I never truly embraced banana bread (or zucchini bread, or carrot cake) and only make it for the very sound reason that I often have black bananas.  And having lived through the Great Depression and traveled Route 66 through most of the dust bowl with all my possessions on my car I would never throw a banana away just because it was a little past its prime.


Wait, that wasn’t me, that was Tom Joad.  The point is: don’t waste food.


With a brand-spanking new kitchen begging me to cook my little heart out this fine winter weekend, a cohort of black bananas, and just enough hazelnut spread on hand, Nutella Swirled Banana Bread became inevitable.


This recipe is from Zoe Bakes.  It is simple and straightforward and makes two loaves.  Nice if you like freezing stuff or giving it away, both of which I do.


Sidetrack: for all of my blind love of Cook’s Illustrated even I concede that sometimes their pursuit of perfection gets out of hand and what they ask you to do to make banana bread demonstrates a profound loss of perspective.  Observe [From “Ultimate Banana Bread,” July 2010]:


“Place 5 bananas in microwave-safe bowl; cover with plastic wrap and cut several steam vents in plastic with paring knife. Microwave on high power until bananas are soft and have released liquid, about 5 minutes. Transfer bananas to fine-mesh strainer placed over medium bowl and allow to drain, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes (you should have ½ to ¾ cup liquid).”


I’m sorry, a “fine-mesh strainer”???  To make 1/2 cup of banana liquid???  Most of us are not training for the Bocuse d’Or, we just want to use up some old bananas and, preferably, not dirty every object in the kitchen in the process.  Doesn’t the mere thought of juicing bananas make you want to forget the whole thing and go out to brunch?  It’s supposed to be American peasant food and that never, ever, requires a fine-mesh strainer.


Back to main track.


This recipe merely asks you to mash the poor aged bananas, mix wet ingredients, dry ingredients, and eventually introduce them to each other.  Pour into loaf pans, swirl in a bit more Nutella on top and bake.


It’s good stuff folks.