Healthier (and not dense) banana bread with dates and coconut. There’s no butter, and only a tiny bit of oil.
Can one ever have too many banana breads? No? I thought not.
(Uh, unless you’re allergic to bananas).
There are classic banana breads, peanut butter banana breads, chocolate banana breads, pumpkin spice banana breads, cream cheese swirled banana breads, dense banana breads, lighter banana breads, vegan banana breads… yet I still believe the world can handle more.
Especially since I keep buying bananas, forgetting about them, and being left with a bowl of spotted bananas that are literally jumping out of their skins.
This Date and Coconut Banana Bread is light and moist, rather than dense, and studded with plump medjool dates. It’s also healthier than many banana breads out there, as there’s no butter, only a little bit of oil, and a relatively small amount of sugar.
Now let’s talk about the elephant in the room: the exterior of this banana bread is pretty dark. Since this batter isn’t too thick – as more flour-heavy batters tend to produce denser, dryer baked goods – the banana bread takes a while to cook, resulting in a dark brown exterior.
The outside almost develops a ‘crust’ (a lot like panettone, the Italian Christmas cake) which is a lovely contrast to the soft interior (again, a lot like panettone).
For this recipe – as with all banana bread recipes – it’s important to use really ripe bananas. If, like me, you have some seriously dark bananas that are basically jumping out of their skins, then get mashing! Those are the ideal bananas for banana bread.
Last of all, if you don’t like (or have) medjool dates, then you could use dried dates (although they’re not as delicious), chocolate chips, nuts, fresh berries, or another type of dried fruit.
Fun Fact: The scientific name for banana is musa sapientum, which apparently means ‘fruit of the wise men’.
- 1 ½ cups (195g) all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (35g) shredded coconut
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup (50g) brown sugar, packed
- 2 tablespoons (30mL) canola oil
- 2 teaspoons blackstrap molasses
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup (250g) mashed banana
- ½ cup (120g) Greek-style yogurt
- ¼ cup (60mL) buttermilk
- ⅓ cup (50g) chopped dates
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a 9x5 inch (23x13 cm) loaf pan with cooking oil spray. If desired, also line the pan with non-stick paper.
- In a large (or medium-sized) bowl, combine the all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and shredded coconut. Stir well.
- In another large bowl, whisk the eggs with a fork. Whisk in the brown sugar, canola oil, blackstrap molasses and vanilla extract. Add the mashed banana, yogurt and buttermilk, and mix until well combined.
- Pour the dry ingredients (the flour mixture) into the wet ingredients (the banana mixture). Mix until just combined. Gently fold in the chopped dates.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 60 - 70 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean (or with a few moist crumbs).
- Let the banana bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooking rack. Store in an airtight container.
1 cup mashed banana is approximately equal to 2 large, very ripe bananas