This is a dense, moist bread with such a tender crumb that it feels light. The tenderness is delivered without the usual greasiness of sweet breads — it gets its moisture from ripe bananas instead of relying on the large amounts of oil typically used. It is also perfectly sweet with a great texture on the top from coarse-grained sugar, and a hint of cinnamon and ginger.
Coconut flour generally requires a lot more moisture than “regular” flours, but this just allows us to pack more banana – and more banana flavor – into this bread. For the most intense banana flavor, make sure to use very, very ripe bananas. The almond and coconut flour mixture lend a subtle nuttiness that is a perfect foil for the sweet bananas. I think these may be the best flours to cook banana bread with regardless if you need to eat gluten-free or not – along with the nuttiness, they give it a denseness but also a completely soft, tender crumb, almost to the point of creaminess, unlike more glutinous, chewy flours.
Although this is a “coconut and lime” banana bread, the coconut flakes and lime can be left out to leave you with a delicious, classic banana bread, without coconut flavor. However, using just the zest and lime juice gives the bread a subtle flavor lift without it being necessarily “lime-y”.
It was a lot of fun to experiment and create a gluten-free recipe featuring coconut and almond flour – a big thank-you to my aunt Margo who recently gifted me the flours along with a bunch of other fun ingredients!
- 1 1/2 cup mashed banana (~3 large bananas)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 cup agave
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- zest and juice of 1 lime (optional)
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 cup cornstarch*
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground ceylon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut or toasted, unsweetened flaked coconut (optional)
- 1 tablespoon coarse-grained sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9x5 loaf pan with parchment paper and spray/lightly grease with oil.
- Mash the bananas and measure out 1 1/2 cups if you haven't done so already. Mix the bananas with the coconut oil, agave, sugar, vanilla, and lime zest and juice until well-combined.
- Measure and sift the almond flour, coconut flour, and cornstarch - this is important because these flours tend to clump. If you don't have a sifter, use a whisk and a fine-mesh sieve. Add to the wet ingredients along with the baking soda, spices, and salt and mix well. Stir in the coconut flakes until well-distributed.
- Use a spatula to scoop the mixture into the loaf pan and smooth out (it will be very thick). Sprinkle the tablespoon of sugar on top and lightly press into the batter.
- Bake for 50-55 minutes in the center of the oven or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let the bread cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting for the best texture.
- *Or substitute tapioca flour, although cornstarch is a whole lot cheaper.