Pineapple Coconut Oil Banana Bread

Summer is not my favorite season; yes, you heard me correct, I don’t like Summer, in fact I actually hate it.  I don’t like the intense sun, I don’t like the humidity, I don’t like how the heat and humidity drain my energy; I don’t like it because I have to temporarily halt major cooking and baking (unless I blast my air conditioner) and I don’t like walking around like a zombie waiting for the Fall to come.  Maybe I will feel differently if my house had central air and a pool in the backyard (but with this 100 plus year old house I strike out on both counts).   However, there is one thing I like about Summer…  (yes, just one thing) I like all the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables I find at the Farmer’s Market and at my local organic markets.  They look so vibrant and alive!  Many of these produce can be purchased throughout the year, but nothing compares with the taste of seasonal produce.

Ironically today’s recipe will remind you of a tropical island with pineapple, coconut and banana.  Pineapples you get at the market now are definitely sweeter than the ones you can get in Winter (I don’t even try to buy tropical fruits in the Winter, seriously, I don’t like how they taste).  I found today’s recipe here and so glad I tried it!

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Makes: two 8-by-4-inch loaves

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted (canola or vegetable oil, or browned or melted butter may be substituted)
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk (1/4 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream may be substituted)
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, optional but recommended
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste
  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (2 large or 3 small ripe bananas)
  • 1 cup pineapple, diced (I used frozen; mango, peaches, nectarines, strawberries or blueberries may be substituted)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray two 8-by-4-inch loaf pans with floured cooking spray; set aside. (I have not tried it but I suspect you could bake as muffins, mini loaves, or in a Bundt pan, adjusting baking times accordingly).
  2. In a large bowl combine the eggs, coconut oil, buttermilk, sugars, vanilla, and whisk to combine. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, optional salt, and stir to just incorporate; don’t overmix because the gluten will overdevelop and bread will be tougher. Stir in bananas. Stir in pineapple (if using frozen, just add it frozen, no need to thaw it first. If using fresh or canned, make sure it’s well-drained or it could water-down the batter).
  3. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for about 45 minutes, or until top is golden and set, a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean (banana bread is gooey and it may not come out perfectly clean). If bread is browning too fast on the top, you may wish to lower your oven temperature to 325F in last 15 minutes of cooking, or tent the pan with foil; although I don’t suspect this will be an issue. Allow bread to cool in pan for about 15 minutes before removing and transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Bread will keep for up to 1 week in an airtight container or large Ziplock at room temperature (I wrap my fully cooled bread in Clingwrap, then I place it in a gallon-sized Ziplock). Second loaf may be frozen for up to 3 months.

My opinion: If at all possible, I highly encourage you to use coconut oil and fresh pineapples (even though substitution options are given) – coconut oil gives mild, rounded and deep note (doesn’t taste like coconut so don’t worry), and fresh pineapples give authentic sweetness and texture to this wonderful bread.  I don’t think any ingredients or flavor compete against each other, they kind of all blend really well together.  I didn’t have to worry about storing the second loaf  because we polished off pretty quickly!!

Brown Sugar Banana Cupcakes

You know, thing about kids, they are not organized.  They also think you’re a magician or something, that you’re able to conjure up things.  I keep on telling my kids to tell me ahead of time when they need to bring something into school (whether that may be snack food for parties, school supplies for projects, etc).  Anyway, to prove my point about them not being organized, my oldest daughter tells me, “oh, by the way mom, I need to bring some pastries into my literature class tomorrow, can you bake something?”  I’m rolling my eyes as I’m typing this.  I roll my eyes so much I’m afraid my eyes will be stuck. 
Unless I’m truly desperate I don’t like to just buy stuff.  I had some very ripe bananas so I decided to bake some cupcakes, heck, why not?!
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This recipe will give you about 12 – 16 cupcakes, or 48 plus mini cupcakes. 
1-1/3 cups flour
1-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
1 egg
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line cupcake tins.
Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Sift them well.
Whisk egg and add sugar, mix until smooth.  Stir in vanilla, sour cream and butter.  Mix well.  Add the dry ingredients and mashed bananas. 
Fill the cupcake tins 3/4 full and bake for about 15-18 minutes. 
Note:  I made mini cupcakes.  I also filled the cupcake tins 1/4 full, added guava paste (mango butter jam will go well too), added additional 1/4 batter on top of the guava paste.  Just to decorate I added plantain chips on top. 

My opinion: There are so many variations in banana cupcake (cake/bread) recipes.  This recipe was moist and fluffy (I know, odd combination, but so good), brown sugar added a depth to the flavour, and just enough banana flavour.  Needless to say, it was a huge hit at my daughter’s literature party.