Banana bread is one of those recipes that is a classic just as it is and, while it’s fun to tweak it every once in a while for variety, I find that I always go back to the original. Of course, that was before I tried playing around with coconut in my banana bread. I think I have a new “basic” now.
Coconut is a great inclusion in breads because it is so versatile and adds a great flavor. Shredded coconut contributes a nice texture to the bread and adds some moisture. Unlike other nut additions, coconut seems to blend better into a loaf and seem more like a part of the bread, rather than an “add-in.” Coconut milk is another way to add coconut flavor to a recipe. The flavor of it is much milder than that of shredded coconut, but it has a unique richness that carries through to the finished product. I used both types of coconut in this bread. As a result, the loaf was very moist, with a fantastic flavor and texture. The coconut breaks up the bread a little bit, making it a bit more tender than many banana breads.
Coconut and banana seem to complement each other well and, while they often appear in a sort of “tropical” pairing (cocktails, etc.), I don’t think that this bread has a tropical feel to it at all. It just tastes well put together, like it was meant to me – hence my description of it as a new basic banana bread recipe. I also like the fact that this bread comes together very quickly and dosn’t require the use of an electric mixer.
I used low fat coconut milk and it worked out very well here. You can use the full fat variety or, if you really don’t have any on hand, you can try substituting regular milk or buttermilk. Plain milk or buttermilk will give you a slightly different finished flavor, but both will still work out in the recipe.
Coconut Banana Bread
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed banana (2 med-large)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup shredded coconut
Preheat oven 350F and lightly grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs until well combined, then whisk in the mashed banana, coconut milk, butter and vanilla extract. Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and stir until just combined, making sure no streaks of flour remain. Stir in shredded coconut and pour batter out into prepared baking pan.
Bake for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Turn loaf out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.
Makes 1 loaf.