~ Banana Coconut Bread ~
In the mood for a pre-packaged healthy snack? Or how about a slice of quick bread to accompany a cup of tea? Look no further than the ubiquitous banana. All zipped up in its own skin (which doubles as a nifty handle) the banana is transportable as a nutritious snack on the go – naturally sweet and rich in potassium, magnesium, B and C vitamins. As bananas ripen, they soften and their sugar content and starch increases. At this point, blend the fruit into a wholesome sweet bread or cake – or pop them un-peeled into the freezer to save for the proverbial rainy day when baking is requisite.
I prefer to eat bananas just under-ripe, while they are still firm and not overwhelmingly sweet. When they reach the mushy tipping point I toss them into a banana bread. While the ratios for my banana bread remain the same, I sometimes fiddle with the ingredients. This is a heartier recipe with a blend of whole wheat, all-purpose flour and a dusting of wheat germ. Coconut flakes add texture and a tropical brightness. If I were feeling naughtier, I would have added chocolate chunks, but somehow I managed to behave myself. How do you prefer your bananas?
Banana Coconut Bread
Makes one large loaf.
3 large very ripe bananas
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut, plus extra for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 350 F. (180 C.) Butter a loaf pan, line with parchment, and butter the parchment.
Mix the bananas and sugar in a bowl of an electric mixer until smooth. Mix in the eggs until blended, and then mix in the oil, vanilla, and cinnamon until just combined.
Whisk the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. Add to the mixing bowl and mix on low speed until just combined. Stir in the coconut.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle additional coconut on the top. Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes clean, about 55 minutes. If the cake is golden brown on top and still not entirely cooked, loosely cover with foil and continue to bake, checking every 10 minutes until done.
Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes and then remove the bread from loaf pan and cool completely.