Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Coconut Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

We’ve reached the point in baby-land where most of our visitors have come, oohed & ahhed, and gone.  Nathan is off to work everyday, and Elliott & I are hanging out all day (with Jesse by our side).  I’ll admit, I actually enjoy running errands with him, and it was on one such trip to Sam’s Club that I picked up a huge bunch of bananas.  I ate the vast majority of them as quick & easy one-handed fuel while holding the baby.  But they turned brown before I could eat them all, and my first thought was to throw them in the freezer for later baking.  But, since it had been a while since I baked, I had the urge to bake something.  (Don’t be fooled by my timing of posts, I baked & photographed the Cookie Dough Panini BEFORE Elliott made his appearance!)

While Elliott gets rather fussy in the evenings, the mornings are usually pretty calm, so I thought I might actually have the chance to bake something. What a silly idea that was!  Let’s just say the oven was preheated a good 2 hours before anything went into it.  Elliott transitioned from the Boppy, to the Bjorn Bouncer, and finally I stuck him in the Moby and was able to get something done!  (Sorry for all the baby product jargon.  It’s like you learn an entirely new vocabulary when you become a parent!)  The Moby is basically a huge piece of fabric you wrap around yourself like a ninja and it holds the baby next to you, keeping your hands free.  So, Elliott & I baked this banana bread, with him strapped onto me.

{foreground Elliott, background batter in progress}

I chose this recipe to use up the brown bananas because I also had a ton of coconut on hand that I never seem to use.  Plus, I saw it on my friend Kelsey’s blog, Apple A Day, and if she made it, then it was sure to be delicious!  Hers was originally just Banana Coconut Bread, and I chose to add in chocolate chips because… wait, is it necessary to explain why I added in chocolate?  I think not.  Chocolate = good.  This banana bread was spectacular.  Mine came out incredibly moist, and full of flavor.  It wasn’t heavy on coconut flavor, so I think even coconut-averse people would still enjoy this.  The coconut really just added a unique texture.  And I LOVED the little bit extra the chocolate chips add.  At first I debated between using regular sized chips, or using mini chips, and I’m glad I went with regular sized because the bursts of chocolate just add to the party in your mouth.


Coconut Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Like with many quick breads and muffins, I swapped out 1 cup of the all-purpose flour with white whole wheat flour. I then told myself it was now "healthy" and therefore acceptable to eat for breakfast. Feel free to do the same.


About 3 large, overripe bananas
2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 TBSP vanilla
1/2 cup flaked unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 TBSP raw sugar, such as demerara


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray a standard-size loaf pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mash the bananas on medium-low speed. Measure out 1 1/2 c. and set aside. (Any remaining banana can be saved. Molly from Orangette recommends stirring it into plain yogurt.)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.

In the stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, and beat to mix well. Add the banana and flour mixtures alternately, about 1 cup at a time, beginning with the banana and beating to just incorporate.

Use a spatula to fold in any flour that has not been absorbed, and stir in the coconut & chocolate chips. Do not overmix.

Scrape the batter (it will be quite thick) into the prepared pan. Smooth the top, and sprinkle evenly with the raw sugar. Bake for 50-65 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (If using a mini-loaf pan like I did, reduce baking time to approximately 35 min.) Let cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes, then turn the loaf out of the pan and allow to cool completely. Keeps, sealed airtight, for three to four days.

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