Top Pick Of The Week

June 9, 2009

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Banana Bread

Very moist and naturally sweet from ripe bananas, banana bread goes easily from breakfast to a lunch and dinner dessert to an all-day (and night) snack. Photo by Lulu Durand | IST.

WHAT IT IS: Banana bread.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Five flavors beyond the classic.
WHY WE LOVE IT: A delicious treat from breakfast through midnight snacks, with great freezability; defrosts quickly (or instantly with a slight nuke).

Hannah Banana Bread:
Comfort Me

CAPSULE REPORT: Some listen to Tim McGraw sing “Comfort Me.” Others dig in to a batch of Hannah Banana Bread. We fall into the latter group of comfort seekers. Lacking the time to bake our own banana bread, we have happily discovered Hannah Banana’s. While this banana bread loaf has a five- to seven-day shelf life, we have discovered that we can keep it in the freezer, making quick snacks of frozen slices à la mode (think ice cream cake) or giving them a slight nuke into extra-moist, warm comfort, enjoyed with a cup of tea or a glass of milk (or, why not, more ice cream).

Banana bread is an all-American comfort food that has fallen too far off the radar. Unlike with chocolate chip cookies or cheesecake, home bakers need to plan ahead; the bananas need to be very ripe. If you try to buy it, banana bread doesn’t even make the Top 10 list of commercial baked goods. We rarely come across it in artisan bakeries, either. But depending on what poll you read, bananas are the most popular fruit in America. We eat 28 pounds of them a year. What gives?

This void of banana bread means opportunity for a specialist in the genre like Hannah Banana Bread. This small, family-owned company makes banana bread in six flavors: Classic, Blueberry, Chocolate Chip, White Chocolate Caramel Walnut, Butterscotch Caramel and Walnut. For Father’s Day or any other gift occasion, the company will put three loaves in a gift box. Just don’t forget to put yourself on the gift list. Read the full review below.

THE NIBBLE does not sell the foods we review
or receive fees from manufacturers for recommending them.

Our recommendations are based purely on our opinion, after tasting thousands of products each year, that they represent the best in their respective categories.


More Top Pick Of The Week Cakes

Cheesecake Burger Great Spirits Cake Lava Cake
Elegant Cheesecakes. If you can splurge, Elegant Cheesecakes makes wonderful cheesecakes and yellow & chocolate cakes, incredibly decorated in the shape of anything, like this burger-shaped cake. Read the review. Great Spirits Baking Company. In the spirit of a great gift, these bundt cakes are soaked in premium liqueurs and other alcohols. The best we’ve ever had of the genre, beautifully gift-boxed. Read the review. Molten Chocolate Cake. Celebrate with individual “lava cakes,” using this easy and delicious mix from The King’s Cupboard. Firm on the outside with a liquid inside and very chocolatey. Read the review.

Hannah Banana Bread: Comfort Me


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Hannah Banana Bread is a dream come true. Many people dream of turning their recipe for brownies, salsa, barbecue sauce or other dish acclaimed by friends and family into a commercial success. A few do but most don’t, because no matter how good the recipe may be, the marketplace is full of brownies, salsas and barbecue sauce; retailers, distributors and, perhaps most importantly, consumers aren’t clamoring for another one. The lesson from Hannah Banana Bread is Hannah Banana Breadto produce a product that isn’t ubiquitous. The world actually did need a good banana bread when young mom Lisa Spinner decided to try her hand at selling her family recipe to coffee houses, specialty grocers and restaurants in the greater Chicago area. Online sales enabled the business to expand to personal and corporate gifts.

Lisa added other specialty loaf breads—pumpkin, apple cinnamon, Irish soda bread and other treats that one doesn’t come across every day. Over time, the business grew large enough so that husband Peter left his corporate position to manage the business end, enabling Lisa to focus on production and product development.

Today, the Hannah Banana brand is represented nationwide by Kehe Food Distributors, a leading specialty foods distribution company, which is part of what a small specialty food manufacturer needs to be successful (a manufacturer can’t get broad retail distribution without a distributor or broker acting as its larger sales organization). Hopefully, those sales reps have gotten to your neck of the woods; but if not, you can buy as much Hannah Banana Bread as you want online.

After our second order, we’re so hooked on the Chocolate Chip and the Walnut banana bread varieties that we hide it in the back of the freezer and certainly don’t offer any to guests. We’re not only comforted, we’re covetous. Read about our favorite new casual treat on the next page.

— Karen Hochman

Continue To Page 2: Varieties Of Banana Bread

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