recipe makeover: coconut banana loaf + muffins

Believe me when I say that I’ve made this recipe more times than I’d care to admit. From nutella swirled in to streaks of dark chocolate to a smattering of pistachios, this banana bread has experienced more transformations than Madonna in the 1990s. And after I spent over a month free of dairy, white flour and white sugar, I’ve turned to my mainstays with a fresh point of view. There were many unfortunate incidents and horrific oven catastrophes (that might resemble a donut, but it tastes more like quinoa and cardboard!), and what this taught me is that one tinkers with recipes they can do in their sleep. One makes revisions and revisions and revisions on what is familiar.

Since I can bake this coconut banana loaf in my sleep, I decided to make some virtuous swaps. Instead of vegetable oil, I used coconut, and although I’m clearly not saving any fat, I’m acquiring a considerable amount of flavor and a more healthful oil. A cup of the white flour has been replaced by whole wheat pastry flour, almond for buttermilk, and the dreaded sugar has been swapped for a heart-healthy coconut palm sugar. By no means is this loaf reduced fat, but you won’t go into sugar shock eating it — I guarantee you.

2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups coconut palm sugar
1 cup coconut oil (liquid form. You can melt and cool the coconut oil that comes in a jar)
2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups ripe mashed banana (about 3 medium)
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup almond milk
Coconut non-stick cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 1 8×4 inch loaf pan, and one muffin tin (12 muffins) with cooking spray; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, and oil on medium-low speed until combined. Beat in the flour mixture. Add the vanilla, banana, coconut, and almond milk, and beat just to combine.

Fill the 8X4 pan and muffin pan three-quarters; smooth with an offset spatula. Bake the 8X4 loaf for 40-45 minutes (start checking after 35 minutes) and the muffins for 25-30 minutes, rotating both pans mid-way through their respective cooking processes. This may sound confusing, but two pans in the oven, one is in for a longer length of time.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Remove loaves from pans and let cool completely. Bread can be kept at room temperature, wrapped well in plastic, for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to 3 months.

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