One of my very favorite smells in the whole world is the smell of a glass of Crown Royal Maple. Whiskey and maple together – it’s absolute heaven. My friend, Randy, set up his own little whiskey tasting for me earlier this year, and I could have easily sat there the entire time just smelling my glass of Crown Maple (and I did.. for a while.. until I drank it). It’s just as good to drink. So because I’m crazy, I bought an entire 1.75 liter bottle of Crown Maple a bit ago while there was a sale on it – you can never have enough maple deliciousness, right?! I also can’t leave well enough alone.. so I had to bake with it. And make my ENTIRE HOUSE smell like mapley whiskey goodness. Oooooh, guys. This stuff is good.
Who loves banana pancakes? Because that’s pretty much why I had to make maple banana bread. It’s like eating a banana pancake drizzled in syrup, but it’s not as messy, and there are crunchy walnuts involved.. all good things. The whiskey doesn’t hurt, either. Pretty much, this is your standard banana bread made 100 times better because of the maple (and the whiskey).
Because I do not like wasting my Crown (Randy assures me that not drinking my Crown is wasting it, but I disagree…), I only used 1/4 cup. Crown Maple is pretty potent maple, so that was plenty. I also added a little maple extract just to be sure there was lots of maple going on… and sweetened it with maple syrup. It ended up being just right. Enough maple flavor to really shine through the banana and nuts without being too overpowering. I didn’t make it overly sweet, either, so it’s not like your drowning in maple syrup sweetness. It’s just right. I also made it whole wheat!
Honestly, I’d say just make this bread just based on the smell alone… I may have to start figuring out how to create myself a Crown Maple air freshener.
What are your favorite smells? Warm baked cookies? Mmm.
- 2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups overripe bananas, mashed (3-4 bananas)
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp maple extract
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp liquid stevia (or 1/2 cup more maple syrup)
- 1/4 cup maple whiskey (or bourbon)
- 1/4 cup milk (I used almond milk)
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped, optional
Preheat the oven to 350ºF and lightly grease 4 mini loaf pans (2 cup capacity) or one standard 9x5 inch loaf pan.
In a small bowl, stir the flour, salt, and baking soda together. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mash the bananas, and add the yogurt and eggs, stirring until well combined. Add the vanilla extract, maple extract, maple syrup, and liquid stevia, stirring until smooth. Add the whiskey and milk, stirring until smooth. Slowly add the flour mixture, and stir until just incorporated. Fold in the walnuts, if using.
Divide the batter evenly between the 4 mini loaf pans and spread evenly with a spatula (or pour batter into one standard loaf pan).
In the mini loaf pans, bake at 350ºF for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
In a standard loaf pan, bake at 350ºF for 65-75 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Allow the loaves to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store leftovers at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
These loaves may be frozen, tightly wrapped, for up to 2 months.