So here's my first recipe. It's banana bread....but it's tropical. And we all know that anything to do with the tropics is automatically awesome. It's easy to make and super-delicious, and for anyone giving a crap about various expanding body-parts, the only fat it in it is from the coconut and the flax seeds....there's no oil in this whatsoever. Not like the health factor will be foremost on your mind as the super-moist, orange and pineapple-spiked banana bread with flecks of coconut melts in your mouth or anything....enough of me - onward!
Tropical Banana Bread/Muffins
Makes 1 loaf or 12 muffins
1 teaspoon white vinegar or lemon juice
1/3 cup soy milk
1 3/4 cup all purpose or white whole wheat flour (or use half whole wheat and half all-purpose)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 very ripe bananas, mashed well
3/4 cup pineapple canned chunks in juice (make sure it's the kind in 100% pineapple juice, not syrup)
3 Tablespoons ground flaxseed
1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon orange juice
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon orange extract (optional; if you don't have this, just use more vanilla)
1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease a standard-sized loaf pan with cooking spray or line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
Mix the vinegar/lemon juice and soy milk in a small cup or bowl and set aside. Mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Put the pineapple chunks, orange juice, and flax seeds in a blender or small food processor (the "bullet" type thingies work great for this) and whip until the pineapple is pureed and the whole mixture is slightly thickened and creamy from the flax seeds. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the mashed bananas, soymilk mixture, pineapple/OJ/flax mixture, and extracts until well-combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well until combined. Add the coconut and mix again.
Pour into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 30 minutes before slicing.
If you are making muffins, fill the muffin cups almost to the top and bake for 25 minutes until a toothpick in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the pan to cool on a wire rack as soon as possible. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before eating so the muffins won't stick to the paper liners.
Tips and tricks:
1. Make sure your bananas are VERY ripe....like ripe to the point where you definitely wouldn't eat them on their own due to extreme mushy-ness. This is a great way to use up fruit that's kind of gross. I love it because I have a severe phobia of flawed produce (no lie) so putting smooshy bananas in bread allows me to eat them without being skeeved about it.
2. You can use 3/4 cup fresh pineapple chunks too, but seriously, who among us isn't too lazy for that? Makes sure your canned/jarred pineapple chunks are in 100% juice though (the label should list pineapple and pineapple juice as ingredients only); if you get the kind in syrup or with added sugar your bread will be overly sweet, not to mention that pineapple is plenty sweet on it's own, thanks.
3. Make sure you get UNSWEETENED coconut. The only ingredient should be (wait for it....) COCONUT. This can be challenging to find - you're probably not going to find it in the baking aisle of the grocery store with all the bagged coconut there. That stuff is almost always sweetened. I manage to find mine either in the natural foods aisle (most major grocery chains have one now) or in the produce aisle, wherever they keep the nuts and trail mix. Trust me; this stuff is worth the extra effort it takes to seek it out; the reason most commercial coconut is loaded with sweeteners and artificial flavors is because it's crappy-tasting coconut and that's how they cover up the fact that they're duping you into buying an inferior product.
4. I used a glass pan for this. If you use non-stick (I ABHOR the stuff and avoid using it at all costs, but if that's what you've got, more power to you) or a dark steel pan, you may have to adjust your cooking time. Darker pans tend to cook things faster, so if you're using one, start checking for done-ness at around 45 minutes and every 15 or so thereafter. It's done when a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
Hope you enjoyed; comments welcome and more recipes to come :)
<3, The Fur-Ninja