Coconut Banana Bread

Coconut Banana Bread 4

I’ve been on a quick bread binge lately! I apologize to the quick bread haters out there (do those people exist?), but this is my third bread recipe in a row.  I’ve been feeling a bit lazy when it comes to baking and I just love how easy it is to just whip up a simple batter and dump it all into one pan.  This week, the thought of frosting a messy cake or spooning cookie dough onto a sheet made me shudder, so this coconut banana bread is the result of a compromise between my winter blah’s and my constant need for baked goods around the house.

Maybe some of you remember the last banana bread I made.  “America’s Test Kitchen Banana Bread”… supposedly the best recipe out there? I disagreed. It was a little too plain for me.  I usually need something a bit more special to please my palate– this is the winning recipe right here!  Coconut banana bread is the moistest, most perfect banana bread I’ve had yet.  Yesterday, I tried a slice that was still a bit warm from the oven– it was delightful.  The crunchy outer crust encases a soft, moist and perfectly sweet interior that is laced with bits of sweet coconut flakes.  This morning I couldn’t even stop myself from sneaking half a slice before my breakfast.  Enjoy!

Coconut Banana Bread
Makes one 9×5 loaf

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup melted organic virgin coconut oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup yogurt (I used SO Delicious Vanilla-Flavored Coconut Milk Yogurt)
1 tsp almond extract
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp sweetened flaked coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 x 5″ loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Add the coconut oil, sugar, eggs, yogurt, almond extract, vanilla extract, and 1/2 cup coconut. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined.

Sprinkle 2 Tbsp shredded coconut into the bottom of the greased loaf pan. Transfer the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 70-80 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Recipe from Culinary Adventures in the Kitchen

Coconut Banana Bread 3

Banana Cranberry Breakfast Bread

Banana Cranberry Breakfast Bread 1

After all the Christmas treats I thought it was time for a “healthier” snack.  I also needed to get rid of some grossly black bananas and the cranberries that have been sitting in my freezer since October.

I’m proud of this recipe. I usually am not able to combine ingredients in a way that produces edible food– I’m a recipe follower– but this time I remembered some of my mom’s tips about health-i-fying recipes and actually made something tasty.

The best part is, it’s not too bad for you, so you don’t even have to feel guilty about eating it for breakfast.

Banana Cranberry Breakfast Bread
Makes one 9×5 loaf

1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries**
1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (can sub all-purpose or whole wheat, but the texture will be slightly different)
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs, room temperature
1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 medium)

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Grease and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan.  In a medium bowl, mix cranberries in flour, oats, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt.  Set aside

In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugars until light-colored and fluffy.  Add applesauce and blend.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Stir in mashed banana.  Add cranberry/flour mixture to shortening/sugar mixture and stir until just combined.  Spoon batter into prepared pan

Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the loaf. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

**TIP: Any berry can be subbed in here! I imagine apple, peaches and mango would be great too.  Let me know in the comments how your experiments go.**

My recipe, inspired by Allrecipes

Banana Cranberry Breakfast Bread 3

America’s Test Kitchen Banana Bread

I saw this on Tastespotting.  They got it from a book that claims this to be the best banana bread recipe out there.

Obviously, I had to try it.

It ended up being normal banana bread.

There is nothing wrong with it at all– it’s perfectly moist, chewy (but still tender), a tad sweet and could please even the most selective palates.  With that said, baking “normal” things is not really part of my routine; I would have much preferred to throw a handful of cranberries into the batter and drizzle the top with an earl grey icing or almond streusel.

But a learning student must always start with the basics, right?  Right.   So for now, here is a great recipe for those who prefer to play things on the safe side … but for everyone else, I promise the next recipe will have a little more pizzazz.

America’s Test Kitchen Banana Bread
Makes 1 9×5 loaf

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon table salt
3 very ripe bananas, mashed (about 1½ cups)
¼ cup plain yogurt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1¼ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped coarse (optional, I excluded these)

Adjust a rack to the lower-middle position of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan; set aside.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl; set aside.

Mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter, and vanilla together with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl. Lightly fold the banana mixture into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combined and the batter looks thick and chunky. Fold in the walnuts. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the surface with the spatula.

Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe from The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook

Carrot Cranberry Muffins

No, this is not a pumpkin recipe (as promised in my last post), but in my opinion, carrot cranberry muffins totally encompass the essence of fall and all of its hearty goodness.  Fall cuisine, if i may, is entirely about the stick-to-your-bones, curl-up-next-to-the-fireplace feelings that accompany each luxurious bite you take.  Some of my usual favorites are my mom’s beef and potato stew and hot crusty breads.   And from now on, my fall diet will also include carrot cranberry muffins.

These  muffins are jam packed with carrots, banana, coconut, cranberries and pumpkin seeds .  How could these not be the perfect fall treat?  Pop one in the microwave for 10 seconds, top with a little jam or pat of butter and scarf it down (I mean, take small dainty bites and enjoy your muffin like a lady…? Ha.).   Fall perfection.

Carrot Cranberry Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon course salt
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup shredded coconut
3 tablespoons vegetable oil (I like the Smart Balance oil)
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
4 medium carrots, shredded
1 medium ripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg and salt. Stir in the oats, cranberries and coconut. In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients.

Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and add the wet mixture. Stir until just combined.

