Way-ripe bananas are the black sheep of the fruit kingdom. They get a lot of flak for being too sweet, too mushy, too hideous, too icky.
As a banana ripens, its starch changes from complex carbohydrates into simple sugars. This process makes the banana taste sweeter. And the sweeter the 'nanner, the more enjoyable banana breads, pancakes, cheesecakes and doughnuts will be. Bananas also become softer as they ripen, which makes them easier to mash and adds a density to recipes.
So, if you've ever scrunched your nose at a spotty banana or tossed it in the trash while holding your breath, it is now time to apologize. And a tip: If you've got a bunch of dark bananas looming on your countertop, remove the peels and pop them into the freezer. (The peels will be more difficult to remove when they're frozen.) You'll be prepared when you're struck by the desire to bake one of the heavenly recipes below.