There’s probably gonna be a bunch of Sweet Tooth Factory posts, at least for as long as they keep showing up at the Southbank food market and as long as I keep showing up there too. Today, I’ve gone for their banana & Nutella blondie. Exciting!
I’m not going to talk to you about Sweet Tooth Factory today. I’m going to talk about bananas.
I think bananas have probably been my favourite fruit for as long as I can remember – and if I ever want a reminder of how far out of my evolutionary comfort zone I am, I can just point to the fact that I even have a ‘favourite fruit’, let alone it being one that evolved in Oceania and now grows in almost every continent except for the one where I have spent my whole life.
As a child, I went in and out of phases of liking apples (and only really resolved this as an adult when I learned what cultivars of apple I will routinely enjoy), was generally always up for grapes but sometimes bored of them, never that keen on oranges or any of their smaller cousins, and couldn’t get any other fruit frequently enough for it to make a big impact on me. But I always, always liked bananas. I wasn’t particularly picky about how ripe they were, although there would always come a point when the skin was too blackened even for me.
As a teenager I was introduced to some fun things you can do with bananas to make them more like dessert and less like fruit. You can wrap them in foil and roast them in a campfire. You can cut them open beforehand and stick some pieces of chocolate in there too, it’s delicious! You can slice bananas up and put them in a big bowl of custard and then you’ll be enjoying the beautifully complex dish known as ‘bananas and custard’. Sadly, my father absolutely can’t stand the taste or smell of bananas, as it turns out, so although he could handle bananas existing in the house as fruit he would generally veto any actual cooking with bananas.
From the age of about twenty onwards my go-to I-need-to-eat-something-in-the-morning lazy breakfast was two bananas. As a result I’d basically always have a bunch of bananas somewhere in my kitchen. This started to become a problem when I started a job that requires me to travel a lot and spend a lot of time away from home: I’d unthinkingly buy bananas when doing food shopping on the weekend, and when I returned home on a Thursday or Friday I’d find that they’d mostly gone off. This inspired a brief but productive phase of “what can I do with bananas that are no longer good to eat on their own”. Some experiments didn’t work out, such as the banana ice-cream. Some were pretty good, like my banana bread. One – my banoffee pie recipe – was fantastic, and is probably my favourite go-to dessert if trying to entertain or impress.
And through all of this I’ve never got sick of bananas, even if there was that one brief panic when I worried that the potassium isotopes in bananas were going to give me cancer (spoiler alert: even with my banana consumption, it compares favourably with e.g. the increased radiation I get from having ever flown on a plane, or from living in an area of the country with higher radon levels, and the life expectancy gain from eating fruit massively outweighs any understood cancer risk from bananas). This was a somewhat tangential ramble, but suffice to say that I hadn’t really considered adding bananas to brownies. I suppose it follows similar principles to banana bread, and making it into a blondie rather than a chocolate brownie makes sense from various perspectives. It’s exciting to eat a blondie that isn’t just peanut butter as well – although peanut butter and banana is a strong combination in a milkshake, so maybe in a brownie too – hmmmm…
Anyway, before I get too sidetracked thinking about how I could make banana blondies, let’s actually eat the banana blondie I bought. (Yes, it also has Nutella, but I didn’t have five paragraphs of nostalgia for Nutella ready to go.)
Taste: Unsurprisingly it tastes like banana and that’s the flavour that dominates. But there’s enough sweetness and a strong hint of the Nutella that this is very definitely a sweet treat and not just mashed-up fruit. I think this is really really tasty and a great blondie. 9/10
Texture: Appealingly soft, beautifully moist from the base up, with just a bit of crunch of the top. I can totally imagine how using banana as a main ingredient would make it easier to produce a nice thick yet soft brownie texture. It’s a great idea and has worked really well. Every mouthful is delightful. I think this deserves the full 10/10
Presentation: I think it looks quite nice, but if I’m being brutally honest I must admit it’s not presented in any very exciting way, and the top looks quite roughly constructed in a way that isn’t necessarily deliberate. 3/5
Value: All the Sweet Tooth Factory brownies so far have been priced at a consistent £3, and for about the same size of brownie. The fact that this one is so tasty bumps the value up considerably for me. 9/10
Fudge Factor: Not only is this an excellent blondie from Sweet Tooth Factory, but due to the whole thing tasting like a slightly sweeter banana, I can trick myself into thinking I’m making a healthier choice by eating it! 4/5
Peel It And See: 35
Should I Buy And Eat This Brownie?
Strong yes: it’s blown me away by how delicious it was, and as much as I love chocolate brownies I’m also all about variety in my life. It’s the first time I’ve seen a blondie with this flavour combination but it’s an excellent one. This currently ties with one other brownie for ‘best brownie I’ve had from the Southbank food market’.
I’m not sure why it is, but the theme tune of The Good Place always makes me smile.