The Mr’s family owns a soccer club, so two full weekends out of the year are dedicated to helping out at the major tournaments. Typically there are many, many bananas involved — and some often leftover after the tournament is over. Never wanting to waste anything, I usually end up taking home bunches of bananas to stick in the freezer.
This week I made ready use of the bananas. I sorted through all of my cookbooks searching for recipes to use all the bananas overflowing my freezer. I made I don’t know how many loaves this week. Some to give away (a friend just had a new baby, so one went with the meal I prepared for her family), some to bring to the ladies who work with me in the nursery at church for a mid-week pick-me-up before service starts, and some to send with the Mr to his restaurant to bless his staff… So many loaves and all different recipes.
Unsurprisingly, one of my favorite recipes was one that slightly took it up a notch! The Williams-Sonoma recipe from my copy of The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook/Entertaining Set included not only a bright spark of lemon zest, but also complementary bits of chopped dates flecked throughout with the chopped, toasted pecans. The result was a stiffer-than-usual batter, but a sweeter-than-usual loaf.
It wasn’t overly sweet, but the rivulets of date throughout brought unexpected bursts of earthy caramel-like flavor that felt completely right. Like this was the way banana bread was meant to be the whole time. The fresh lemon zest enlivens the pungent banana. Only a couple slices were left at the end of the night, which I sent home with a sweet lady whose kids had eaten hers after sampling!
I’ve heard of adding chocolate chips, but what are some of your other favorite additions to banana bread?