Saturday, July 20, 2013

Coconut & Dark Chocolate Banana Bread // A Quick Dose of Home Comfort

Hi all, and happy weekend. I know what you're thinking: where have you been? We've hardly seen you this past week. It's so true, but I swear I've been a bit of a flake for good reason. The shop is progressing in the best possible way (can you believe we open in less than a month?!?), and I have so many stories about the process, which I promise to share with you this week (pinky swear). In the meantime, I wanted to briefly pop my head in to say hello and share a quick (and totally worth it) recipe.

I know what you're saying to yourself. Banana bread? Really? That's all you've got? While I love crazy fresh, modern takes on food (let's pickle it/braise it/suck the marrow out of it!), some recipes are classics for good reason. Whenever we are experimenting with new recipes in our home kitchen, the chef has a mantra that he forever repeats: there is a reason vanilla ice cream still exists. This from the man who regularly churns out oolong-infused sherbet and cereal milk ice cream. And while there are of course (of course) merits to these more contemporary takes on otherwise classic recipes (let's be serious...bourbon doesn't suck in anything), I have to admit that the chef is right: sometimes, some things (i.e.: a good old fashioned vanilla-bean freckled scoop) are better left alone.

Like many people, I'm a sucker for banana bread. Is there anything more cozy than the smell of it baking in your oven? Or the comfort of sitting down to a thick slice right when you wake up in the morning or as a special treat right before you go to bed?

I like to think of this recipe as a classic that is just a little bit dressed up. First, lets talk about flavor combinations: bananas + dark chocolate + coconut. From a culinary standpoint, nothing bad has ever come from these three friends. I mean, the fruity sweetness of the mashed bananas paired with the ooey gooey dark chocolate and the satisfying texture of shredded coconut. Come on. But it's not just that. I adore this bread, which has a beautifully porous, cake-like texture, making it the perfect warm-from-the-oven vehicle for a slathering of vanilla honey butter. If nothing else, the simple act of baking it will make your house smell like a home (translation: even if you mess it up, which you totally won't, the scent alone will be enough to impress any and all of your weekend guests).

Here's to long, leisurely weekend mornings.

Coconut & Dark Chocolate Banana Bread w/ Vanilla Honey Butter

For the bread:
- 1 1/2 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 overripe bananas, mashed
- 1 stick butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup old fashioned oats
- 1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, coarsely chopped

For the vanilla honey butter:
- 1/2 stick butter
- 1 vanilla bean, split in half and scraped
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of one 5x10 loaf pan and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, sea salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

In a small mixer bowl, add the butter and sugar and mix until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add the mashed bananas, vanilla extract, oatmeal, coconut, and dark chocolate chips. Add the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Bake for 1 hour.

For the butter: in a small mixer bowl, add the butter, scraped vanilla beans, vanilla extract and honey. Beat until the butter is smooth and creamy and all the ingredients are well incorporated.

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