Let's take a deep dive into the world of banana bread, one of the (if not the) undisputed stars of this past COVID-19-plagued year. As Americans in lockdown tried their hands at a variety of recipes, one New Yorker has been perfecting her own banana bread for years—and the masses now get to taste her impeccable treat on a weekly basis.
Allie Chernick, formerly a photo editor for Ralph Lauren and banana bread hobbyist and now the one-woman show behind Allie's Banana Bread, has been making the sweet food following her grandma's recipe for years. "The first time I actually started to sell it was when my friends in college would ask me to bake some for them to take to office parties," recalls the 27-year-old. "I always thought I might one day start a business so I never gave away my recipe."
Interestingly enough, the pandemic didn't actually kick-start her operation. After establishing an Instagram account to keep track of orders and put her name out there, Chernick started baking out of a commercial ghost kitchen in downtown Manhattan right before lockdown measures were in place. "My commercial kitchen was eventually forced to close," she says. "And then banana bread became the number one thing in America and I was like: Jesus!"
And yet, the pandemic did boost her operation as people began searching for recipes online and landed on her visually striking and mouthwatering Instagram account. The kitchen reopened in the summer and Chernick officially quit her full-time job to invest all her time and effort in her own gig this past September.
Things have been looking up ever since. The baker dishes out about 500 loaves a week—half of them available for shipping nationwide and the other half on sale at Butterfield Market on the Upper East Side. New Yorkers can also grab some slices at Edy's Grocer in Greenpoint.
But you're going to have to act fact: so high is the demand for Chernick's products that her stock usually sells out within a minute of her timed Instagram drops.
In terms of flavors, the baker always prepares a slew of plain and chocolate chip varieties, plus peanut butter chocolate chip and Reese's options. She also works on monthly flavors like Oreo, sour cream coffee cake banana bread and pumpkin spice. Mini loaves run between $6-$10 and regular sized ones are priced between $15-$25.
Although the banana bread guru doesn't use any "special ingredient" worth noting, she does acknowledge a "part of the process that makes my [treat] a little bit different than others. But I will keep that a secret." We, of course, can't blame her.
As for her grandma—arguably, the source of her success—Chernick tells us she's oh-so-very-happy. "She can't believe it!," she says. "She always tells me so in her thick Long Island accent!"
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