Monday, June 13, 2016

Once upon a time I had a goal to bake something new each month for a year. It started out decent enough with a fairly tasty and successful raw cashew cheesecake in January, but come February, my ideas of being such a domestic goddess were promptly squashed, resembling the cake I attempted to make. I had high hopes for a beautiful, photogenic, decadent German chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting on the sides and a coconut pecan topping. The middle of the cake sunk. The frosting was too thick. It was a disaster that ended in a pile of crumbs held together by brown goo, topped with coconut mush. It was still tasty, but it was not picture worthy. I thought seriously about creating a 'nailed it' meme, but was not in good enough spirits at the end of the whole ordeal to laugh at myself yet. I was frustrated and I was sweaty and all I wanted was a piece of (okay, like half of a) cake and a bottle of wine. That's how bad that baking experience was. Thank God I still have my Kitchen Aid mixer to pull me back to reality or I might never bake again. (Who am I kidding? I love cookies too much.)

After I lost my baking juju, I waited for baking inspiration to strike, and I waited, and I waited, until I neared the end of the month, saw some old bananas on my counter and thought, "Eh, those'll do." So I set out on a quest for a banana bread recipe, but I didn't want the plain old stuff your Grandma makes and I think it's just wrong to add chocolate chips. (I know that statement will probably cause uproar, but I like chocolate chips in cookies. Period. Not in waffles or pancakes or banana bread or anything else that people toss them into. They were made for cookies.) While browsing Pinterest, I came across a recipe for Tropical Banana Bread on theKitchn and it was like an eHarmony commercial. It was love at first sight. I had to make it.

So I did, with a few little additions of my own, and it turned out better than I could have imagined. I mean this has to be what Manna tasted like.

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This banana nut bread with pineapple, mango, coconut, and cashews will knock your hula skirt off!
  • 1/4 C. dried pineapple, chopped
  • 1/4 C. dried mango, chopped
  • 3 TBSP. orange juice
  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 teas. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 C. coconut oil, heated until liquified
  • 1/2 C. brown sugar
  • 1 C. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 C. whole wheat flour
  • 1 teas. baking soda
  • 1 teas. allspice
  • 1/2 teas. sea salt
  • 1/4 C. raw cashews, chopped
  • 1/3 C. unsweetened shredded coconut
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with coconut oil.2. Place the pineapple, mango, and orange juice in a bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds to a minute, careful not to let the sugars burn. Set aside to let the fruit absorb the liquid.3. Place the bananas in a large bowl and mix until minimal lumps are left. I used my Kitchen Aid for this, but if you don't have a mixer to do the work for you, just place them in a bowl and mash them with the back of a fork. Stir in the eggs, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and oil.4. Sift the flour, baking soda, allspice and salt together to ensure they will blend into the liquid ingredients evenly. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until combined. Then fold the dried fruit and orange juice mixture in, followed by the nuts and shredded coconut. (I saved a little bit of coconut to sprinkle on top of the loaf. I was trying to be fancy.)5. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake 45 minutes to an hour, until a skewer or knife comes out clean.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 loaf


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