• Banana Cream Pie

    Hello my friends! I hope we are all keeping cool in this very hot summer. If you’re reading this from somewhere that it isn’t summer, just know I envy you. I’m sure this makes me a party pooper, but the novelty of summer heat wears off PRETTY fast when you’re not a kid and it’s no longer acceptable to sit in the kiddie pool in your backyard all day. Instead I have to wear real clothes??? And go to work?? And the whole time I’m thinking of the beach and/ or ice cream (or this Banana Cream Pie tbh) and basically what I’m saying is I think we should all get summer vacation no matter what age/ job we have. Who’s with me!

    This was a pretty lazy segue into this week’s recipe, but really, what better way to enjoy summer than with a Banana Cream Pie? Essentially vanilla pudding with sliced bananas mixed in, this one is ~fancier~ because you make the pudding yourself. Plus did I mention there’s a layer of chocolate in between the graham cracker crust and the filling? Are you sold yet? Cool. The recipe comes from ZoeBakes because we all know I’m obsessed with her, so find the original recipe here.

    Before we get started, here are your 5 things to be happy about today:
    ONE. Seeing a movie in an otherwise empty theater and talking as loud as you please.
    TWO. The caffeine boost of an afternoon iced coffee.
    THREE. The melty consistency of a perfectly toasted marshmallow.
    FOUR. A prosperous herb garden.
    FIVE. Packing a cooler for the beach with watermelon, chips, and ice cold lemonade.

    Let’s bake!!

    Banana Cream Pie

    Prep Time1 hr
    Cook Time15 mins
    Chilling Time2 hrs
    Total Time3 hrs 15 mins
    Course: Dessert
    Keyword: banana, chocolate, cream pie, pudding
    Servings: 8 people

    Ingredients

    Graham Cracker Crust

    • 12 whole graham crackers
    • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
    • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter; melted
    • pinch kosher salt
    • 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate; finely chopped

    Banana Filling

    • tsp powdered gelatin; (1 packet)
    • 2 Tbsp cold water
    • 1 egg
    • 3 egg yolks
    • cup white sugar
    • Tbsp cornstarch
    • cups whole milk
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract; or 1 scraped vanilla bean
    • 1 cup heavy cream; whipped to soft peaks
    • 3-4 bananas; cut into coins

    Whipped Cream Topping

    • 2 cups heavy cream
    • 2 Tbsp white sugar
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • bittersweet chocolate; for shavings on top

    Instructions

    Graham Cracker Crust

    • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grind together the graham crackers, butter, brown sugar, and salt until crumbs form, and can hold together when you squeeze some in your hand.
    • Press the crumbs into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan, using a small dry measuring cup to maintain an even, flat surface. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is set and toasted.
    • Immediately after removing the crust from the oven, sprinkle the bottom with the chopped chocolate, and allow to melt, about 5 minutes. Once the chocolate is fully melted, use an offset spatula to spread a thin layer evenly over the entire bottom of the crust and up the sides as desired. Allow to cool before filling.

    Banana Filling

    • In a small bowl, bloom together the gelatin and the 2 Tbsp cold water and set aside for at least 5 minutes.
    • In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch until no lumps remain. Set aside.
    • In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the milk on medium low until simmering. If you're using a vanilla bean, heat the scraped seeds and pod with the milk now, if you're using vanilla extract, we'll add it later.
    • Slowly, while whisking constantly, drizzle some of the heated milk into the egg mixture. This tempers the eggs so that they won't spontaneously cook when we add them to the hot milk. Once about ⅓ of the milk has been added and the egg mixture is warm to the touch, pour all of the egg/ milk mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk and bring to a boil on medium heat.
    • Once the mixture starts to boil, continue to cook, whisking constantly for 3 minutes, until the custard is thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the bloomed gelatin and vanilla extract (if using) until the gelatin is fully dissolved.
    • Strain the custard through a sieve into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to cool to at least room temperature.
    • Once cooled, fold in the softly whipped cream and sliced bananas, then pour the filling into your prepared crust. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly to the surface of the pudding and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until set.

    Whipped Cream + Serving

    • In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip together the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract until the desired stiffness is reached. Stiffer whipped cream can be piped onto the pie, but I opted for a softer whipped cream that I piled on top, it's up to you!
    • Using a vegetable peeler, shave some of the leftover bittersweet chocolate on top, and serve. YUM!!

