Coconut Pecan Banana Bread

It seems impossible for me not to tweak a recipe these days.  I set out to make plain, old, delicious Chocolate Chip Banana Bread this afternoon, I swear I did.  Tried-n-true, everyone-loves-it banana bread.  Nothing fancy.

Then I came to 'vegetable oil' in the ingredients list, and I went straight for the coconut oil.  I just can't resist coconut in any form, and they say coconut oil is healthier and makes you more beautiful to boot.  Sign me up.

From there I found a bit of shredded, unsweetened coconut in the pantry, and also unearthed a small bottle of coconut flavoring in the spice cabinet.  There were pecans, too, and it seemed the banana bread's fate was sealed: Chocolate Chip gave way to Coconut Pecan Banana Bread.

I wasn't sure if it was going to taste great, but for coconut, I will risk much.

When I pulled the first two loaves out of the oven an hour or so later, they smelled amazing.  I waited a whole 25 seconds before loosening the loaf and turning it out on to the counter, exercising much restraint.  I snapped some quick pictures and then grabbed the knife - the moment of truth.

It tasted fabulous - banana'y, a little coconutty, and a lot delicious, with a bit of added crunch from the toasted coconut on top.

Let's bake.

Coconut Pecan Banana Bread

1 c coconut oil, melted
1 1/2 c sugar
3 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 t coconut extract
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 t cinnamon
4 mashed bananas
3/4 c chopped pecans
1/2 c shredded, unsweetened coconut

Oven to 325.  Grease loaf pans (makes 2 9" loaves or 4 5" mini loaves).

Beat oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and coconut extract.  In another bowl, combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Add to the oil mixture, and just combine.  Fold in the mashed bananas, coconut (reserving a bit for sprinkling on top of the loaves), and pecans.

Pour into prepared pans, filling 2/3 of the way.  Bake 50 minutes for mini loaves, 1 hour for regular loaves, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Keep in mind, though, that they will continue to cook just a bit in the pans after you take them out of the oven.  Don't overbake - there should be a slight sheen to the very center of the loaf which will disappear as it cools.

This will be so tasty for Easter morning brunch... if they last that long.  I haven't tried it yet, but I have a sneaking suspicion that a smear of Nutella on this would be absolutely amazing.  Comment below if you try it!

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