The power of scents is very important to me. I’m talking about good scents. Scents that make me stop in my tracks because they’re intoxicating or remind me of childhood. Those scents I wish could be replicated in a candle, but can’t because candles never smell as good as the real thing. Scents that I want to linger. Scents that I walk out of the room and back in just to get another hit of them. Scents that make me feel better, make me smile, take away my anxiety. Scents hold so much power in my world.
I love the smell of flowers. In the winter, there’s nothing like being hit with the bright scent of lilies from a bouquet of flowers Dad bought. In the summer, lilacs, honeysuckle, and more unidentified flowers make Mom and me take longer and longer walks.
Clean laundry, fresh from the dryer makes me sooooo happy! Towels, sheets, clothes, it doesn’t matter. I love that smell and have since I was little. I’ve been known to keep my nose buried in clean laundry for most of the day sometimes. It’s even better if it’s warm from the dryer, but that’s a conversation for another day.
I like the smell of rain and freshly cut grass. I like the smell of different hair products I use and even some of my makeup. But I never wear perfume, mostly because I’m allergic, but even if I wasn’t, it has a lot of the artificiality of candles.
Food smells just might be my favorite, though. Bright lemons that take away headaches. Perfectly ripe peaches and nectarines are a sure sign of summer. Vegetables with curry or balsamic vinegar roasting in the oven permeate the entire house. Steaks being tended to on the stove by Mom make my mouth water. And of course baked goods! They all smell amazing, whether full of caramel, cinnamon, peanut butter, or just good old butter. One of the best things about baking is the smell that accompanies the process.
Banana Bread is no exception; in fact, it may be one of the best smelling baked goods. I haven’t made banana bread in years, but for some reason, I got an intense craving for it. I used the recipe from Flour bakery in Boston with a few changes and it did not disappoint. Super moist and full of tons of banana, I almost didn’t add the toasted walnuts but am so glad I did because they were awesome. I wish the edges would’ve been a little less brown, but the bread was no less delicious as a result. Plain or with a smear or peanut butter, this Banana Bread is sure to leave your taste buds and nose very happy so make sure to take some time to smell the roses . . . er . . . banana bread.
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup oat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
3 ½ bananas, ripe, mashed
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup walnuts, toasted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment.
In a medium bowl, stir together flours, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs until they have lightened in color and texture, about 5 minutes. Drizzle in oil while whisking. Stir in the mashed bananas and vanilla. Fold in the dry ingredients, followed by the nuts, mixing just until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 55-65 minutes, rotating halfway through if necessary, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs. If bread is becoming too brown at any time during the process, tent it with foil. Cool bread in pan about 15 minutes, before carefully removing from pan and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack. Bread may be stored at room temperature, wrapped in plastic, for up to 3 days, or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 4 months. Thaw at room temperature for a couple hours or in a 350 degree F oven for about 15 minutes. Larger pieces will take longer to thaw.
Recipe adapted from Flour Bakery