Jamaican Banana Bread

Don’t be afraid to play around with spices here. Scale them up or down depending on how richly spiced you want your bread to be. I purposefully kept the last two measurements as “handfuls”, and yes, certainly, we all have different sized hands. But I think it’s a little more fun, at times, to approach baking with a wee bit of irreverence. Don’t go over 1/2 cups measures for either the coconut or ginger and you should be all set. While unsweetened coconut flakes (sometimes called chips) are a bit harder to find, they’re worth seeking out. Not only will they keep your banana bread from getting cloyingly sweet (as I find with sweetened shredded coconut), but also it’ll be that much healthier without the added sugar.

8 tablespoons (113 grams) unsalted butter, plus more for the pan, softened
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons (7 grams) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (1.5 grams) baking soda
3/4 teaspoons ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup (160 grams) palm sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
3 overripe bananas, mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup sour cream, plain yogurt, or well-shaken buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons rum (light, dark, or spiced)
A handful of unsweetened coconut flakes
A handful of crystallized ginger, finely chopped

Position the rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 375 degrees F. Butter a (9×5-inch) loaf pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, and salt until combined.

In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until light and creamy, 4 to 5 minutes. Set the mixer speed to medium and add in the eggs, one at a time, bananas, sour cream, vanilla and rum, stopping the mixer and scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl before each addition.

Add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture and mix on low, just until the flour is moist and no longer visible. Do not overmix. Gently stir in the coconut flakes and ginger to incorporate.

Scoop the batter out into the baking pan and smooth out the top. Bake around 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Let the bread cool completely. Wrap it in a kitchen towel and let it age at least one day before eating. If you break down and have a piece before hand, I won’t judge you, I promise.

Makes 1 loaf.

© 2018 Olga Massov