I am constantly bookmarking recipes from The New York Times’ cooking section. This Whole-Banana Bread caught my attention because ingredients include tahini and cocoa powder. It wasn’t until I was gathering ingredients that I realized the recipe doesn’t call for eggs and does call for banana peels (hence, the name “Whole-Banana!” lol). I really like these cocoa-y, rich muffins, though two of my kids prefer my regular Banana Bread recipe. According to my son, “Why change what works?” My answer? Because!
There are a lot of flavors beyond banana hanging out in this loaf: coconut, chocolate, tahini and almond extract. They get along so well that you end up with something that tastes notably better than almost any other banana bread you’ve had before. It’s cocoa-rich, nutty and not too sweet. Using the whole fruit — both banana flesh and peel — punches up the banana flavor, but doesn’t overshadow the other notes. Nadiya Hussain’s recipe offers numerous substitutions; you could play up nutty notes by opting for almond butter and almond milk, or swap in olive oil in place of coconut oil. The recipe inspires infinite permutations. —Charlotte Druckman
- ½ cup/100 grams virgin (unrefined) coconut oil, plus more for greasing the pan (see Tip)
- 2 ripe bananas
- 2 ¼ cups/280 grams all-purpose flour, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons for tossing peels
- ¼ cup/64 grams tahini (or nut butter of your choice)
- ⅓ cup/80 milliliters oat milk, nut milk or dairy milk of your choice
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 ⅓ cups/200 grams coconut palm or dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup/20 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- Unsalted vegan or nonvegan butter (optional), for serving
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-by-2 1/2-inch loaf pan with coconut oil and line it with parchment.
- Wash the bananas then trim and discard the tips. Peel the bananas, then slice the peels crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick strips. Place them in a small bowl and toss with 1 1/2 teaspoons flour to coat; set aside.
- In a large bowl, use a fork to smush the bananas into a rough purée. (Don’t worry about small lumps.) Add the coconut oil, tahini, oat milk, almond and vanilla extracts, and salt. Beat together with a whisk to thoroughly incorporate and create a thick batter. Add the sugar and beat with the whisk to combine.
- Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into the batter and fold it in using a rubber spatula until no streaks remain. Fold the floured banana peels into the batter.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top into an even layer. Bake for about 55 to 65 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then lift it out onto a baking rack using the parchment. Let it cool a bit, then serve warm with butter slathered on top, if using, or let it cool completely if you want to store it for later. (Wrapped tightly, the bread will keep at room temperature for about 4 days.)
Tip: Unrefined, virgin coconut oil is recommended here because it lends coconut flavor. Refined coconut oil would also work, but since it’s a neutral-flavored oil, your banana bread won’t have as pronounced coconut flavor.
Yield: 1 (8-inch loaf)