These little loaves are similar to cinnamon rolls, only with tropical flavors. Made with my favorite challah dough, they are filled with mashed banana, toasted coconut, and vanilla extract, twisted into spirals, and sprinkled with additional coconut for a delightful crunch. Like my cinnamon fig challah loaves, they were a big hit with my one-year-old twins, who look forward to sampling new challah variations on Friday nights.
Banana Coconut Rolls
4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup olive oil
1 ½ to 2 bananas
¾ cup shredded, toasted coconut, plus more for sprinkling
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, plus more for egg wash
1 tablespoon water
Splash of vanilla extract
- In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, salt, sugar, and yeast. Stir in warm water, olive oil, and eggs until smooth. Add additional 2 cups of flour a half cup at a time (you may not need all of the flour,) stirring until a soft dough begins to form. On a lightly floured work surface, knead until smooth and elastic; if dough is too sticky, sprinkle with just a little more flour.
- Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm spot to rise until doubled in size, around 30-45 minutes.
- Mash bananas and stir in vanilla extract; set aside.
- Divide dough into 12 equal-sized pieces and roll into thin ovals or rectangles about 1/4 inch thick. Spread each piece with approximately 1 tablespoon mashed banana mixture, and sprinkle with one tablespoon shredded, toasted coconut. (See note below.) Roll up lengthwise as tightly as possible, forming logs. Shape each log into a spiral, tucking ends underneath. Transfer to a baking sheet, cover, and let rise for 20 minutes in a warm spot.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare egg wash: in a small bowl, combine egg, water, and vanilla. When rolls finish rising, brush with egg wash. Sprinkle surfaces with toasted coconut.
- Bake for around 22 minutes, until rolls are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped underneath. Let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire cooling rack.
- Once cool, serve right away or store at room temperature in an airtight container for several days.
Note: Feel free to improvise the amount of banana, vanilla, and coconut; as long as you are able to fill each roll with a thin layer of banana, a generous sprinkle of coconut, and a splash of vanilla, these will turn out delicious.