Anywho, we made it. The bananas and I. We made it right into, and you may want to sit down for this, my first banana bread.
Yes, I know. I’ve been missing a lot in my life. I’ve missed out on boyfriend-made mix tapes, I’ve missed love at first sight, I’ve missed out on the last five bikini seasons and up until last week, I’d been missing out on banana bread. Mix tapes and bikinis I can make peace with but I’m still keeping my fingers crossed about the love-at-first-sight thing.
But a bit of bad news first, dear reader: It is not empty yet. That bag of coconut dust is not. Empty. Yet.
I dump cupfuls of it into baked goods and curries. My friends have started to greet my cupcakes with a tired “Does that have more coconut in it?” A couple of days back when I offered a spoonful of coconut crusted chicken to one of my friends, she actually semi-cringed. She loves coconut. She literally inhaled that cake I made three weeks back. And the chicken was definitely drool-worthy. And she cringed, only slightly though, before opening her mouth.
All I did at that point, and can do at this point, is sigh. I know everyone around me is getting a little tired of all the coconut. They suspect that I’ve peaked. I half expect you to suspect that I’ve peaked. But I swear on chocolate and my red peep-toes that I don’t mean to inflict this torture upon you on purpose. Every time I dig a cupful of coconut dust out of that bag I find myself secretly wishing for it to be the last cupful. But alas. That bag refills itself. Like that magic trick, you know? The one in which every time the magician empties the cup of water, somehow the cup refills itself with more water? Yeah? Like that.
A couple of weeks back I hoarded a few bananas from the bunch that sat on the counter and stashed them away in the freezer. I knew I had to make banana bread. I had wanted to make it the last time, my plans marred only by the fact that were not ripe enough. They got split in two and baked on a bed of chocolate and chili. This time however, I was determined on bread, and even took to standing next to the refrigerator guarding the freezer door every time my brother walked past it. That man is addicted to the stuff.
I’ve read about banana bread at least eighty-six times. No I didn’t count. But it feels like eighty-six. And frankly, I did not understand what all the praise was all about till last week, when I cut a slice of it out of the still-hot loaf tin. I hate to consider myself as someone who jumps on random bandwagons just because other people do,but all I can say is that I have happily jumped on to the banana-bread bandwagon with both my feet and manic enthusiasm. I may have interrupted my celebrations with all that hoopla about making my own yogurt but I’ve been waiting to gush about banana bread all this while like some geeky schoolgirl who’ve just found out that the most popular boy in school is going to be her biology lab partner for the semester.
The banana bread melted in my mouth. The crumb was much denser than any bread or cake for that matter. It was thick and almost fudge-like. Actually, we would do well to not use the word ‘bread’ when describing this. The chocolate lent its signature smokiness and the coconut added texture to the crumb. I’ll also mention, that this cake is probably the most moist cake that’s ever come out of my kitchen. After sitting for a full day on the breakfast table, covered with only a glass dome, the batter was, well the best way to describe it would be ‘wet’. The moisture and taste from the bananas were intact all throughout till we were picking out the last morsels from the bottom of the loaf tin with our fingertips.
Chocolate Coconut Banana Bread
adapted from Everybody Likes Sandwiches
I’m chicken really. The actual recipe calls for no butter or extra moisture, the bananas do all the work. But I clucked around a lot and added a little white oil and buttermilk solely because I thought it may turn out to be “breadier” than I want. In retrospect, it is entirely up to you if you want to leave out the oil and buttermilk. Without those two, the bread will have a slightly less wet and a chewier crumb.
3 frozen blackened bananas
1/4 cup buttermilk, optional (store-bought is fine really)
1/4 cup vegetable oil, optional (any flavourless white oil like canola or sunflower)
1/2 cup white granulated sugar (you can up it to 1 cup if you want a sweeter cake)
1 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup natural cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
A large pinch of salt
Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C and prep a 8″ long loaf tin. Remove the skin from the bananas. They’ll be oozy but steady your heart I say, it’ll all be worth it in the end. Blitz up the bananas with the buttermilk till the mixture looks like a milkshake. In a large bowl combine this milkshake with the eggs, oil and sugar and whisk to mix. In a smaller bowl mix the coconut, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt with a fork till well combined. Add the dry ingredient to the wet and stir till just combined. Don’t overwork the batter. Pour into a loaf tin and bake at 180 deg C for 40-45 minutes till a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Serve with softly whipped cream or dusted with cinnamon sugar or nothing at all.