Banana Bread

MAKES: 1 loaf

TIME: About 1 hour

The best banana bread is a balancing act: It requires a fair amount of fat to keep it moist and lighten the crumb; a little whole wheat flour gives it some substance. And in my opinion, the result should be sweet, but not overly so. Though coconut is my favorite secret ingredient, feel free to omit it or add more nuts, raisins, or other dried fruit instead. This bread keeps better than most quick breads, though it probably won’t be around too long.

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, plus butter for the pan

11/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon salt

11/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

3 very ripe bananas, mashed with a fork until smooth

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1/2 cup shredded dried coconut

Preheat the oven to 350В°F. Grease a 9 Г— 5-inch loaf pan.

Mix the dry ingredients together. With a hand mixer or a whisk or in the food processor, cream the butter and beat in the eggs and bananas. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients just enough to combine (it’s okay if there are lumps). Gently stir in the vanilla, nuts, and coconut.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until nicely browned. A toothpick inserted into the center of the bread will come out fairly clean, but because of the bananas this bread will remain moister than most. Do not overcook. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes before removing from the pan.