During the Christmas season, this sweet bread is a great treat to make for and with family members. It’s also fun to make to celebrate the arrival of the Three Kings on the feast of the Epiphany on Jan. 6. Lighter than a fruitcake, it’s chock full of goodies everyone loves, such as cherries, oranges and chocolate. This recipe makes two loaves.
½ cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1 can (11 oz.) mandarin oranges, drained
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
2/3 cup sliced almonds
½ cup chopped maraschino cherries
½ cup chopped dates
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
Combine flour, baking soda, and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with bananas. Stir in oranges, coconut, chocolate chips, ½ cup almonds, cherries and dates.
Pour into two greased 8X4X2 loaf pans. Sprinkle with remaining almonds.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.