This island banana bread is moist, packed full of flavour and naturally sweetened! The addition of shredded coconut, macadamia nuts and a delectable buttered spiced rum sauce takes this Bahamian dessert to a whole new level.
An Overview of Bahamaian Cuisine
Welcome to the Bahamas! We are now almost two weeks into our cooking around the world challenge and by some miracle, our kitchen (and friendship) is still going strong.
We have to be honest here. After the struggles of our Antiguan black bean cakes, we were a little trepidatious about facing another Caribbean cuisine. Similar to Antigua, the traditional dishes of the Bahamas feature a lot of seafood, and not a huge selection of vegetarian options. There is a strong Latin American influence on Bahamian cuisine, which is particularly evident in the spices used.
As you’ll see below, there are very slim pickings when it comes to savoury dishes that are meat-free. But hey, who needs proper food when you have cocktails and dessert to get you through the day?
Popular Bahamian Recipes
- Pigeon peas and rice– a very common side dish in Bahamian cuisine, this rice dish is made with pigeon peas, celery, tomatoes and thyme (for vegetarian version, make it/ ask for it without the pork)
- Pea and dumpling soup– similar to the above, this soup contains pigeon peas, stewed tomatoes, assorted vegetables and flour dumplings (again, ask for vegetarian version without the ham)
- Johnnycakes– this is unofficial bread of the Bahamas, made of milk, butter, flour and sugar and cooked in a pan
- Sky Juice– a popular Bahamian cocktail prepared with coconut water, gin, and condensed milk
- Guava duff– This local dessert folds guava into pastry dough and boils it, serving it with a rum custard sauce
- Rum cake– Bundt cake made with a buttered rum sauce
- Island banana bread– banana bread made with shredded coconut and often topped with chopped macadamia nuts before baking.
Making Island Banana Bread with Buttered Rum Sauce
We were very close to making a cocktail and calling it a day for the Bahamas when we stumbled upon a site that listed “Island Banana Bread’ as one of the most popular dishes in the Bahamas. Now, we know the internet is brimming with misinformation, so we have no idea if this is true or not. However, banana bread made with shredded coconut and topped with macadamia nuts sounded too good to pass up.
So we decided to run with it, or should I say, rum with it. In an attempt to make the recipe a little more “Bahamian”, we made a buttered rum sauce (similar to what goes on a Caribbean rum cake) to serve with our island banana bread. The results were simply DIVINE.
We made our banana bread slightly healthier than your average recipe, replacing refined sugar with maple syrup, coconut oil instead of butter, and adding in yogurt to make the bread extra moist and delicious. Of course, this is all slightly counteracted by the indulgent buttered rum sauce we served the bread with, but hey, life is all about balance.
How to make island banana bread
Our island banana bread is seriously easy to make and only requires one bowl (hurray for less clean-up). The buttered rum sauce is also super simple to whip up. It is SO worth the extra five minutes of effort as it takes the banana bread to a whole new level. Here are the basic steps/ timings for this recipe:
- Mix together all the banana bread ingredients in large bowl.
- Pour into a loaf tin and cook for 55 minutes.
- Combine ingredients for buttered rum sauce in pan, boil until thick and pour on the banana bread!
Ingredient notes for banana bread
- Bananas– We used 3 large bananas in this recipe to equal about 1 1/2 cups of mashed banana. If your bananas are on the smaller side, use more. Whatever you do, make sure the bananas you use are nice and ripe. The riper the bananas, the sweeter and tastier your banana bread will be
- Flour- We used a mix of all-purpose and whole wheat flour for our banana bread recipe as we found this combination to give the best texture and taste. However, you can use one or the other if you so desire.
- Spiced rum– We used kraken spiced rum for our sauce. You can use any spiced or dark rum you like!
- Dairy-free alternatives- We used normal milk and greek yogurt in our banana bread. However, if you are dairy-free, you can substitute for any plant-based milk or yogurt. For the sauce, you can sub regular butter for vegan butter or coconut oil.
Serving suggestions for banana bread
If you want an enjoyable banana bread experience, you can spread a slice with plain ol’ butter. If you want an extraordinary banana bread experience, drizzle a slice with our ridiculously delicious buttered rum sauce. Trust us. You won’t regret it.
Other sweet treats to make
- 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 2 eggs
- 3 ripe bananas, mashed
- 1/4 cup milk of choice
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, or sub dairy-free
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp all spice
- 1 cup white flour
- 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
- 3/4 cup desiccated coconut
- Chopped macadamia nuts
- Shredded coconut
Buttered rum sauce:
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp spiced rum
Make the banana bread:
- Preheat over to 165˚C (325˚F) and grease a loaf tin with coconut oil.
- In a large bowl, whisk together melted coconut oil and maple syrup. Add egg and continue to whisk, then add mashed banana, milk, yogurt and vanilla extract and mix well.
- Next, add in baking soda, salt, cinnamon and all spice and mix. Use a big spoon to stir in the flour and desiccated coconut until combined.
- Pour batter into greased loaf tin and bake for 55 minutes (or until toothpick come clean out of the centre). If topping with macadamia nuts and shredded coconut, take out at 45 minutes, add toppings and put back in oven for a further 10 minutes.
Make the buttered rum sauce:
- Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat, then whisk in sugar and water and bring to a boil. Continue to boil for a few minutes, until mixture becomes thick (but still pourable). Remove from heat and stir in spiced rum. Pour over banana bread to serve.
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