I have an identical recipe to this one which comes from the December/January, 2002 issue of Taste of Home, except I call it "Wonderful Christmas Bread." I have been making this bread for God knows how long. The aroma of this bread fills the whole house. This loaf is full of wonderful flavors that compliment each other. It is very delicious and has an excellent texture. I make this during the Christmas holiday to give out as gifts. My family and friends enjoy this bread and look forward to my making it every Christmas. Give it a try!
1/2 cup softened sweet butter (do not substitute)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 medium or 3 small)
1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
1 cup coconut
1 cup semisweet mini-chocolate chips
2/3 cup sliced almonds, divided
1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries
(I love cherries and always add more)
1/2 cup chopped dates
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 loaf pans and set aside.
In a mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract (I sometimes use coconut or pineapple extract for extra flavor).
Combine flour, baking soda and salt and add to the creamed butter mixture alternately with the bananas. Stir in mandarin oranges, coconut, mini-chocolate chips, 1/2 cup almonds, cherries and dates; mix well to combine.
Pour into prepared loaf pans. Sprinkle with remaining almonds (I like more almonds on my bread). Bake 50 to 55 minutes (45 minutes is what I bake it at; it will depend on your oven) or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and cool 10 to 15 minutes on a wire rack before removing from pans. Cool completely.