WOW WOW WOW is all I can say about this banana bread. I've tried a LOT of banana bread recipes...but this one.....well, it just takes it to a whole new level of amazing. Rum raisins? Roasted bananas? Coconut milk? Pumpkin seeds? Really? Yes! It's worth a little bit more effort. This is my second time making this recipe. This is the kind of recipe that makes you wish you were my neighbor.
I almost want to encourage you to go ahead and double the recipe and make 2 loaves if you're already going through the effort. It's that good. The coconut marries well with the rum raisins.....you'll imagine you're eating banana bread in the tropics.
This recipe comes from Stephen Pyles' book Southwest Vegetarian. And to be fair, I found it on one of my absolute favorite sites-101cookbooks.com. I love, love, love Heidi's work and her photography. Maybe one day I can grow up and be just like her.....in the meantime, I'll settle for inspired average girl and continue to try things like this...below is my version--with a little more fiber and a little less fat.
ROAST BANANA-PUMPKIN SEED BREAKFAST BREAD (with RUM RAISINS)
- 3/4 cup golden raisins (I used dark raisins)
- *1/3 cup dark rum
- 2 ripe bananas, unpeeled
- 2 cups cake flour (I used half cake flour and half whole wheat pastry flour)**
- 2 teaspoons baking powder (I used aluminum-free)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons butter, softened (I used half light butter and half salted butter with success)
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk (I used light coconut milk)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- Powdered sugar (really optional)
*(author recommends 1/2 cup Myer's brand rum--but I found that's too much and you end up wasting it)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
In a small saucepan, combine the raisins and rum. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and let stand for 1 hour. Strain the plumped raisins and set aside; discard any remaining liquid.
Place the bananas on a cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes, or until the skins are black and they have started to seep. Remove from the oven , set aside, and let cool.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a mixing bowl (sorry to disappoint, but I skipped the sifting stage). Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Turn the machine to low and add 1 egg. Mix until completely incorporated and then add the second egg. Mix again until completely incorporated.
Meanwhile, squeeze the flesh of the bananas out of the skins and into a small mixing bowl. Add the coconut milk and vanilla and mash together. Add half of the banana mixture to the electric mixer bowl and blend thoroughly on low speed. Add half of the flour mixture and mix until combined. Add the remaining banana mixture, blend thoroughly, and add the remaining flour mixture; mix just enough to thoroughly blend the ingredients. Fold the pumpkin seeds and reserved raisins into the batter and pour it into a lightly greased 9 by 5-inch loaf pan.
Bake in the oven for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack, slice, and serve warm.
If desired, sprinkle with the powdered sugar and glaze briefly under a preheated broiler.
Makes 1 loaf.
**If you don't have cake flour (which I did not have on hand), the perfect substitute for 2 cups of cake flour (as the recipe calls for) is 1 and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour + 1/4 cup cornstarch. I did this for the first time and was very impressed by the result.