I’m ready for a break from winter – and good luck to me on that, since it’s only January. Staring down another month of dreary, dim days and arctic temperatures could drive me to despair, but I’m happy to report it drove me to the kitchen instead. To cheer myself up with a reminder of warmer, sunnier days ahead, I came up with Slice of Paradise Tropical Quick Bread: it’s moist, sweet, and eats like a donut, yet it’s healthier than a lot of treats which tempt me when I’ve got the winter blues. If you need a mid-winter pick me up, give this a try – it’s good vibes, in quick bread form.
A Worthwhile Splurge
This is a reasonably healthy quick bread, except for the topping – which consists of a bit of sugar, a bit of butter, and two bits of sweetened coconut. You can definitely leave it off and the bread will still be delicious, but if you can spare a splurge, this one’s worth it. The coconut gives the effect of candied confetti, and adds a lot of visual fun as well as a bit of controlled decadence. Eating this bread with the topping reminded me of those coconut-crusted donuts I was so fond of back in the day, only fresher, moister and more flavorful. And no hole in the middle, of course.
Another option would be to top it or spread slices with a sugar free cream cheese frosting. And an even healthier treat would be to serve slices topped with fresh fruit salad. The bread is so moist and dense it’s very reminiscent of pound cake, and a fruit topping could make it a perfect light dessert. You could even use it in a trifle…with a versatile bread like this, the possibilities are endless.
Slice of Paradise Tropical Quick Bread
1 large, ripe banana
1 tbs olive oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup sucralose/Splenda
1 1/2 cups canned crushed pineapple in juice
the grated rind of an orange
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups regular flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt substitute
Caramelized Coconut Topping (a bit of a splurge, completely optional but delicious)
1 tbs melted butter (or Earth Balance Buttery Stick for vegans)
2 tbs shredded sweetened coconut
1 tbs sugar
cinnamon to sprinkle over
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use nonstick spray to grease a 9x5x3″ loaf pan. In a large bowl, beat the banana with an electric mixer until it’s creamed. Stir in the applesauce, oil, sugar, and sucralose until it’s a smooth mixture. Stir in the pineapple, orange rind, and vanilla until all are well combined.
Whisk the remaining ingredients together in a medium bowl, then gradually fold them into the wet ingredients until everything’s just combined – don’t over-mix. Transfer the batter to the loaf pan and bake for an hour.
If you’re going to splurge on the Caramelized Coconut Topping:
Take the bread out of the oven 15 minutes before the baking time’s up. Brush the top of the bread with the melted butter, then sprinkle on the coconut and sugar. Dust a little cinnamon over everything to finish, then pop the bread back into the oven for another 15 minutes of baking.