1/2 cup Unsalted Butter -- softened
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
2 fresh Eggs -- beaten
1/2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
2 Melissa’s Vanilla Beans
2 medium ripe Bananas -- mashed
1 cup Banana Squash -- grated
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
2 packages Melissa’s Dried Strawberries
Black and orange ready-to-use icing tubes, for decorating.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
In a Kitchen-Aid, cream butter with sugars. Blend in the eggs, vanilla extract and the pulp and beans from the vanilla bean pods. Discard the pods. Next add the bananas and grated squash. In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients except the strawberries and slowly add to the mixer. Dust the strawberries with a little flour and chop them. The flour helps with the stickiness and helps suspend the strawberries in the bread while baking.
Fold the dried strawberries into the batter and pour into a greased 9x5 inch loaf pan. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
To customize your banana bread for Halloween, cut the loaf into thick slices, cut off sides to create a gravestone shape, using orange and black icing and a pastry bag; carefully add your own unique tombstone header to each gravestone for a fun, delicious treat.