Banana Bread with Coconut and Pecans

P1010751Banana bread. Man, some people really go wild over the stuff, and for good reason. It’s a great way to use up some old bananas, you can adapt it to your tastes and since it has fruit and it’s called “bread” and not “cake”, you can tell yourself it’s healthy while you cut off an extra large piece do down with your coffee. One thing that has always bothered me though, those ripe bananas? We pretty much never have them. Bananas go fast around here. I have on more than one occassion found myself wanting to make a banana bread, only to find we are once again out. What to do? Roast the bananas of course! It’s an extra step that really takes the banana flavor to the next level. Plus, you can make it as soon as you bring your bananas home and cling to the desperate hope that they’ll be brown enough before they’re gobbled up.P1010745

I’ve been on a huge coconut kick lately. I used to hate the stuff, but I think that has to do with the unfortunate trend of adorning carrot cake with grated coconut for no good reason. I say no good reason because I never found it to enhance the cake, and as a kid, I always found the stuff scratchy on my throat which just ruined the whole experience. Fast forward a good 20+ years and I’ve come around to the stuff. I like in in things, where it can lend a hint of nuttiness and exotic aroma without overpowering the whole piece. Plus, it’s supposed to be one of those new hot foods that is super good for you. I’m no expert, but regardless of the potential health benefits, I can tell you that the addition to this banana bread gave it a subtle dimension of flavor that I’m really enjoying with my afternoon tea.¬†P1010743

I saw this recipe over on the Shutterbean recently. Tracy uses olive oil as I have done here, but I think you could probably try it with coconut oil instead. Also, making this has highlighted the fact that my loaf pan (10″) is waaay to big and I should invest in an 8″-9″ one instead.P1010746

Banana Bread with Coconut and Pecans (adapted from Shutterbean)

3 medium bananas

3/4C all-purpose flour

1/2C whole wheat flour

1/4C flax seed meal

1/4C shredded coconut

1t baking powder

1t fine grain sea salt

1/2t ground cinnamon

1/2C olive oil

1/2C light brown sugar (lightly packed)

1/4C maple syrup

1 1/2t vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1/2C Greek yogurt

1/2C toasted pecans, chopped (optional)

To roast the bananas:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1) Place bananas on rimmed baking sheet, and roast 20-25 minutes, until black

2) Set aside on cooling rack and allow to cool slightly

To make the bread:

Keep oven preheated at 350 degrees.

Butter an 8″ x 4″ loaf pan and place a piece of parchment inside, slightly hanging over the side so you can easily remove the bread.

1) In a medium bowl whisk together flours, flaxseed meal, coconut, salt, baking powder, and spices.

2) In a large bowl whisk together the olive oil and brown sugar until smooth. Add the maple syrup and vanilla, whisk to combine. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking to combine after each addition.

3) By now your bananas should be cool enough to handle (too hot and they’ll cook the eggs when combined). Remove the bananas from their skins and mash in a small bowl. Mix the bananas and yogurt with the rest of the dry ingredients.

4) Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until combined. Fold in the nuts if using. Batter will be slightly lumpy.

5) Spread batter evenly into prepared loaf pan and bake approximately 45-60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan and then remove using the parchment handles.

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