Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Cherry Coconut Banana Bread

My friend Devaki celebrated her 18th birthday a few weeks ago with a sundae party. Despite my ambition to leave at a reasonable hour, I found myself in the familiar position of being one of the last people there. As I helped Devaki and her sister clear up, I was offered leftover ice cream toppings for my baking adventures. Despite my refusal, I ended up with three containers of glacé cherries (similar to maraschino cherries in North America, but not floating in syrup) and a bag of desiccated coconut. My friends were doubtful that these unwanted ingredients (especially the cherries) could be transformed into anything worth eating. I hope I’ve proven them wrong with this funky banana bread.

Banana bread is a ‘quick bread’, one that uses baking soda and baking powder instead of yeast. These leavening agents became widely available in the United States in the 1930s, leading to a rise in popularity of quick breads. Banana bread is a popular way to use over-ripe bananas. The fruit should be ripened until the skin has turned dark brown. You can also peel ripe bananas and freeze them until you are ready to make the bread. To defrost, leave bananas in the fridge overnight.

Banana bread has become quite popular in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. Common variations include nuts and chocolate chips. I have been experimenting with banana bread recipes for a while – look for my mascarpone version later this year.

1 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup desiccated coconut, toasted
1/2 cup glacé or candied cherries, chopped
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup granulated or caster sugar
2 eggs
3 overripe bananas, mashed
zest of one orange or lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper and grease and flour the pan.
2. Toast coconut in oven (at 350 F for 10-15 minutes), saucepan or microwave (on high for 30 seconds at a time). Check frequently as coconut can burn easily. Set aside to cool.
3. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, walnuts, coconut and cherries and set aside.
4. In a large bowl beat together butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat well. Add bananas, zest and vanilla and mix well.
5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients until combined. Pour batter into loaf pan.
6. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes in pan. Remove from pan and cool to room temperature. Do not try to serve this banana bread warm.
7. Using a sharp serrated knife, slice banana bread into 3/4 inch pieces. Serve at breakfast, brunch or tea time.


sorina said...

This is a very entertaining blog. Well-written and clever. You are now on my favorite list.

Shauna said...

This looks heavenly!! You should enter it in this banana bread contest:


The prize is a $50 Sur La Table giftcard. There aren't very many people that have entered the contest either, so it would be pretty easy to win!

I could do the wrong thing, and enter it myself, but that would be bad karma!!! :)

veva said...

Hmmmm...Great and tasty