Sunday, February 12, 2012

Rustic Coconut Banana Bread

As most of you know, I'm not really into baking that much. It is quite an exact science and I'm much happier creating dishes on the fly, tasting as I go and not slavishly measuring every ingredient. I made an exception this weekend when I realised that we had forgotten to eat the bananas that had been sitting in the fruit bowl since the beginning of the week. We had a handful of very ripe bananas that were crying out to be put in some kind of recipe asap. I decided to make banana bread with a couple of my own twists. Having never attempted banana bread in my life, I took a basic recipe and swapped all white flour for a mixture of white and wholemeal flour, as well as adding a little nutmeg and good quality vanilla.

I realised that I also had a pack of threaded, dessicated coconut in the cupboard (originally purchased with the intention of making coconut prawns that have not, as yet eventuated) so I thought I would add the coconut to the banana bread and see how it turned out. I was happy with the result - a home style banana bread that has a rustic, dense texture due to the wholemeal flour. If you wanted a lighter style bread, you could replace the wholemeal component with all white flour. My banana bread is not the light, highly processed style that you will find in cafes, however it has a great robust flavour that is really lovely toasted and served with some salted butter.

Just out of the oven

 The recipe below makes a small sized loaf - if you are using a larger sized loaf pan (similar to the sized loaf you would need to make the banana bread you see in cafes) then do what I did and double the amounts. I actually started with the amounts listed below, but when I looked at the large loaf pan I had chosen, I realised that I would need twice the amount to fill it. If you are using a standard loaf pan, the quantities below should be just right. Remember too that a bigger loaf will mean longer cooking time.

The coconut and banana combination works really well, both in terms of taste and texture. The bread is very moist, with a slightly crunchy outside crust and a sweet coconut aroma that smells just beautiful. I'm certainly not a baker, but I was happy with my first attempt at banana bread.

Coconut Banana Bread

You will need: 1 cup plain white flour, 1 cup wholemeal plain flour, 2/3 cup caster sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1 cup dessicated or threaded coconut, 2 large eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract,3-4 ripe bananas, a few pinches of freshly grated nutmeg.

Method: Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease a loaf tin (or spray it with cooking spray) and line the base of the loaf pan with baking paper.

Mash the bananas well and add the vanilla, nutmeg and the eggs.

In a separate bowl, sift the flours and baking powder. Add the sugar and the coconut and combine well.

Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture into your prepared loaf pan.

Bake for about 60 minutes - the cooking time is going to vary depending on your oven, the sized pan and your ingredients (size of eggs, moisture in the bananas etc) The loaf is cooked when you insert a skewer in the centre and it comes out clean. Your loaf may take a little more or a little less time - just keep an eye on it and do the skewer test.

Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool for 10-15 minutes before turning it out on a wire rack to cool.

Serve as is, or toasted with butter.


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