For a very long time, I hated bananas. I hated their cloying smell, their sickly-sweet flavor, and their very un-toothsome, pulpy texture. I’d heard all the arguments (“They’re the perfect snack engineered by Mother Nature! So portable! Potassium!”) — yet all these protestations fell flat. I simply did not like the darn things.
Sometime in the last year, however, I had a change of heart. I’m not sure when or how exactly it happened, but it did and I am glad. Once you get past their strange intensity, bananas are pretty special. Some points in their favor:
- They’re in a class all their own. Pomes and stone fruit can often be swapped out for one another (e.g., apples and pears, peaches and nectarines), but distinct banana flavors usually can’t be substituted.
- Nothing beats a banana cream filling in a pie crust… not even chocolate. It’s a fact.
- Bananas have a far wider range of uses than your average fruit. They can be a sweetener, binding agent, creamy base, so on and so forth.
- Last, but certainly not least, you can throw them in bread.
I did exactly that last week, and used one fantastic recipe to guide me. It’s got everything you could want in a banana bread (and, of course, without the butter): whole wheat flour, olive oil, yogurt, bananas, and chocolate. I shared this at a dinner gathering, warmed and topped with extra chocolate chips and vanilla ice cream. After each person received their plate, I experienced that lovely silence signaling a major chow down moment.
Lemony olive oil banana bread
Recipe on 101 Cookbooks, as developed by Melissa Clark and adapted by Heidi Swanson
I followed the recipe almost to the letter, with the exceptions of using dark chocolate chips and an extra 4 ounces of banana. Although I had my reservations, I also made the full amount of icing — which, thanks to the citrus, turned out as tangy as it was sweet. While the banana bread would be delicious without the frosting, I highly recommend adding it in; that extra kick takes the dish from hearty snack cake to wholesome dessert. Definitely delicious.