• 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!

  • 2-Day Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

    I don’t think I’m being dramatic here when I say I will never make another chocolate chip cookie recipe again. This all started when I was left to my own devices for two days straight, and I started thinking about projects that I had set aside and kept in my notes that fell by the wayside. And one of those ideas was, you guessed it, brown butter chocolate chip cookies. But I had some concerns, since brown butter is the melting and, duh, browning of unsalted butter, and melted butter is not good for cookie dough. The re-firming of the butter is necessary, but even so I was worried that the fact that the butter was softer than normal would cause the cookies to spread too far and thin.

    Enter my next idea. I’ve been on a chocolate chip cookie recipe binge lately (see here as well), and I’ve been seeing more and more that require the dough to be refrigerated for at least 12 hours after being scooped, in order for the flavors to fully develop. The bonus benefit of this method in this case is that the butter would have ample time to re-harden, and therefore would not spread as much as cookies that were not refrigerated overnight. So, with these two methods under my belt, I got to work and created, in my opinion, the most delicious chocolate chip cookies I have ever had. The brown butter makes them taste slightly nutty and caramel-y, and the use of baking chocolate rather than chocolate chips that never fully melt means pockets that are fully melted and fudgey. A finishing touch of a sprinkle of kosher salt is the zippy balance to the sweetness, and overall an incredible cookie is made.

    With all this talk about melty chocolate, I’m sure we’re all in the happiest of headspaces, but just in case you’re not, here are 5 other things to be happy about today!
    ONE. Matching pajama sets.
    TWO. Looking through old photo albums and having the memories flood right back.
    THREE. Egg noodles with butter and parsley.
    FOUR. Homemade strawberry jam.
    FIVE. The first time of the year that you can drive around with the windows down blasting music.

    Let’s bake!!!
    MAKES: 24 – 26 cookies
    PREP TIME: 45 minutes
    INACTIVE TIME: 12 hours
    BAKE TIME: 12 – 15 minutes

    COOKIE INGREDIENTS

    1 cup browned butter (from about 3 sticks unsalted butter)
    ¾ cup granulated sugar
    ¾ cup brown sugar
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    2 eggs
    2¼ cups all-purpose flour
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp kosher salt
    2 cups roughly chopped semi-sweet baking chocolate
    Kosher salt, for sprinkling

    COOKIE STEPS

    ONE. Brown the butter in a large saucepan by heating on medium, swirling and stirring occasionally, until the milk solids turn golden brown and the melted butter smells toasted and nutty. Pour the melted butter into a bowl and chill until set.

    TWO. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and kosher salt, then set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the set but softened brown butter with both sugars until light and fluffy, then add the vanilla.

    THREE. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Slowly add the flour, a little at a time, until all is added. Chop the chocolate into chunks and stir into the dough with a rubber spatula until uniform.

    FOUR. Using a cookie scoop, scoop all the dough into rounds on a single baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Wrap the entire sheet tightly with plastic wrap, then refrigerate the cookies for at least 12 hours.

    FIVE. The next day, preheat your oven to 375ºF. Split the cookies onto two parchment paper lined baking sheets about an inch apart. Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden but still melted and gooey in the middle. Sprinkle some extra kosher salt on top of each cookie. Cool the cookies for 5 minutes on the sheets, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. OR eat every single one while they’re still warm, I literally won’t judge at all.

    xoxoxoxoxoxoD