Maybe it’s because the weather in Stockholm the past few days has felt so much like fall… or maybe it’s because everyone on Facebook seems to be in Hawaii right now… or maybe it’s because we recently celebrated our third wedding anniversary and reminisced about our amazing honeymoon on Maui… whatever it is, Hawaii has been on my mind lately. So much so that I had to create a classic Hawaiian treat – banana bread.
Hawaii was always one of those places that I didn’t have a big desire to explore… both Chris and my families were big on traveling to exotic countries, exploring new cultures, and ancient histories. So Hawaii seemed too touristy and too… well, American, for us. But we were SO wrong.
As a disclaimer, we only went to Maui and yes, we definitely stayed in a touristy area (we were on our honeymoon!). But one of our favorite activities we did was rent a car and drive the Road to Hana…and beyond… we went the long way round and it was so worth it.
What we discovered is that Hawaii is rich in its own culture, history, and intense beauty. We hiked through jungles to see amazing waterfalls.
We walked through an ancient Polynesian temples full of mystery and incredible stories.
We drove through the barren part of the island and saw a side that most tourists don’t get to see.
And we had the most amazing banana bread from the smallest little banana bread stand on the side of the road. Seriously, I dream about this banana bread….
I can’t remember the name (if it even had a name… as you can see, it was literally just at someone’s house) but this particular stand was described in the book Maui Revealed – if you are going to Maui I highly recommend this book, as it was written by a family who lived on Maui for several years. And please, find this banana bread stand! It’ll be worth it, I promise.
So as we reminisced about our amazing honeymoon, the thought of making banana bread sprang to mind. But of course, I didn’t want to JUST make banana bread… so I added coconut (the cream and flakes, both amazing ideas in the end) and created a creamcheese topping to die for.
Seriously, these are SO good… we ate them in less than a day (don’t worry, half batch!). They don’t look like much, but within them is a moist and creamy deliciousness that I promise you will not regret.
Now, how does any of this relate to a blog about living in Sweden…. Hawaii, banana bread, honeymoons? Well, when Chris and I talked about our unexpectedly positive experience in Hawaii, it made me realize that sometimes when we are so focused on exploring other countries, we forget to explore the one we’re in. That was true to an extent for us in the US, and sadly even more true now in Sweden. Sure, we go to the cabin in Dalarna… and we drove to Oslo with some friends… but we have done very little exploring of the country we have called home for two years. So, the new goal is to do more exploring right here! Starting with a trip to the Southwest coast of Sweden in September, to visit my cousin in Halmstad… and then to the Northeast coast in October to visit another cousin in Örnsköldsvik… and possibly a trip WAY north this winter to Abisko to visit a friend who is moving there… and hopefully many more places to come in this beautiful country. Because just like Hawaii felt like a whole new world, Sweden is also full of completely different cultural regions… so while we’re living here, we might as well get out of our bubble and explore!
If you’ve xplored Sweden and have any suggestions, we’d love to hear recommendations! And if you follow me on instagram, I promise to share all our adventures there :).
So, with that – I leave you with this amazing banana bread recipe, and maybe some inspiration to explore the place that you call home :).
P.S. Since becoming pregnant my energy level has dropped… add to that my thesis being due in the fall and the likelihood that I will start working part time soon, means that I have to scale back a bit on blog posting. Don’t worry, I still plan to do it! But weekly posts feels a bit too much…. so I’m going to try bi-weekly posts and will let you know how that goes :).
Coconut Banana Bread Muffins with Creamcheese Topping
- ½ cup butter / 115 g smör
- ¾ cup sugar / 1.8 dl socker
- ½ cup finely shredded coconut / 1.2 dl rivenkokos
- 2 eggs / ägg
- ¾ cup coconut cream / 1.8 dl kokosgrädde
- 2 bananas / bananer
- 2 cups flour / 2.4 dl vetemjöl
- 1 tsp baking soda / natriumbikarbonat
- 8 oz cream cheese / 226 g färskost
- ¼ cup sugar / 0.6 dl socker
- ¼ cup finely shredded coconut / 0.6 dl rivenkokos
- 1 egg yolk / äggula
- Preheat the oven to 375°F / 190°C.
- Soften the butter, then cream together with the sugar.
- Add the eggs and coconut, stirring until fully combined.
- Add the coconut cream and bananas, mashing well until there are no large chunks left.
- Mix flour and baking soda together, then stir into the wet mixture until just combined.
- Line a muffin tin and scoop the mixture into each cup, filling about ¾ way full.
- Cream together the cream cheese, sugar, coconut, and egg yolk in a separate bowl.
- Scoop about 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture on top of each unbaked muffin, using a fork to gently spread the mixture.
- Bake the muffins in the preheated oven for 17-20 minutes.