I spend a lot of time looking at recipes. I read cookbooks like most read from books from the NY Times bestseller list. My bedside is littered with layers upon layers of food magazines from across the world. And man, of course I look at a lot (a lot!) of food blogs for crazy good inspiration.
But one of the biggest traps I find myself getting into when I’m creating a weeknight dinner or Sunday breakfast, is I end up cooking to create content for this blog, instead of for fun or frivolity.
Yes, cooking is creative and yes, I love it. But sometimes, I don’t want to think about composing photos of ingredients or taking photos of the finished product or swatting hungry hands away from the hot goods before they can dig in.
Sometimes I just want to recreate something delicious I see from a food blogger online. To be inspired by someone else’s recipe. To take it for a spin and give it a go. Just because it looks so. dang. good. rather than having to work for it.
And this, THIS, is a prime example…
Naomi’s recipe for Toasted Pecan and Coconut Banana Bread (above) fom Bakers Royale inspired me just. like. that. I mean, doesn’t Naomi make it look good enough to eat?
I dare you to say no. Double dog dare you.
Now, I already have a favorite banana bread recipe that’s pretty hard to beat. I mean, how can you go wrong when adding chocolate chips? But with three overly ripe bananas (as in, verging on the edge of finding my husband hucking them into the garbage can) sitting on my counter, and an eager little girl asking for muffins for breakfast and my eager eyes perusing the bounty of gorgeous food blogs in my RSS feed, it’s obvious why Naomi’s recipe spoke to me.
Or maybe it was simply the combination of banana bread, pecans and coconut that spoke to me?!??!! (one of my favorite flavor combinations—Taylor Swift style—like, ever.) Either which way, I signed right on.
About the recipe:
Smudge wanted muffins so we got out the muffin tins, the muffin liners and got to work while working on her fractions as we measured along. Cooking is the best form of math so far as I can tell, because 4th grade math is HARD for this old mama, and baking is the best reward.
She wanted to add spices (because isn’t that the funnest part when you’re a 9 years old?) and so we added a few new ingredients to Naomi’s original recipe.
Then I forgot to toast the pecans. Naomi toasts hers for extra flavor, we added them in plain. We remembered to toast the coconut. Sampled a few bites. And tossed it in.
So many banana breads call for oil in the recipe, but this one had nary a drop in sight. The extra ripe bananas and a shot of buttermilk were all we needed for a moist and perfectly textured crumb and a muffin that made a perfectly raised dome.
Add a swipe, or four, of softened, salted butter and oh my, oh my. Pure heav.en.
So how in the heck did this whole escape from cooking for the fun of it instead of for the blog come about?
I caved. I couldn’t resist. I started taking pictures. This tribute to Naomi’s original recipe was just too pretty, and too good, not to share.
And that, my friends, is the perfect reminder that cooking doesn’t have to be complicated or ‘overthunk’. It just has to be fun, and fun happens when you make it yours. And a 9 year old co-chef in the kitchen doesn’t hurt much either.
- ½ cup sweetened coconut, toasted and cooled
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- 1¾ cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 3 very ripe bananas, peeled and smashed
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 12 cup muffin tin with muffin liners or spray with cooking spray.
- Whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together in a medium size bowl. Add the toasted coconut and pecans and whisk to combine.
- Place smashed bananas and sugar in a stand mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on low until combined. Add the egg, vanilla and buttermilk and beat until combined.
- Fold in flour mixture with a wooden spoon or spatula. Using a 1 ounce scooper, fill the muffin tins ⅔ of the way full.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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