Fill your muffin cups, either lined with paper cups or sprayed with cooking spray, with 1/4 cup of the batter and sprinkle with additional pumpkin seeds. Bake at 400°F for about 20-25 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart 

Banana Crumb Snack Cake

I can’t stop baking. My housemate had overripe bananas… so he asked me if I wanted them for baking.  How could I say no?  Food should never be wasted.

Instead of the usual loaf bread I wanted to try something a little bit different… this may be my favorite way to use up old bananas yet!  There is plenty of sugar and butter to outshine the healthy addition of the banana, but that aside this is a must try recipe.  My house devoured a whole pan in just a few hours… so you might want to double this one!

Banana Crumb Snack Cake
Makes 1 8×8 square cake

Streusel:
6 TBSP all-purpose flour
6 TBSP firmly packed brown sugar
3 TBSP unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. freshly-grated nutmeg

Cake:
1 1/3 c. cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly-grated nutmeg
3 very ripe/overripe bananas (about 1 c.)
3 TBSP buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1 large egg

To make the streusel, in a small bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg with your fingertips until the mixture resembles lumpy sand.  Refrigerate until needed.

Place a rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour an 8×8 pan or line with parchment and spray.  In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl, mash bananas with a fork.  Add in buttermilk and canilla and stir to combine.  Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl with a hand mixer) cream together butter and sugar on medium-low speed until fluffy, 2-3 minutes.   Add the egg and beat until thoroughly completely incorporated.  Add the banana mixture (The batter may appear curdled for a moment, but will come back together with the dry ingredients.) and beat to combine.  Reduce the mixer to low and gradually add the flour mixture in two additions, beating just until incorporated.  Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the top.  Bake the cake until it springs back when gently pressed in the center and a round wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35-38 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan completely before cutting and serving.  Will keep, tightly covered on the counter or in the refrigerator, up to 3 days.  Serves 9.
Recipe from Apple A Day

Zucchini Banana Bread

After all the cupcakes and cookies these past few weeks, I thought it was time for something a little lighter.  I was very happy with this simple bread- it could easily be eaten for breakfast, but it is sweet enough to satisfy my sweet tooth as a dessert too! You can make this healthier by substituting a half of the oil with applesauce and a quarter of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour.

Zucchini Banana Bread
Makes 1 9×5 loaf

1 medium zucchini, shredded, moisture squeezed out
1 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 to 1 c sugar (depending on how sweet you like your bread)
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 large or 2 small overripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 9×5 loaf pan and line with parchment paper.  In a medium bowl, whisk flour and baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt.  In another bowl, combine sugar, eggs and oil and beat on high speed with a handheld until creamy and light.  Mix in mashed bananas and vanilla and beat until combined.  Stir in dry ingredients until incorporated and then stir in zucchini.  Pour batter into pan and bake for about one hour.

Recipe from Mehan’s Kitchen

Vegan Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

I am officially in panic mode.  My mom emailed me a few days ago and said “OMG.  There is less than a month until we go to Singapore.  I need to lose four pounds– I gain weight every time I go home!”  I looked at my calendar, and sure enough, our flight is in less than 3 weeks.
My mom, brother and I go to Singapore every year or so.  My mother is a native Singaporean, and now that my grandparents are getting older, we’ve been much better about visiting on a regular basis.  I love Singapore … it’s steaming hot, bustling, and really different from my hometown.  The food is definitely the best part (okay, and the shopping too), and my mom and I have been known to gorge on durian, noodle soups, dim sum, roti pratha, and my mom’s favorite kueh.   My Singaporean family also tends to express their love through food- so during our visits we are always meeting relatives for lunch, dinner, supper, tea, etc..  That is really great for my taste buds and family bonding and all… but not so great on my waistline!  So, after reading my mom’s email, panic mode has indeed ensued.
So, here is my LAST dessert recipe until I leave for Singapore.  Seriously. The last.  My posts for the next few weeks will be all salads and oatmeal with fruit and lettuce wraps.  I can do this, right? Right.
This cake was surprising.  I actually decided to make this 100% vegan and used flax meal instead of the egg and it is delightful.  The peanut butter frosting is creamy and decadent and I doubt I will ever use another peanut frosting again.
I ate a slice of this for breakfast, but you could eat it as a snack, with tea or coffee or as dessert after dinner.  Now who wants a slice? Seriously… I gotta give this thing away before I ruin my Singapore diet.
Vegan Banana Cake
Makes one 9″ round or 9×9″ square cake

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup banana puree
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup water
4 teaspoons flax (can substitute 1 egg for non-vegan)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, sift the flour, powder, soda, salt (and flax, if using).
In a smaller bowl, combine sugar, maple syrup, banana puree, oil, water, and egg.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Pour into a greased 9×9 baking dish (round or square). Bake for 20-24 minutes or until knife inserted comes out mostly clean.

Recipe from Pinch of Yum

Vegan Peanut Butter Frosting (I kid you not, the best peanut frosting in the entire world)

1/4 cup margarine, softened
2 tablespoons shortening
1/3 cup creamy natural peanut butter
1 tablespoon barley malt syrup or molasses, optional
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 to 2 tablespoons rice milk or soy milk

Cream together the margarine and shortening at medium speed until smooth. Add peanut butter, barley malt syrup/molasses, and vanilla, and beat until very smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the sugar; the mixture will be very stiff. Dribble in rice milk a little at a time, beating continuously till frosting is pale tan and very fluffy.

Adjust the thickness of the filling by adding rice milk or more confectioners’ sugar in small amounts if necessary

Recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World