positively irresistible… honestly, who could look at that crackled top full of gooey cinnamon goodness and not get an instant craving? Not me, that’s for sure.
The only thing that stood between me and banana bread heaven was those darned cinnamon chips.
You see, Hershey’s doesn’t seem to think we Canadians are ready for the awesomeness that is cinnamon chips. We can get dark chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, peanut butter chips, toffee chips and even mint-chocolate chips, but much to my dismay, there is not a single bag of cinnamon chips to be found anywhere in the city of Toronto. I take comfort in the fact that at least we get Coffee Crisp chocolate bars, ketchup chips and Habitant pea soup in exchange.
So, rather than give up and make something totally different, I decided to make the banana bread using the next best thing… toffee chips!
I did make a few other changes to Jen’s recipe – I swapped out the old-fashioned oats for a smaller amount of quick-cook oats because I wanted a less oatmealy sort of texture, added a 1/4 cup Greek yogurt to make it extra-moist, doubled the cinnamon to make up for the lack of cinnamon chips, and stirred in some chopped pecans for crunch. Of course, my changes mean this recipe isn’t quite as healthy as Jen’s version, but let’s just cut slightly thinner slices and pretend that makes up for it. :)
The end result is a tender, moist banana bread with a noticeable cinnamon flavour that’s dotted with melted toffee and crisp pecans. It’s so darned good that I feel slightly guilty about eating it for breakfast, because it tastes like it ought to be a dessert.
Then again, nothing’s stopping me from having it for breakfast AND dessert. Right?
- 1½ cup flour
- ½ cup quick-cook rolled oats, uncooked
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- 3 very ripe bananas, mashed (~1 cup)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp walnut or canola oil
- ½ cup chopped pecans (optional)
- ½ cup toffee bits (ie. Skor or Heath chips)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a loaf pan and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.
- In a second mixing bowl, mix together the banana, yogurt, oil and eggs until smooth. Add to the dry ingredients, and stir until the batter just barely comes together. Fold in the pecans, if using, and toffee chips. Pour batter into prepared pan.
- In a small bowl, stir together the topping ingredients, and sprinkle evenly onto the batter.
- Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the top of the loaf feels firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out with a moist crumb. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then unmold and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.