Having extra ripe bananas on hand is never a bad thing. There is a ton you can make with ripe bananas; muffins, bread, pancakes, smoothies, ice cream. Or you can just freeze them and use them for later. Not all fruit has this versatility, so I love bananas for this reason. I also love them for their wonderful sweet, hearty, soft taste. And the potassium they have!

We are leaving on a 9 day cruise today. And of course I wanted to get some of the baking bug out of me before we left. I was looking round my kitchen this morning surveying any last produce and perishable items we had. Bananas, eggs, yogurt and dates. PERFECT! I can use all of them in a bread. I went to grab my old camera (It has a zoom lens so I have been trying to use that for food photography) and the dumb thing isn’t working. ARGH! Before I let myself get too frustrated I just continued on with my bread. Yes, I had to snack on the banana and dates as I was going. I truly love both of them. 2 dates have 120 calories. They are rich!

Dates are a new food item in my kitchen. On holidays at relatives houses it seems as though someone always has blue cheese stuffed dates or bacon wrapped dates. And I always love them. But I have just never bought them. A week or so ago I decided to just buy them and then figure out something to make with them. Last year around this time my brother and I stopped at a shake stand on the side of the road and shared a banana date shake. Holy Moly. It was insanely delicious. So this bread reminds me of my brother, because it is inspired by our stop at a roadside shake stand.

Makes 1 loaf

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 bananas, mashed
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup banana or vanilla yogurt (Trader Joe’s has a combination called Vanana, that’s what I used)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (Can substitute apple sauce if you have it)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 t salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped dates (reserve 2 tbsp for the topping on the bread)
* slice the dates in half and remove the pits. Then slice them in half again long ways and chop them into small pieces
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut (Reserve 1 tsbp for the topping on the bread)
pinch cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 9 inch loaf pan.

Combine the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and coconut in a medium bowl.

Mix the eggs, sugar, mashed bananas, vanilla and vegetable oil in a large bowl.

Combine the 2 bowls. Mix until just incorporated, then fold in the dates.

Pour into the greased loaf pan. Topped with the leftover dates and coconut.

Bake for 60-70 minutes, until it is golden brown and a knife inserted comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then allow it to cool completely on a wire rack.
You can serve it warm with some butter, or freeze it and take it out at a later date.

I will be freezing mine since we are leaving in 4 hours for our Mexican Riviera Cruise…Holla!!!!
Since my camera isn’t working, lame! At least you can see a visual of another banana bread.