early morning Cinnamon Toffee Banana Bread

April 15, 2014

Cinnamon Toffee Banana Bread | une gamine dans la cuisine

"I love the abstract, delicate, profound, vague, voluptuously wordless sensation
of living ecstatically."

~ Anaïs Nin, from a letter to Henry Miller, in A Literate Passion: Letters of Anaïs Nin and Henry Miller, 1932-1953

This banana bread is my love letter to you. The first loaf fell. Literally. I had everything arranged for a photo shoot; slices splayed out in pseudo-haphazard fashion, errant scatterings of flour, an odd number of eggs peeking around the corners of wrinkled napkins, and a wayward scoop of ground cinnamon...everything was perfectly imperfect. Obviously my straight-laced background board felt left out of the peppered chaos. After one sip of coffee and an accidental nudge on the table with my pointy elbow, the entire scene folded in on itself. I laughed, uncontrollably, amid cracked eggs, a mangled bread loaf, flour-coated jeans & a slimy floor. This, coupled with snow on a Sunday in mid-April, broke the dam that had been held together with celery twine and thread bare hopes of spring. Honestly, I could not stop laughing.

After sitting on the floor in a pile of flour and inhaling a few surviving slices with a cold cup of coffee, I cleaned up the drama and went about making another loaf. Because I know you will be smitten. xo  

Cinnamon Toffee Banana Bread | une gamine dans la cuisine

Really though, this bread was scrumptious and I probably would have made it again anyway. Sometimes just hearing the words 'banana bread,' makes me stifle a yawn. This little gem is different. The pale batter takes on a dark caramel colour as it bakes and the top splits open, creating rivulets of caramelized brown sugar & toffee. Ah, the aroma alone...

If you use a gentle hand when mixing things together, the texture will be akin to a fluffy cake. My first loaf was a bit heftier - closer to traditional banana bread. (Thanks to a logic-depleted mind, my movements were lighter and looser during the second round.) I had a half empty bag of chopped toffee and chunks of dark chocolate waiting to be put to use but feel free to toss in any flits & bits (toasted nuts would be a welcome addition too!). 

This recipe is breezy and comes together in a matter of minutes. If you avoid falling wood boards and have a few slices leftover by day two, the bread can be toasted and smeared, lovingly, with Nutella.

Cinnamon Toffee Banana Bread | une gamine dans la cuisine

Cinnamon Toffee Banana Bread
makes one 8x5-inch loaf

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, tightly packed
2 room temperature eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup half & half cream (or whole milk)
3 very ripe bananas, gently mashed
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped toffee bits
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

Move oven rack to lower third of oven. Preheat to 350 F.

Line an 8x5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, allowing for a 2-inch overhang around the edges. Spray entire pan with cooking spray.

In stand mixer bowl fitted with paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar on med-high speed until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and cream; beat to combine.

Remove paddle attachment and switch over to a large rubber spatula. Stir mashed bananas into batter till combined. Add flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Fold/stir dry ingredients into batter until just combined (try not to overmix). Finally, add chopped toffee and chocolate and fold till evenly dispersed.

Scrape batter into prepared pan, using a small offset spatula to spread the top into an even layer.

Bake 55-65 minutes, or until bread is dark brown and a thin tester inserted into center comes out clean. Remove pan from oven and place onto a cooling rack. Cool for about 20 minutes before using the parchment overhand to lift bread out of the pan. Cool completely before slicing.

adapted from the kitchn


  1. You had me at "rivulets of caramelized brown sugar & toffee"! And you're so right, sometimes all we can do is laugh - it sure beats tears ;). Now if only we could have coffee over your bread and my twists!

  2. A delicious breakfast treat! With banana cakes, it's either hit or miss as not all recipes are equally great...



  3. I love that you could laugh...the same happened to me while shooting donuts...those dreaded background boards! I wish I could say I laughed...I practically cried! This bread is so gorgeous and really, as soon as I read "toffee"...hmmm. :)

  4. I'm clumsy by nature so I'm prone to accidents in the kitchen and when I take photographs. Your cake turned out gorgeous and with such delicious flavors, toffee in it is the best. Also, you write so well, it really takes me on a journey!

  5. Yes toffee IN banana bread. I can only imagine how good this tastes, toasted with a hot, dark espresso!

  6. Yep, I've been there before! Too many times to count in fact. Better to laugh than cry! I adore the additions to this banana bread! Looks and sounds divine!

  7. You're a better woman than I am! I'd have done a bit of cursing while I was inhaling those surviving slices! It's nice to get a glimpse into the real (wonderfully imperfect)life behind those stunning pics of yours :)

  8. Enjoy the way you write, each post is a short story. Beautiful pics!

  9. I'm always disappointed in banana bread - it always has less flavour than I hope for - but I know better than to doubt your recipes! Can't wait to try this the next time I have ripe bananas on hand.

  10. i had a similar situation with my hand too..i just tipped over the whole thing. I was just glad my plates survived. these bread look so good, all i need is a strong coffee now.

  11. I am SO sorry about your photo shoot-gone bad, but LOLz!!! Been there, done that... I have laughed and cried at the same time. :-D

    But, that banana bread looks magical and flawless. And, as always, beautiful!

  12. Oh yeah this is beyond gorgeous!!! I need this in my life.

  13. Oh my gosh, hahaha! I'm so accident-prone that I could so see this happening to me. I'll try to remember to take your approach and laugh instead of scream, stomp and throw a tantrum. But the thought of comforting myself with this banana bread definitely helps... I can only imagine how delicious this must be. Love that you added cinnamon and toffee -- the best additions to banana bread I've heard in forever! Step aside, chocolate chip.

  14. Oh no!!!!! Fallen cakes are a tragedy. I admire your ability to laugh at it though...sitting on the floor in a pile of flour eating banana bread does sound nice in a way :) (As long as someone else does the cleanup!) This banana bread just looks and sounds absolutely magical! So glad you make the second loaf to share with us :)

  15. whoa i haven;t been here in a while and so much as changed, i love your photos!

  16. Despite all the troubles, this is one amazing loaf of goodness. I can only imagine how divine it would be with a piping hot cup of coffee!

  17. incidental eggshells make the best funfettis in the mornings... just in case you have another perfectly imperfect accident - pictures, or it didn't happen. ;)

  18. I hate when my setup collapses! Though, an excuse to make (and eat) another loaf of this banana bread doesn't sound so bad:-)

  19. so sorry to hear about the 'accident' but really appreciate u making another loaf and sharing it here! I need a good dose of banana bread, anytime :-)

  20. your dedication knows no bounds -- a love letter in the form of banana bread, twice! sweet girl.

    i spy .. polish pottery? your flour container looks very much like a tea set gift i received years ago, purchased from a pottery store originating from poland...

  21. i love your response - laughter is really the only thing you can do sometimes! this bread sounds absolutely divine and I would do anything to have a piece right now!

  22. Such a gorgeously colored loaf! So moist!

  23. We all have those days when things are falling out of hands (I even believe to hold a record here), but smile is the best way to go about it. This glorious delight with nutella would be bliss :)

  24. Oh my gosh, now you've given me a total craving for these!

  25. I have made this twice now for pot luck and gotten rave reviews each time. Thanks for the recipe.

  26. @Sarah: You've made this twice already! That's wonderful!! Thanks for letting me know it's loved. :)

  27. This sounds lovely. And quite easy to make, thanks for posting this recipe.



Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie


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