    Looking for more pudding pies? Look no further than here, here, and here!

  • Black and White Cookies

    Two days back into work after a long weekend, I am almost feeling back to myself. The only downside of long weekends is how much longer it takes to readjust to work, don’t you think? Anyway, I hope all your holiday weekends were lovely and filled with lots of snacks. I myself made guacamole and a pitcher of VERY strong watermelon mojitos, plus a cherry pie and a flag cake for dessert. I couldn’t make up my mind so why not make both?? That, combined with a morning at the beach made for a very sleepy me, and you BET I slept late into the morning on Friday. Buuuuut, then I recovered enough to return to the kitchen for……..black and white cookies!!

    I think about black and white cookies a lot, they are the superior cookie for sure. A cross between a cake and a cookie, with a half vanilla, half chocolate glazed top that snaps when you break it, what’s not to love? These cookies are a staple of New York City, and TBH I feel like I owed it to myself to try these out. I adapted from this recipe on Smitten Kitchen, with a few changes here and there.

    As luck would have it, my cousin Raymond was over while I made these, and we got to plotting about the country’s first ever all-black and white cookie bakery. He’s a decade younger than me but has more business savvy than anyone I’ve ever met, we made a logo and flavors and everything!! So if this idea takes off everyone better get ready. I don’t wanna brag, but we discussed flavors like maple bacon, coffee caramel, and strawberry.

    Before we bake, here are 5 things to be happy about today:
    ONE. Group traveling.
    TWO. Free admission.
    THREE. Having your coffee in the park.
    FOUR. Two shakes of a lambs tail.
    FIVE. Bursting into song.

    Let’s bake!!

    Black and White Cookies

    Prep Time1 hr
    Cook Time20 mins
    Total Time1 hr 20 mins
    Course: Dessert, Snack
    Keyword: chocolate, cookie, vanilla
    Servings: 36 cookies

    Ingredients

    Cookie Base

    • cups white sugar
    • 1 cup unsalted butter; at room temp
    • 4 eggs; at room temp
    • cups milk
    • ½ tsp vanilla extract
    • cups cake flour
    • cups all-purpose flour
    • ½ tsp baking powder
    • ½ tsp kosher salt

    Black and White Glazes

    • 4 cups confectioner's sugar
    • ½ tsp salt
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • ⅓ to ½ cup boiling water
    • 3 oz bittersweet chocolate
    • 1 tsp light corn syrup

    Instructions

    Cookie Base

    • Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
    • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl down after each addition.
    • Slowly drizzle in the milk (to avoid splatters), then the vanilla and mix until combined.
    • In another large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients a little at a time, until all has been added.
    • Using a cookie scoop or 2 large spoons, scoop roughly ¼ cup portions out onto the prepared cookie sheets, leaving at least 2 inches of space between each cookie. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the cookies are only just beginning to brown. Allow to cool completely before icing.

    Black and White Glazes

    • In a large heat-safe bowl, add in the confectioners sugar, salt, and vanilla, then slowly add in the boiling water, a little at at time, until the desired thick consistency is reached. Keep in mind that you probably won't need all the boiling water, and it's difficult to fix a glaze that's become too thin.
    • Spread the vanilla glaze on one half of the flat side of each cookie. After every cookie is half iced, put the bowl with the remaining glaze over a double boiler (a small pot of boiling water that the bowl can fit in without touching the water), and add the chocolate pieces plus the corn syrup. Continue to stir until the chocolate melts and the frosting is thick and spreadable.
    • Ice the other half of each cookie. The chocolate frosting has a tendency to dry up faster than the vanilla, so if you notice that happening, feel free to stir a bit of boiling water in to keep the frosting shiny as needed. YUM!

    Looking for more cookie recipes? Try here, here, and here!

  • July 4th Recipe Roundup

    I ‘ll be honest with you all, I did absolutely nothing this weekend. Not. One. THING. And oh boy it was lovely. I bopped around the house, I re-watched Stranger Things in preparation for this week, and I only wore real clothes for about 2 hours across both days combined. I sat on the porch with a glass of wine and a Martha Stewart magazine and felt RELAXED. And then, for the cherry on top of the laziest weekend, I realized that this is a literal 3 day week followed closely by a 4 day weekend!!! But not just any 4 day weekend, July 4th weekend!! It’s the most important barbecue weekend of the year, are you ready???

