Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hawaiian Banana Bread

Who doesn’t love banana bread? Or I should say, who doesn’t love good banana bread? I say that because banana bread is one of those foods that require the starring ingredient be as brown and nasty as possible (on the outside, that is, while still being edible on the inside!). The riper the bananas, the better tasting the bread.

So I had bananas sitting for days, and I waited patiently for them to ripen. Finally, I started searching the grocery stores (I even called a couple) and I found the same green bunches of fruit on the shelves.

Finally I looked at my bananas and decided that the recipe I was about to try would be forgiving enough to work with bananas that were now at their peak: perfect sliced on a bowl of granola or atop a pile of pancakes–just the right softness without a speck of brown.

After checking out several recipes for Hawaiian Banana Bread, I went with the recipe below. The original recipe is here. I made a number of substitutions, including replacing half of the oil with *coconut milk (had some left over from the Tomato Soup recipe), using a different sugar and whole grain spelt flour.

The result was fabulous. It got thumbs up from five taste testers. It’s moist, flavorful–yes, the flavor of banana shines through and I can only imagine what it would taste like using super-ripe bananas. I’ll let you know : )

Hawaiian Banana Bread

½ c grapeseed oil

½ c coconut milk

2 c sugar (I used sucanat)

3 eggs, beaten

2 t vanilla

4 very, very ripe bananas, mashed

8 oz crushed pineapple, drained

3 c flour (I used whole grain spelt)

1 t salt

1 t baking soda

1 t cinnamon

½ c shredded unsweetened coconut

1 c chopped macadamia nuts

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pour the oil, coconut milk and sugar in a large bowl and mix well. Add the eggs and vanilla, then mix in bananas and pineapple. Combine the dry ingredients and mix slowly into the wet ingredients until combined.

Divide the batter between two 9 x 5 greased loaf pans and bake for ~1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove and cool on a wire rack.

*Why do I use coconut milk so often? Besides the fact that it’s versatile and it tastes great, it provides some health benefits that you may not be aware of. The saturated fat in coconut milk is made up of medium and short chain fatty acids which tend to get burned for energy rather than stored. One of the main components is lauric acid, which is anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial. The milk also contains some important nutrients such as potassium and calcium and it’s dairy free.

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