Field Notes

Roasted Banana Coconut Bread

There are, not exaggerating, probably millions of banana bread recipes out there. Everyone’s an expert when it comes to this popular quick bread. So what could we possibly have to add to this beleaguered conversation. In truth this banana bread is basic in its approach; our “secret,” if you can call it that, is simply in roasting the bananas with a little bit of chili flake before adding them to the batter. This helps to caramelize the sugars and deepen the flavor. The chili flakes don’t add much in the way of heat--they simply help bring out the sugars and contours of the banana.

Roasted Banana Coconut Bread

Makes 1 loaf

  • 4 very ripe bananas
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Preheat the oven to 400°. Make an incision lengthwise along each banana through the peel but not the flesh. Keeping the bananas in the peel, sprinkle some of the chili flakes inside each banana. Place the bananas, incision side up, on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the bananas are dark brown and slightly deflated.

Let the bananas cool slightly, then spoon the flesh into a the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with a paddle attachment; discard the peels. Add the butter and sugar and mix on medium speed until well combined. Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix well.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add half the flour mixture to the banana mixture and mix until just combined, then 2 tablespoons of the buttermilk. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture and buttermilk, mixing until just combined. Pour the batter into a greased 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Sprinkle the top with the coconut flakes.

Transfer to the oven and lower the heat to 325°. Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted into the bread  comes out clean.