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The fruits found in the warm Caribbean countries are used in this bread. This sweet, flavorful loaf need not be served just for breakfast or snacks, but as an accompaniment to soups and stews.

1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 egg, well beaten, at room temperature
1/4 c. Jamaican rum
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour, unsifted
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. grated nutmeg
1-1/4 c. mashed, very ripe bananas
1/2 c. coarsely chopped walnuts
1/2 c. white seedless raisins (optional)
1/2 c. fresh, shredded coconut (optional)

Cream butter and sugar together. Beat in the egg until light and fluffy. Stir in rum and vanilla. Sift all dry ingredients together. Add to the butter-sugar mixture, alternately with the mashed bananas, mixing well after each addition. Fold in the nuts and either coconut or raisins. Pour into a well-buttered and floured loaf pan and spread batter evenly.

Bake in a preheated 350F oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the bread shrinks from the sides of the pan and a straw inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool for about 30 minutes in the pan, then unmold and completely cool on a rack. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or waxed paper and foil. Serve at room temperature.

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