Banana Trail Mix Bread

Can I share a secret with you? It’s something I’ve come to realize after bookmarking and underlining countless different baking recipes. Here it is: to be a great baker, you don’t actually need a ton of diverse recipes.

We recipe creators and food bloggers create unique recipes for every delectable variety, but in reality, there’s no need to continually reinvent the wheel. Finding the ideal base recipe will force you to understand a lot about the interactions between ingredients and substitutes. Once you’ve discovered that fantastic base recipe, you may then alter it as you choose. Your next iteration of your foundation recipe may be inspired by one of the many other recipes out there.

For instance, consider this banana “trail mix” bread. One of my favorite and most trustworthy recipe sources, Deb of Smitten Kitchen, provided the basic recipe. Start with recipes from reliable sources wherever possible. She shared a recipe for double coconut muffins and said that we could omit the yogurt from the recipe and use mashed bananas instead. Eureka!

That tiny pearl of substitute knowledge inspired me to create my whole wheat, honey-sweetened banana coconut muffins, a delicious variant on her original. Then I used those muffins as the foundation for this loaf of bread and added chopped, dried fruit, nuts, and oats in place of some of the flour.

Want more illustrations? When I used yogurt in place of the banana, these banana oat pancakes became blueberry lemon yogurt pancakes. I used pumpkin purée instead of the mashed banana in my go-to basic banana bread recipe, and I also added more comforting spices. By substituting honey for the maple syrup and adding cheese and finely chopped jalapenos, you can make this maple-sweetened cranberry cornbread cheesy. My blueberry muffins might just as easily be made with cranberries and oranges or blackberries and thyme. The same is true for these maple tea cakes and yogurt scones. You’ll probably enjoy the outcome if you enjoy the foundation and the add-ins.

Please read my notes on natural sweetener alternatives in my fast molasses bread post as well as all the wonderful recommendations in the comments on my banana bread and pumpkin bread posts for even more variety inspiration. When you all try my recipes and report back with your substitute notes and outcomes, it makes me so happy. We appreciate you sharing ideas and inspiration with the rest of us, wonderful commentators.

I’m curious to know how you adapt this recipe to your tastes and dietary needs. In the event that it gives you a thought, I’ll offer what I believe might be effective. You can omit any of the ingredients, however I recommend adding the coconut flakes because I think they make the batter. Change the cherries, candied ginger, and pecans for any other dried fruit, and the chopped dark chocolate for any other type of chocolate or chocolate chips. You may omit the cinnamon and add lemon zest for a more vibrant flavor, or you could swap the honey for another natural sweetener.

You could probably substitute yogurt for banana, melted butter for coconut oil (which usually works well), or gluten-free flour for whole wheat pastry flour. Since there isn’t much flour in the recipe to begin with, I would imagine the gluten-free flour will work well. Please let us know how it turns out if you use any of these substitutions.

Also read: Tex-Mex Omelet with Roasted Cherry Tomato Salsa


  • 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour, ordinary whole wheat flour, or 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour.
  • Oats, 1/2 cup
  • Baking powder, 1 1/2 tablespoons
  • Table salt, 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon
  • 34 cup split unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup of minced candied ginger
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped cranberries or cherries
  • 12 cup chopped, toasted pecans
  • 1 12 ounces of chopped dark chocolate (or 1/4 cup; you could instead use chocolate chips)
  • 12 cup melted virgin coconut oil
  • 1 cup mashed banana, ripe
  • honey, 1/4 cup
  • Ideally, one large egg should be at room temperature.
  • Vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon
  • 1 tablespoon of raw turbinado sugar


  1. Turn on the 375°F oven. Butter a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan (see note below on how to make muffins).
  2. Mix the flour, oats, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a medium basin. Add the chopped ginger, dried fruit, pecans, and dark chocolate after mixing in the 12 cup of shredded coconut.
  3. Mix the coconut oil, mashed banana, honey, egg, and vanilla in a separate medium bowl.
  4. *After adding the liquid components, mix the dry ingredients only until they are barely blended. Place the remaining 1/4 cup of coconut on top of the batter before pouring it into the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle some turbinado (raw) sugar on top.
  5. Bake for at least 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Before slicing, let the bread cool in the pan. I discovered that my sharp paring knife worked better than a serrated bread knife because this bread is dense and difficult to slice.