This recipe is brought to you by INSOMNIA: because when you’re single and have the biggest exam of your life scheduled for Valentine’s Day 2014, this is as wild as the nights around here are gonna get.
Thank goodness I stumbled across a simply scrumdiddlyumptious banana bread recipe that can make even 4 AM sleeplessness taste amazing. More about this bread in a second. (FUN FACT: The appellation ‘scrumdiddlyumptious’ was inspired by a friend who tasted some of this insanely moist and flavor-packed banana bread, but it’s also a nod to my first attempt to join the blogging world three years ago <–check it out if you’re interested…It’s almost crazy to think how far this blog has come since those days of phone food photos!)
With my brain constantly kicked into over-over-overdrive these days (like, headache-and-insomnia-inducing overdrive!), it’s almost ridiculously comforting to do something that requires zero thinking. Just me, the Frozen soundtrack drifting in the background, and the therapeutic rhythm of your hand as it slowly swirls fragrant coconut and chocolate chips into a bowl of thick, creamy, chunky banana bread batter.
Since I moved back and the time crunch has gotten crunchier than a jar of chunky peanut butter, life around here has been one huge
mind-brain (wow, I can’t believe I just typed that) mind-body disconnection. For example, as I was taking a post-dinner break and writing this blog post, I was simultaneously trying to spread peanut butter on a baby carrot. No biggie, right? I had just managed to get a sizable chunk of peanut butter out of the jar (think golf-ball-size per baby carrot–hey, these are stressful times! And stressful times = more peanut butter) when, by some trick of I-know-not-how, my spoon pressed down on the carrot and it shot out of my hand into the air. Before I knew what was happening, my hand flew at it with all the lightning speed of, well, lightning and stuff, snatched it out of the air like Peter Parker in this scene, and all the while my other hand just went on spreading peanut butter on that damned carrot like nothing ever happened. And I just stood there for a full two minutes staring at my hands without processing what had just happened, while the little mound of peanut butter on my teeny carrot steadily expanded into the size of a tennis ball. And then at 2 minutes and 1 second, it suddenly hit me and I was all like, “Oh! That was REALLY COOL. Did anybody see that?!“
Why am I telling you all this? Beats me. I don’t even know if any of what I just typed up there warrants comment. I just thought I’d share. Kinda like FYI in case you haven’t noticed, my brain is really scrambled up right now, guys. Your morning plate of eggs have got nothing on my brain–word.
I suspect my scatterbrained-ness is partly because I took my first mock exam last week and my second one this morning, and I am absolutely pooped. Like, pretty happy to be done with that, especially since it went better than expected, and de-stressed enough to finally write another entry, but still so pooped. Pooped-er than dog doo-doo on your front lawn. Sorry.
That leaves me with the one (hopefully) coherent point of this post: this scrumdiddlyumptious, unlike-anything banana bread. Because let’s be honest: there’s banana bread, and then there’s…sort of cannibalizing banana bread by caramelizing the bananas first, toasting coconut, throwing in a handful of dark chocolate chunks, and then smothering the top in a generous oat and brown sugar streusel. It may well be one of the BEST BANANA BREAD recipes/variations I have ever tried, period, and the Greek yogurt and oil combo keeps it incredibly moist. This bread is the one thing that has made any number of sleepless nights worth it, and I hope it’ll find its really special way into your life soon, too!
^ If I could actually manage to fall asleep once in a while, I’m pretty sure that’s what would be happening. #truth
Scrumdiddlyumptious Caramelized Banana & Toasted Coconut & Dark Chocolate Banana Bread
(Adapted from Half-Baked Harvest)
For the caramelized bananas:
- 4 medium bananas, the riper the better
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- On a foil-lined cookie sheet, lay out your peeled bananas and drizzle them with honey, cinnamon, and brown sugar.
- Roast bananas in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until they begin to caramelize and turn a deep golden brown. They should be very soft and easy to mush.
- Remove bananas from oven and mash them. Set aside to include in banana bread recipe, Step 4.
For the banana bread:
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I used 0%–you may use any type of Greek yogurt OR canned coconut milk)
- 1/2 cup canola oil (you may use melted coconut oil)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cups dark chocolate chips (you may sub any type of chips you have on hand)
- 1/2 cup coconut flakes, toasted
- Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×5-inch baking pan and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and brown sugar.
- Mix in Greek yogurt and oil.
- Stir in mashed bananas (see Caramelized Bananas recipe, above) and vanilla.
- Add flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix in until just incorporated.
- Gently fold in chocolate chips and coconut flakes.
- Top with oat streusel (recipe below).
- Bake in preheated oven for 50-60 minutes. Check your banana bread for doneness with a long toothpick that will reach all the way to the bottom of your loaf pan–it should come out with moist crumbs attached, at which point your bread will be ready to come out of the oven! (Note: be sure to double-check if your toothpick encounters chocolate–the chocolate will be melty, but your batter may already be cooked through.) Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Scrumdiddly-slice and serve it up!
To make oat streusel:
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 cup cold butter or margarine
- In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients except butter.
- Cut in cold butter with a fork, until your streusel consists of many pea-sized lumps of sugary-floury-buttery goodness. Use to top banana bread batter in banana bread recipe (Step 7).