There was a real man in Key West who used to sell his homemade banana bread out of his bicycle nightly at the famous sunset celebration on Mallory Docks. I never saw him leave there with any bread leftover. Down in the Caribbean Banana Bread is considered a “man’s bread”. Perhaps the reasons are related to anatomy or maybe it’s the hefty dose of rhum included in the recipe.
Yield: One 4 x 9 inch loaf
1 Cup packed dark brown sugar
½ Cup softened butter
3 Tablespoons dark rhum
1 vanilla bean, scraped or ½ Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 Cups ripe banana, mashed
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground mace
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
2 Cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1-teaspoon baking soda
3 Tablespoons buttermilk
½ Cup chopped bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips
1/3 Cup toasted pecans, chopped
1/3 Cup toasted cashews, chopped
1/3 Cup dried cherries
1/3 Cups dried diced papaya
1 Cup pitted dates, chopped
Prepare a loaf pan by coating it with a small amount of butter and dust with flour. Set aside.
Cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add the eggs one at a time. Mix until fully incorporated. Add the rhum, spices, vanilla and mashed bananas and mix briefly. This may look as if it’s separating but don’t worry the flour will bring it all together.
Combine the salt, baking soda and all-purpose flour.
Alternately add the buttermilk and flour until they are fully incorporated into the dough. Fold in the nuts, the chocolate, and the dried fruits. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake in a 350º oven for ten minutes, then reduce the temperature to 315º and bake for another hour and ten minutes or until the sides of the bread pull away slightly from the sides of the pan or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Serving suggestion: I like to slice this, toast it and serve it ice cream.