I saw a photo of a Banana Bread Cobbler in an issue of Southern Living and immediately knew I had to give it a try, since I am a big fan of both cobblers and banana bread. As I read through the recipe, I realized it wasn’t what I expected it to be. I assumed it would be something along the lines of a bread pudding with a streusel on top, using a loaf of banana bread as a base. Instead, this dessert has a cake base that is topped with slices of fresh bananas. The bananas are topped with a streusel and everything is baked until the cobbler is tender and the topping is crunchy.
Over the course of trying the recipe, I made some big changes to the original recipe. I cut down the amount of butter in the recipe by half, used a combination of buttermilk and milk in the banana bread base, and added cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla to spice up the overall flavor and make it more like my favorite banana breads. I also used fewer bananas than the original recipe suggested because too many bananas tend to make this dessert get a little mushy, especially the leftovers a day or two after baking.
So, although it may sound like an unusual combination, this is a delicious dessert. The cake at the bottom is tender and flavorful, and a great backdrop to hold everything together. The streusel topping is delicious and crunchy, and the toasted pecans are a fantastic addition to the dessert, both in terms of flavor and texture. The bananas really stand out, too. This was great on the first day when it was still warm, but tasted just as good as leftovers served at room temperature. I ate mine plain, but I can see how a scoop of ice cream, a bit of hot fudge and some whipped cream could turn this cobbler in to a great base for a riff on a banana split.
Streusel Topped Banana Bread Cobbler
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 medium bananas, sliced in 1/4-inch rounds
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup oats
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease a 9x9inch square baking pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, spices and sugar. Add in melted butter, milk, buttermilk and vanilla and stir to combine. Pour batter into prepared pan. Top with a layer of banana slices (slices should form a single layer over all of the cake batter, you may have a few extra depending on the size of your bananas, so it is fine to overlap a bit).
In a medium bowl, make the streusel. Combine brown sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and oats and whisk until well blended. Stir in melted butter until mixture resembles coarse, wet sand, then stir in the pecans.
Crumble streusel topping evenly over the banana slices.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until streusel is golden brown.
Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.