This is my favorite kitchen helper and my favorite banana bread recipe.
I buy bananas in those bags that have been marked down to $1.59 in the grocery store. You know the ones, where they put as many "almost too ripe" bananas as they can fit into a paper bag. Usually, some are ready to eat immediately, but the rest end up in the freezer (for smoothies or baked goods). My all time favorite use for ripe bananas is banana pudding. You can find that recipe here. You'll also see how much my little baker has grown! Since one can only eat so much pudding, I often rely on bread to help me put these bananas to good use.
Banana bread can be a little ho-hum. Good, but not usually great, in my opinion. But this recipe is better than average. Why? Because it has coconut in it and tastes very tropical, and anything tropical sounds pretty good to me! It came from an Everyday Food magazine years ago. I was sad to see that publication go out of print. I looked forward to getting my copy each month, as the recipes were basic and delicious.
This is the perfect recipe for little bakers to lend a hand, as there is so much they can do. First, peeling and squishing the bananas.
Margeaux likes to get her hands dirty, so greasing and flouring the pans is a job that's right up her alley. You could also spray the pans with baking spray. Using our hands seemed more controllable today. This recipe make 2 large pans or 4-5 smaller sized pans. I almost always use the small pans, so we can share.
In a large bowl, we measured the dry ingredients; flour, baking soda and salt. At three years old, she can measure very accurately, fluffing her flour and scooping it into the measuring cup, and then gently scraping across the top with the flat side of a butter knife.
Using a whisk is fun too.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, we added the eggs, sugar and vegetable oil and mixed until combined. She cracks eggs like a pro, and knows how to use the shell to scoop out any stray pieces of shell that dropped into the bowl. I didn't teach her that, she must have learned it at home!
The flour mixture goes in next, followed by vanilla, banana, coconut, toasted pecans and buttermilk.
Scoop batter into prepared pans and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour for large loaves and 45 minute for small loaves or until tester comes out clean. Cool on wire racks for a few minutes and then turn them out of pans.
Licking the paddle is part of the fun. Having kids in the kitchen is messy and takes more time. That's ok. This is how we make memories and teach our children how to cook, right?
Banana Nut Bread
3 cups unbleached plain flour
1 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
2 t. vanilla
1 1/2 cup mashed bananas (about 3 medium)
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup toasted and finely chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or grease and flour loaf pans.
In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
In bowl of electric mixer, beat the eggs, sugar and vegetable oil
until combined. Beat in flour mixture. Add vanilla, coconut,
bananas, nuts and buttermilk and beat until combined.
Divide batter into pans. Bake until tester comes out clean - 1 hour for
large loaves and 45 minutes for small loaves.