Black Walnut and Coconut Banana Bread

This may be the best banana bread I’ve yet to bake. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop testing other variations. It’s not too dense and has a nice crumb but it’s not crumbly like some banana breads.

I’m also a huge fan of coconut and nuts in general. I’d gladly add walnuts or pecans to most anything. As good fortune would have it, I remembered that a friend had gifted me with a bag of black walnuts; so in went 3 ounces that I had coarsely chopped.

I also had some Cream of Wheat left from another recipe. It’s doubtful that I will ever eat a bowl of cream of wheat so I added half a cup just to use some of it.

IMG_2138Butter for preparing loaf pan
1/2 cup (1.25 oz / 35 g) unsweetened coconut, toasted
Generous 1/2 cup (3 oz / 85 g) chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted
1 cup (8 oz) ripe bananas (about 2 large or 3 medium bananas)
1 3/4 cups (8 oz / 225 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (3 oz / 85 g) cream of wheat
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup (2 oz) whole milk, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 tablespoons (4 oz / 115 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (7 oz / 200 g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter the bottom and sides of 1 (approximately 10 x 5 x 3-inch) loaf pan and line with parchment paper leaving the paper to extend over the sides of the pan.

In a medium bowl weigh out 8 ounces of ripe bananas and mash with a folk. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cream of wheat, baking soda, and salt. In a glass measuring cup, measure out milk and vanilla.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time continue beating until completely incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the mashed bananas and beat for about 30 seconds. Mix in the milk and vanilla. Add the flour and milk mixtures in 2 batches alternating between flour and milk and stirrring on low speed until just incorporated, about 30 seconds total. Add coconut and nuts, if desired, and using a rubber spatula fold them into the batter.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf emerges clean, about 60 – 70 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack to let cool for 10 to 15 minutes then gently lift the bread out of the mold using the overhanging parchment paper.

DO AHEAD: Banana bread can be baked ahead, cooled completely, and kept, wrapped in plastic wrap, up to 2 days, or frozen, wrapped in plastic wrap and foil, up to 3 months.

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