A favourite recipe I first made when we were last home in Canada, a little over three years ago now. This fruit sweetened coconut banana bread is a healthy-ish chocolate treat, made with dates and whole grain spelt flour. Sweet but not too sweet and with a lovely nutty flavour.
I have recipes for vegan banana bread and vegan coconut bread on OE, but combined, they’re the best of both. This is a one-bowl recipe if you have an immersion blender – otherwise, the date mixture can be done in a standing blender.
Whole spelt flour adds a good nutritional element to the bread so you can happily eat it for breakfast or a snack as well as dessert. And all the fruit certainly keeps this loaf from drying out, with the dates giving a slightly caramel flavour that pairs well with dark chocolate and banana.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Bananas: spotty, at least. The bananas are a major sweetening element, so they need to be ripe. There is no substitute for bananas or dates. Applesauce isn’t sweet enough and it contains too much liquid to be easily substituted for one of the main ingredients.
- Coconut oil: I really highly recommend using coconut oil for this recipe. Since you’re using coconut in the bread in any case, there shouldn’t be any allergen issues, and it gives the best texture and flavour by far.
- Whole grain spelt flour: Substitute light (white) spelt flour if preferred. All-purpose white flour, whole wheat, and whole wheat pastry flour can also be used, though I would suggest using weight measurements if possible to ensure the correct amounts.
- Spices: cinnamon and nutmeg. Change up the spices based on your preference – cardamom is a nice addition.
Step by Step
Step 1: blend the wet ingredients until fully combined.
Step 2: add the dry ingredients and mix.
Step 3: fold in the chocolate chips.
Step 4: transfer to a bread tin and bake.
Adding the sliced banana on top is very pretty, but it does brown a bit if the bread is left out at room temperature for more than a day, and gets soggy if thawed from frozen. If you plan to store the loaf, in the freezer or otherwise, leave the banana off.
To use a standing blender, simply add all of the wet ingredients to it and mix until smooth. Pour this mixture into a bowl and continue with the remaining steps. This recipe doesn’t work when made fully in a blender due to over-mixing of the spelt flour and loss of coconut texture.
How to Store
Storage: keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to five days. I don’t recommend storing this at room temperature for any length of time.
Freezing: place the cooled loaf in an airtight container and freeze for up to three months. Don’t top with the extra banana if you plan on freezing it.
- Soak the dates: if your dates are a little too dry or hard to blend, soak them in very hot water for an hour or two before starting.
- Cool fully: cool the loaf fully before slicing for the cleanest slices. Since it’s whole wheat and fruit-sweetened, it’s a bit crumbly until the coconut oil has cooled and set.
- Use room temperature ingredients: if the milk is cold before blending, the coconut oil will look as though it’s curdled. It isn’t, and it’ll turn out fine. To avoid this, bring the milk to room temperature before mixing.
More Coconut Desserts
Dark Chocolate Coconut Bars
Coconut Panna Cotta
Coconut Milk Rice Pudding
Chocolate Coconut Balls
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Chocolate Chip Coconut Banana Bread
- 3 medium spotty bananas peeled (400 grams or 14 oz., weighed with peel)
- 100 grams soft dates
- 250 ml oat milk
- 60 grams coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 300 grams whole grain spelt flour
- 80 grams unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg*
- 100 grams dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) and grease or line a standard loaf tin.
- Add the bananas, dates, milk, coconut oil, and vanilla to a large mixing bowl. Use an immersion blender to mix until smooth, with no lumps remaining.3 medium spotty bananas, 100 grams soft dates, 250 ml oat milk, 60 grams coconut oil, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Add the flour, coconut, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the bowl. Stir until just combined, being careful not to over mix.300 grams whole grain spelt flour, 80 grams unsweetened shredded coconut, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg*
- Carefully fold in chocolate chips with a wooden spoon or spatula.100 grams dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
- Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf tin. Top with another banana, halved lengthwise, if desired.
- Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 15 minutes before carefully removing from the tin and cooling completely before slicing.
- The bread freezes well (without the decorative banana) in an airtight container and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days.
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.
This recipe was first published in January 2019. It has been updated with slight improvements as of September 2021.
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