Throw Banana Bread On The Barbecue And Thank Us Later

Banana bread and slices
Banana bread and slices - A_Lein/Shutterstock

One of the best things about banana bread is that, in addition to the sugar in your recipe, ripe bananas themselves are packed with natural sweetness. It's part of the reason they work so well on the barbecue, where the intense heat helps caramelize them into a delicious dish. But when banana bread made with that same ripened fruit is also grilled, a similar process takes place, with the Maillard reaction upgrading your slices by concentrating their flavor and activating their aromas. In addition, the slight char of the grill brings a little balancing bitterness, and the smoky flavor complements the sweet bread. You also get the benefit of a textural contrast as slices crisp up slightly, which is a nice touch for an otherwise soft and tender treat.

Grilling your banana bread is simple and takes only about two to three minutes. This works perfectly well with a store-bought favorite, but if you prefer to make your own banana bread, a few tips can help take this dish to new heights.

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Better Banana Bread

Person mashing bananas in bowl
Person mashing bananas in bowl

Before your slices hit the grill, try some tricks to perfect your bread-making process. Using buttermilk in your recipe can add a tang that balances the sweetness of your bananas, and the same goes for sour cream (which will help make an extra moist banana bread) or even Greek yogurt. That complementary coupling of sweet and subtly tart will be elevated by the grilling process, too -- think about the tangy, smoky-sweet profile of many barbecue sauces.

Freezing bananas helps your fruit become its sweetest self, as natural enzymes transform the starches into sugar during thawing, and will caramelize further when the bread made from that fruit is grilled. You can also speed up ripening by setting your bananas in a paper bag or baking them in the oven until they brown up. But while you may want to hasten some parts of the process, refrain from speeding through certain steps when making banana bread. For instance, always mash your fruit well so that it's evenly distributed throughout. This will also help your bread cook evenly on the grill.

Additions To Your Banana Bread

banana bread ice cream sandwiches
banana bread ice cream sandwiches - Hope Phillips/Shutterstock

Some additions to your banana bread will be delicious when grilled. Peaches become soft, sticky, and caramelized in their own juices, and mixing in marshmallows and crushed graham crackers will make a grilled banana bread that can satisfy any craving for s'mores.

On the flip side, be cautious of ingredients that might burn on the grill. Nuts like walnuts and pecans are high in oils and can take a turn from toasted to destroyed quickly. Bacon banana bread is also delicious, but the thin bits of pork can scorch easily, and the grease can be a fire hazard. If you still want the flavor of these ingredients, it's best to add them on top after you've grilled your bread.

You can eat toasty slices straight from the grill or turn them into grilled banana bread ice cream sandwiches paired with a layer of your favorite flavor. You can also grill fresh berries and turn your banana bread into a shortcake with vanilla whipped cream. Regardless of how you choose to enjoy the finished product, using your barbecue to upgrade your banana bread is never a bad idea.

Read the original article on Daily Meal