this next recipe is a real crowd pleaser and is my favorite version of banana bread. i first tried the recipe from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. His addition of grated coconut adds a unique spin to this extremely popular quickbread. i also cut down on the oil, white flour, and sugar to make it less of an indulgence, but just as tasty. it is also a great recipe to make in any season because the basic ingredients are available year round. this coconut banana bread is a staple recipe for me, and it is a wonderful one to share as well!
first you want to start with large, ripe bananas (for a banana snob like me, this means as soon as they get black spots. but, the longer you wait the more banana flavor you will have in your final loaf). mash them up until pretty smooth and set them to the side. its ok if you still have lumps. prep your choice of either a 9x5" or 13x5" pan (i used the latter) with a quick grease of butter and liner of parchment paper.
tip: my lovely grandma always uses the wrapper from the butter she uses in a recipe to swipe across the pan, so feel free to just use the wrapper from the 1/2 stick we use in the next part!
combine your whole wheat flour and ap flour (if using) with the baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a medium sized bowl. set this bowl aside for later. in a new large bowl, beat together your sugar and butter until fluffy.
add eggs and beat until combined. then add your mashed bananas, applesauce, and vanilla extract. add the dry ingredients (the bowl you set aside) into this mixture and stir it gently until all of the flour is combined, and you don't see traces of flour when you stir. it will be a pretty thick batter.
stir in the 1/2 cup coconut. i like to use coconut that is unsweetened and finely grated, but i have also used sweetened, more coarsely grated coconut when that is all i had on hand. pour the batter into your prepped loaf pan and sprinkle the top with cinnamon and broken up walnuts.
the original recipe adds the walnuts into the bread, but i like adding them on top, as they toast up nicely and provide both looks and texture to the finished product.
bake the loaf for 35-45 minutes if using the 13x5 pan, or slightly longer (45-60 min) is using a 9x5 pan. when the banana bread is done, the top will be golden brown, the walnuts will be toasted, and if you stick a toothpick in the center, it will come out clean or with a few small crumbs.
remove from the oven and let cool down until the pan is cool to the touch. once you can flip the bread out of the pan, let the loaf rest on a rack until completely cool.
once it is completely cool, it will be easiest to slice. now you are ready to enjoy the end product of your baking skills!
based on banana bread by Mark Bittman
coconut banana bread with whole wheat flour
makes 1 9x5" pan or 1 13x5" pan (i use this one)
4 tbsp butter (1/2 stick), softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (or you can use all white whole wheat flour)
1 tsp salt
1.5 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp cinnamon, plus some for sprinkling
1/2 cup grated unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup walnuts, broken up into pieces
1. preheat oven to 350 degrees F. butter your loaf pan (recommended sizes above) and line with parchment, if desired.
2. mix together your dry ingredients (flours, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon) in a medium bowl. set aside.
3. cream together the soft butter and sugar until fluffy. beat in the eggs until combined. add the vanilla extract, bananas, and applesauce and mix until combined.
4. add the dry ingredients to your wet mixture, and stir them together gently until combined and no traces of flour show. stir in the grated coconut.
5. pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan and smooth it into an even layer with a silicone spatula. sprinkle the top with more cinnamon and the 1/2 cup walnuts, gently pressing them into the batter.
6. bake for 45 to 60 minutes in a 9x5" pan or 35-45 minutes in a 13x5" pan. look for a lightly browned top and stick a toothpick into the middle to see if it comes out clean or with a few dry crumbs.
7. let the bread cool in the pan until it is only warm to the touch, then let it cool the rest of the way on a wire rack. once it is completely cool, you can slice the bread and eat! or store it whole, wrapped in saran wrap, for later.