Here at Simply Recipes we take our banana bread very seriously. In fact, there's currently an "argument" going on in the comment section of our classic banana bread recipe where people are saying you shouldn't just double the recipe—you should quadruple it, it's so good. We have a recipe for chocolate banana bread, vegan banana bread, cream cheese banana bread, and many more. It's an understatement to say that we love banana bread.
So when I first heard about Allie's Banana Bread, a company that ships unique flavors of homemade banana bread across the country, I was immediately intrigued. I've heard of companies shipping cookies and cupcakes and even ice cream, but banana bread? Not so much. And let me tell you, when I finally tried it, it completely exceeded my expectations. Not only are the unique flavors (Oreo! Reese's!) wildly creative and delicious, it's also the moistest banana bread I've ever had—period.
Allie's recipe comes from her grandmother, and she started her business before the pandemic (so before everyone became utterly obsessed with banana bread). I recently talked with her about how she got started and how she goes about creating new flavors. And before you ask, no, she won't tell you her secret to making moist banana bread—you'll just have to try it yourself.
If I was to peek into your freezer right now, how many bananas would I find?
I'm assuming you're talking about my freezer at the commercial kitchen, cause that's where I bake the banana bread. Probably like 300? On average we go through about 1500 bananas a week.
And how are you ripening all of them?
We try to plan ahead with our weekly orders, and we assume that we're going to get unripened bananas. So we usually use the batch from the previous week to make this week's banana bread. But if they do come ripe and we don't use them right away, we freeze them.
I’ve heard of people selling cookies, cakes, and cupcakes online, but not banana bread. How did Allie’s Banana Bread come about?
So this is actually my grandma's banana bread recipe. I've been making it my whole entire life. I learned to make it when I was six. In middle school I would always bring banana bread for bake sales. And growing up, anytime I had to bring anything anywhere, I would always make my grandma's banana bread.
Long story short, once my friends and I graduated college and started to work corporate jobs, they would have office parties where everyone would have to bring something, and they would ask me for a loaf. And it kind of went from there because all of their friends and coworkers started asking me for it, too. I made an Instagram for it, and it just started growing. Before Allie's Banana Bread, I was a photo editor at Ralph Lauren, and I would take a suitcase of banana bread to work and then roll around the city and deliver the banana bread. And then one day I realized I could make the same amount of money just making banana bread full-time.
What does your grandma think of your banana bread?
She literally can't believe what's happened—she thought I'd sell 10 loafs. I always told her that her banana bread is so much better than every other one I've had, and that she should sell it. And she was like, "I don't wanna sell it—you can sell it." And eventually I did. But I mean she's still the one that brings the banana bread to our holidays and stuff.
What’s your process for coming up with a new flavor?
When I first started, I was just playing around with chocolate chips—and then I was like, wait, let me try adding Reese's to this. Let me try adding Oreos to this. And it was just so good. That's how I thought about doing the monthly flavor—they're supposed to be fun and just really, really good. I just try to think of something that goes well with banana. The Fruity Pebbles one is funny—it's nostalgic, and I've never seen anyone do that before. And then there's more simple ones, like the salted caramel. So it was kind of just me experimenting and having fun. And it's great because people really want to try the limited-time flavors.
Do you have a favorite flavor out of everything you've made?
My favorite is plain because I love adding things to it. You can take a piece and toast it and then put chocolate or butter on it. I like that you can just dress it up however you want, but you also have the option of it staying plain.
Have you ever tried a flavor that just totally flopped?
Oh yeah. I've experimented so much with so many different things and I've also learned a lot about baking in the process. I really wanted to do a white chocolate chip loaf because I thought that would be really good, but white chocolate chips burn really easily, and banana bread is something that has to be baked for a good amount of time, so that's been hard. Anything with caramel is kind of difficult because it also burns quickly, too.
Would you ever expand into other loafs?
Yeah, I think eventually for sure. I do think a big selling factor is that the brand is specifically about banana bread, because like you said there are no other people who solely sell banana bread. But I do think I have some other recipes I want to sell at some point. My grandma makes an amazing zucchini loaf that I wanna start selling—I might do that as a monthly flavor.
What's next for you in your world-wide banana bread domination?
I hired more people last year, so I'm able to produce more now. And so now my goal is just to get the word out more and then eventually get a storefront.