Holidays & Entertaining

National Banana Bread Day & A Recipe

Today’s delicious recipe, Tropical Banana Bread, celebrates banana bread. I have added a few tropical twists take you and your taste buds on a little island escape to beat the winter blues. In my family banana bread was a family favorite. I can remember coming home from school, as a child and finding the house filled with the incredible scent of banana bread baking. We could hardly wait for our mom to take it out of the oven and never let it cool properly before we dug in.

A treasured treat my mother made for us and guests was Warm Banana Bread Sundaes! Yum! She would slice the bread straight from the oven, with care not to burn her hands, and cut it in 1 inch cubes. Then she would put it in sundae glasses, or bowls and top with vanilla and/or chocolate ice cream, fresh bananas, peanuts or walnuts, and whipped cream. On “fancier” occasions she would caramelize the bananas by sautéing then in a little butter and brown sugar first and then pour them over the ice cream.  Both ways were incredible and I can still taste that dessert as I write about it now.  Thanks, mom!

Banana bread as we know it, in the US today, was created toward the end of the 18th century. The first recipe was thought to be created by William Swanson. This moist and flavorful bread gained popularity in the 1030’s when leavening agents such and baking soda and baking powder were added to the batter, making it a little less dense and more cake-like. In 1933 one of the first banana bread recipes, with these leavening agents appeared in Pillsbury’s Balanced Recipes Cookbook.

This tasty loaf was very popular during the depression. It was a great way to use over ripe bananas at a time when wasting food was just not an option. It’s still one of the best ways to use ripe bananas to this day. By the 60’s, with the revival of home baking and the simplicity of the recipes it soon became a household staple on the American table. New recipes were popping up all over with suggestions of different fruits and nuts to add to the recipe.

It’s become a favorite at bake sales and is one of the most served breakfast breads in cafes in Australia. There versions are often a bit less dense that the American version and I plan to give it a try when I visit Sydney next month and let you know how I like it.

I hope this has inspired you to whip up some banana bread today! It’s quick, easy, packed with healthy ingredients, and your family will be happy you did.

Tropical Banana Bread

  • 2 Medium bananas (slightly over-ripe, and mashed)
  • ¾ Cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ Cup coconut oil (melted)
  • ½ Teaspoon vanilla extract (*gluten free)
  • ½ Cup coconut milk (use So Delicious in the carton like soy milk if possible)
  • 1 Cup whole wheat flour (or for gluten-free substitute ½ Cup each potato and corn starch, and ¾ teaspoon xanthan gum for gluten-free)
  • ¼ Cup coconut flour
  • 4 Teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ Teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ Teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ Cup shredded un-sweetened coconut
  • ¼ Cup crushed pineapple (drained very well)
  • 1 ½ Cups chopped walnuts or macadamia nut (reserve ¾ cup for top of banana bread)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×4 loaf pan (approximately, you can use a different shape pan) with organic non-stick spray.
In a large bowl, mix the mashed bananas, egg, brown sugar, oil, milk, and vanilla. Mix well.
In a small bowl, sift together whole wheat flour (or potato starch, corn starch, and xanthan gum), coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix the banana mixture and flour mixture together well. Add the shredded coconut, pineapple, and walnuts and mix well.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth out the top as much as possible to ensure a uniform top. Evenly distribute the ¾ cup nuts on the top of the loaf and gently push them down a bit to secure them.
Bake for about 40 minutes and check after 20 minutes to see if the nuts start to cook to quickly,
you may need to lightly cover with foil and continue baking for 20 minutes or until a toothpick insert into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes, (if you can wait) before removing from pan.

Happy National Banana Bread Day! Check out my other article and recipes for national food days in March:

Pear Helene Day (Mar. 15)
Chocolate Caramel Day (Mar. 19)

French Bread Day (Mar. 21)
Spanish Paella Day (Mar. 27)

Visit Chef Kate’s website and the Kora Organics Blog (under Chef Kate) for more healthy organic recipes and articles.

Image By: Peter Turner

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