Makes two loaves.
1 cup (2 sticks) butter (room temperature)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 very ripe bananas, well mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons buttermilk (can substitute regular milk)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups pecans, whole or chopped (optional)
Pecan Crunch Topping
7 1/2 tablespoons butter
12 tablespoons brown sugar
6 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup pecan pieces, chopped small (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pans.
Cream the butter and sugar together.
Beat eggs in a separate bowl, then add to sugar mixture. Add mashed bananas, vanilla extract and buttermilk. Mix well.
Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Add to banana mixture. Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Fold in pecans if using. Pour into prepared loaf pans. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool an hour or two before adding topping.
To prepare topping, melt butter in saucepan. Add sugar and milk, stirring constantly. Cook until syrupy. Remove syrup from heat and add chopped pecans. Pour syrup over bread and place the pans under the broiler for 3 to 4 minutes until very bubbly, being careful not to burn the topping. Let cool completely before slicing.
NOTE: Walnuts may be substituted for pecans.