    That is a perfect segue into this post, what to make for your barbecue. If you listen to me, I’m not saying that you definitely will be the most popular person at the party, but I’m also not NOT saying that, you know? A good barbecue has gotta have a good snack spread, a cocktail (or mocktail), those classic BBQ foods like burgers + dogs, and my favorite part, DESSERT. Because this is Sweet D, I’m bringing my favorite desserts to recommend, but because I’m also an equal opportunist, I have a few other dishes as well.

    Before we dive in, here are 5 things to be happy about today:
    ONE. A new cookbook giving you fresh inspiration. (Today’s is this one and I’m already obsessed.)
    TWO. Latte art.
    THREE. Me time.
    FOUR. Climbing atop an observation tower.
    FIVE. Cozy bed jackets.

    Okay let’s barbecue!!

    Tomato Burrata Salad.

    So I know this was also included in my Memorial Day recipe roundup, but it’s making a return appearance for a REASON. It can be prepped in 10 minutes, better yet, it can be done in advance because the tomatoes only taste better sitting in the olive oil dressing. It looks so fancy and photogenic with those beautiful burrata balls broken over the top, and highlights the best fresh flavors of summer.

    Blueberry Slab Pie.

    This is another repeat classic, because nothing says barbecue like pie, and nothing makes it easier to serve pie to a crowd than one that can be cut into squares and feeds 20 people. Plus, if you’re feeling particularly creative, there could definitely be some kind of American Flag sitch in the pie crust, but I’ll leave that up to you.

    Tart Cherry Clafoutis.

    Still one of my favorite desserts to date, a clafoutis is a custardy baked dessert that holds your fruit of choice in beautiful little jammy pockets, and honestly it was enough to make me tear up. In this most special tart cherry season, this dish highlights and compliments their brightness perfectly into one slice and serve dessert.

    Classic Focaccia.

    If you’ve seen the Netflix series Salt. Fat. Acid. Heat., you will recognize this recipe as the one Samin Nosrat makes in Italy, which I fell in love with almost instantaneously. It’s simple and perfect and so satisfying. It can be easily customized with herbs or vegetables, but it makes for excellent finger food. I don’t know about you but if I went to a party and this was on the food table, I would cry tears of joy.

    Cinnamon Plum Apricot Pie.

    This pie was an unusual one, with perfect sweetness from the apricots and plums, and warmth from the cinnamon. I had combined the two fruits since I was short on the season’s apricots, but since it’s early enough in the summer, an all apricot pie would be just beautiful. And I haven’t even gotten to the best part of this dessert, which is the vanilla pouring custard that goes on top in great pools. Basically what I’m saying is you need this pie rn.

    Blueberry Buttermilk Cake.

    Ah, the Blueberry Buttermilk Cake. Not the flashiest of desserts, but one of the underestimated heroes for sure. Those jammy blueberries and that crunchy cinnamon sugar lid are just perfection, and it’s a perfect vehicle for a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

    Lemon Meringue Pie.

    There are few things in this world that I love more than lemon desserts. Lemon bars, lemony cheesecake, and best of all, lemon meringue pie. For those who weren’t around last May, I made this pie and was so excited to try my new kitchen torch, only to realize that I am a fool and the butane had to be purchased separately. I actually have yet to try again with a torched meringue, but it feels like this week is the time!!! I mean, just LOOK at that layer of lemon curd. Omg.

    Cornmeal Peach Cobbler.

    My god I love this cobbler so much. Bubbly peach filling is one of life’s greatest pleasures, don’t you think? But WAIT, you don’t know true happiness until you combine it with cornmeal biscuits!!! They’re incredibly low maintenance drop biscuits that get golden and crisp, perfect for soaking up the cinnamon-y peach goodness.

    Cheesecake Pudding Pie.

    Looking for a cheesecake without the 8 hour chilling time of an actual cheesecake? Well, look no further. I don’t even know that there’s anything else that I need to say here, do you? CHEESECAKE. PUDDING. PIE. The end.

    Sweet Corn Layer Cake with Blueberry Jam Buttercream.

    Unpopular opinion that will soon be popular opinion, skip corn on the cob and instead serve your corn in the CAKE. But not just any cake, one topped with a rich, fruity buttercream and stacked into 2 perfect layers. Take the unconventional approach and impress everyone you know!