My Favorite Ingredients - Peanut Butter, Banana, Chocolate, and Honey

I’ve never been good at picking favorites. Don’t ask me my favorite movie, book, or color – when forced to choose, I can’t promise anything more than a weak answer. I can, however, guarantee a strong headache. When I was younger, I could spend hours filling out chain e-mail surveys sent to me by my tween peers that would require me to name everything from my favorite animal, number, brand of clothing, to my favorite hour of day, pattern of wallpaper, shape of rock. I spent an unreasonable amount of time weighing the possible answers, deliberating over every detail as if my life depended on it. Much to my relief, there was always one question that I never hesitated to answer: what’s your favorite food?

Being that food is such a broad category, it may be for some a more difficult question than “what’s your favorite movie,” but for me, because there are so many varieties and ways to define food, I never felt obligated to narrow my answer down to just one. More often than not, I’d take liberty when it came to my favorite food – of the 250 or so categories I completed on the survey, 249 would have a single item answer and 1 would have an extensive list. Still today, I love sharing with others the list of my favorite foods. In a way, I feel like my favorite ingredients help me express who I am in ways that my favorite color, television show, or flower variety cannot.

Included on my list of favorite ingredients are none other than bananas, peanut butter, chocolate, and honey. As much as I adore each on its own, when combined in the right proportions, their flavors meld to produce a completely out of this world explosion of sweet, salty, sticky, slimy, and smooth. Unfortunately, I have returned empty-handed, time and time again, in my search for a recipe in which these ingredients are baked into something as irresistible as a simple stack of banana slices slathered in a peanut butter-honey sauce and drizzled with melted chocolate (a.k.a. my go-to dining hall dessert concoction throughout my freshman year of college). I’ve even made desperate attempts to develop recipes of my own — mostly muffins — but none of my creations did justice to the glory that is banana, peanut butter, chocolate, and honey.

…Then came the peanut butter banana bread with chunky peanut butter. Although I’ve come to accept the fact that baking my favorite ingredients together will never yield anything as perfect as the glorious stack, this bread comes close, so close – closer than I’ve ever come before. The banana and peanut butter are in perfect harmony, neither one over-powering the other, and the chocolate chips add that perfect bittersweet richness to every bite. To complete the four-ingredient powerhouse, I like to drizzle every thick slice of this decadent bread with a glistening spoonful of my favorite honey. Whether eaten for breakfast, dessert, or late-night snack, I never hesitate to lick up every crumb.

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