Ever since I made Java Monkey Muffins a few weeks ago I have been thinking about the taste of banana bread laced with the flavor of coconut and a hint of ginger. I have been wondering why I haven't happened across more recipes with that flavor combination. Suddenly, to me, it seems like a natural and obvious synergy of flavors.
Of course it's possible that during all those years I carefully avoided recipes containing flaked coconut I overshot the goal and simply declined to notice recipes that called for coconut in any form. I guess we all make mistakes! But now I am making up for lost time as I adapt recipes that will let me use up the large bag of Bob's Red Mill unsweetened shredded coconut I bought when I was making Cashew Ginger Granola several months ago.
My latest recipe discovery that combines banana, coconut and ginger is adapted from a recipe that came with my old DAK bread machine, the one that looks like R2D2.
The recipe in the book was for Banana Wheat Bread. The dough used honey, vanilla and bananas for flavoring. I added coconut milk instead of water and fresh grated ginger. I set the machine on manual so that I could shape the loaves and sprinkled the unsweetened coconut on top before baking. The flavor turned out to be subtle and delicious and the texture of the bread was just what I hoped for, soft and almost creamy. It is good sliced warm, or toasted. I think it will also make a great base for my next banana, coconut, ginger inspiration: Coconut Banana Bread Pudding.
1 Tablespoon (or one package) yeast
3 cups bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 ripe bananas, (sliced for the bread machine or mashed if mixing by hand)
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Add all ingredients to a bread machine. Set the machine to 'manual' so that you can take the dough, when ready, and shape the loaves yourself.
(Or if you don't enjoy the company of a little R2D2 or other bread machine in the kitchen:
Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Heat the coconut milk, honey and butter over low heat until warm, 115 to 120 degrees. Add mixture to the dry ingredients, along with the egg, mashed bananas, grated ginger and vanilla and stir until a dough forms. Turn the dough onto a well floured surface and knead for approximately 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turn once. Cover with a towel and let it rise in a warm place until double, approximately 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Continue as follows.)
When the dough is ready, punch down and divide into two equal pieces. Cover and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
Form each portion into a loaf, or other desired shape. For log shaped loaves roll dough on a lightly floured nonstick mat into a 12 x 8 inch rectangle. Roll tightly from a short end to form the log. pinch the seam closed and place the loaf seam side down on a greased baking sheet. Pinch ends and tuck under.
Cover loaves and let them rise until nearly double (approximately 1 hour).
Just before baking, brush loaves with melted butter and scatter unsweetened shredded coconut on top.
Bake in 375 degree oven 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden and the coconut has browned. Cool on a wire rack.
Makes two loaves.