Milk and Honey has the BEST banana bread ever. No question, hands down. End of story. Actually, not end of story, or this would be a very short blog post indeed! I will start with full disclosure, as I am a very honest person, too honest at times, but if that is my biggest fault, I’m doing pretty good! Full disclosure. I used to work at Milk and Honey and sometimes still do. I used to bake at Milk and Honey, also, this very banana bread. All that said. It is still the best banana bread I have ever tasted, so I am not going to let the circumstances stop me from writing about it. When I opened my café, I tested quite a few banana bread recipes, as did my business partner, who was the chef, as did our baker who is amazing. They were all goo, just not AS good as Milk and Honey’s. When I owned my café, I used to stop at Milk and Honey and get a piece of this banana bread on my way to Restaurant Depot every Friday morning. It was my treat, as this was a horrible place that I lugged a huge flatbed cart around filled with C-fold towels, cleaning supplies, coffee cups and cans of black beans! A million times worse than Costco on a Saturday afternoon! I need some type of reward and the banana bread was it!
I guess I should tell you about the banana bread first, before I go off on my tangents. (Oops, too late for that!) First, it is an amazing dark brown in color. The flavor is deep and rich and complex and almost that of a praline, maybe because of the walnuts in it. This banana bread is all about sugar and spice and everything nice, lots of cinnamon and nutmeg, maybe even allspice. The top has a great sugary crunch from the turbinado sugar sprinkled on top. Don’t worry; it is not overly sweet by any means. This is not a wimpy banana bread. Carol’s recipe has poppy seeds in it, that much I can reveal, (so don’t go for a drug test after you eat it!) Maybe the poppy seeds contribute to the depth of color and flavor. The poppy seeds do break up the texture, giving the bread a courser grain, not the fine grained tightly textured feel of those other banana breads. Every banana bread I have seen or made is this wimpy light brown/tan/beigy color. Not the rich brown of caramelized sugar, as Milk and Honey’s is. As I said, I used to bake this very banana bread and I still don’t know what makes it this wonderful golden brown color. I think all the other banana breads are as deficient in flavor as they are in color. While some of the other banana breads are very banana”y”, sometimes to a fault, they almost take like fake bananas or banana extract, which reminds me of circus peanuts! Ugh! They lack the depth of flavor that Milk and Honey’s has. Maybe it is the brown sugar that gives it that impressive color and flavor. I don’t know. The loaves are baked in huge Pullman loaves and take forever to bake, maybe that also contributes to the caramelization of color and flavor. I don’t think there are any other tricks up Carol’s sleeve when it comes to this banana bread. You know how some recipes call for sour cream or yogurt or apple sauce to contribute to the moistness. Nope, none of those in Milk and Honey’s banana bread, just good ol’ bananas.
You know. I give up trying to figure out why Milk and Honey’s banana bread is so good. Does it really matter? No. I think I’ll just shut up and eat another piece of this fabulous banana bread and be happy!