Must-Make Banana, Coconut, and Medjool Date Bread

Made with fragrant toasted coconut, succulent Medjool dates, and crunchy walnuts, this is one unforgettably moist, delicious banana bread.

1 cup lightly toasted shredded sweetened coconut
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs plus 4 egg whites
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 small very ripe bananas (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup pitted, coarsely chopped Medjool dates
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped


Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Coat 1 (8 1/2 X 4 1/2 -inch) loaf pan with cooking spray.

To toast the coconut, place in a dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

In a medium size bowl, whisk the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

In a large bowl, beat brown sugar and eggs. Add buttermilk, oil, and vanilla; beat until batter is smooth. Lower the speed; add the bananas and beat briefly (it's ok if the batter has a few lumps).

Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix until just incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the dates, walnuts, and toasted coconut. The batter will be thick. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 60-75 minutes, or until the top is a deep golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. Check the bread about halfway through. If you feel like the top is getting too brown, then tent the pan with a piece of aluminum foil and continue baking. You can also place the pan on two stacked baking sheets in the center of the oven to prevent the bottom of the bread from getting too browned.

Transfer the bread to a rack; let cool for 10 minutes, then unmold and place on a rack to cool to room temperature.