Grandma’s Banana-Apricot-Cashew Bread

Ask anyone in my office, and they’ll tell you that my grandmother is one of the best bakers around. This greatly endears her to my co-workers, since I often bring in the goodies she so nicely shares with me. (The fact that she taught half of our employees – or their kids – in the 3rd grade is also a large part of the endearment.) This moist, nutty bread went over BIG, and several people asked for the recipe, so here it is, straight from the farmhouse kitchen of Grandma Ruth:

1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs
l teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (3-4 )
l teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup cashews, chopped
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease bottom of loaf pan. Mix sugar and butter in large bowl. Stir in eggs until well blended. Add bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients (except nuts and apricots) just until moistened. Stir in nuts and apricots. Pour into pan. Bake 1 1/4 hours or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool five minutes. Loosen sides of loaf from pan. Remove from pan and cool completely before slicing.