After going five days without peanut butter last week while I was away on the yoga retreat, it’s been all peanut butter, all the time since getting back. The first thing I ate when I arrived home was an apple with peanut butter and since then it’s been a steady stream of peanut butter smoothies, peanut butter spread on bananas, peanut butter granola and this peanut butter and coconut banana bread. What can I say? I just really love peanut butter.
I can’t remember the last time I baked banana bread but I am always reminded what an amazing old favorite it is every time I do. It seems to be one of those things that everyone loves to bake and there are endless variations of it. I have posted several banana-based bread recipes over the years, including a recipe for peanut butter and banana muffins. The most popular recipe (by far) on my blog is my paleo banana bread. The inspiration for this peanut butter and coconut variation was a jar coconut peanut butter in the pantry. I didn’t use that peanut butter in the bread but the flavor combo sounded delicious for a banana bread.
One of my favorite things about baking banana bread is that it’s very forgiving and very easy. As long as you stick with basic ratios, pretty much anything is going to yield you with fluffy banana bread with that perfect crack right down the center. I also appreciate that I can mix everything by hand and not deal with getting out and cleaning the stand mixer. It took me less than 10 minutes to get this bread in the oven.
My favorite time to eat banana bread is right out of the oven when it’s still warm and the edges have a little bit of a crunch to them but it’s also great leftover and rewarmed. I have been eating this banana bread for breakfast and snacks for the last few days. The peanut butter and banana flavor is balanced well and you get most of the coconut from unsweetened coconut flakes. The coconut flakes along with wheat germ give this bread a nice hearty texture. I didn’t overly “healthify” this bread but I did use coconut oil in place of butter, subbed plain greek yogurt for a lot of the oil, added the wheat germ and cut back on the sugar. The bananas have so much natural sweetness on their own that you can get away with it.
Peanut Butter & Coconut Banana Bread
(Recipe adapted from Cooking Light)
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 2 large or 3 small)
1/3 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
1/3 cup natural-style peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (you can add a little more if you like a sweeter banana bread…up to 3/4 cup)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup wheat germ (you could also use ground flax seed)
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9 x 5 loaf pan with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, mix together the banana, greek yogurt, peanut butter, coconut oil, vanilla and eggs. I like to use a fork for this. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, wheat germ, coconut, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just combined. Again, I like to use a fork for this. It just seems to do a good job with mixing everything together versus using a big flat spoon or spatula.
Transfer batter to the prepared baking pan and place in oven. Bake 50 minutes and start to test for doneness. It might take up to an hour and five minutes or so depending on your oven. Bread is done when golden brown, set and a toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool in pan for 10 minutes and then remove from pan and let finish cooling on wire rack.
Yield: one loaf