• 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!

  • Roasted Rhubarb Sandwich Scones with Vanilla Bean Glaze

    TODAY’S THE DAY!! At long last, I bring you our first rhubarb recipe of the season. I know you’re all just as excited as I am right???? Even if you’re not, once you see what’s in store you won’t be able to resist and that’s a fact. Let’s set the scene, shall we? It all started sometime last year, I was perusing my Instagram explore page as one does, and I came across this recipe. Except, as often happens, it was saved and then promptly forgotten about and it was soon buried under all the other recipes I save on a daily basis.

    Cut to two weeks ago, I am once again glued to my Instagram, and what do I see? The very same picture, except now I come to realize that the recipe is from one of my absolute FAVORITE blogs, A Cozy Kitchen! It was meant to be, and I simply had to try them out this time.

    This weekend I watched my sisters while my parents were away, and apart from getting up ungodly early on Saturday to take them to their SATs, I had a lot of free time to mess around with recipes I’d been saving. Obviously I started with this one, and oh boy did we start the weekend off right. The sweet-but-sour roasted rhubarb is such a surprise when sandwiched between a buttery scone dough, and the vanilla bean glaze is DECADENT. The recipe was so perfect that I changed very little, my only wish is that it made three times as many so I could eat these for breakfast forever.

    And how did the rest of the weekend go you ask? Well, I was determined to finally conquer my fear of grocery store seafood counters (is that a thing?), so I found a New York Times recipe for Seared Scallop Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes that seemed perfect. HA. The moment I began to sear my scallops, the ENTIRE house soon filled with smoke. I’m talking fire alarms on both floors, and a smokey haze within 5 minutes. Thank god I had my sisters on hand to open every window in the house and turn on every fan, but I cannot tell what happened! Some comments said don’t use a cast iron skillet, others said you should only use a cast iron skillet (????). I always thought that olive oil smokes easily on high heat, but the recipe requested it!

    Will I try it again? Who’s to say. Just know that if I do, it’s on the grill stovetop outside because I’m sure as hell not going through THAT mess a second time, I’m pretty sure the house will smell like scallops for weeks.

    But anyway, now that that’s settled, here are 5 things to be happy about today:
    ONE. Comfortable silence.
    TWO. Being the only person awake and having the house to yourself for a while.
    THREE. Treating yourself to a face mask.
    FOUR. A house full of plants.
    FIVE. Turning up the air conditioner so that you can keep using a blanket, even in the summer.

    Let’s bake!!

    Roasted Rhubarb Sandwich Scones with Vanilla Bean Glaze

    The perfect combination of rich vanilla and tart rhubarb, these scones prove that there's more to rhubarb than strawberry rhubarb pie!
    Prep Time30 mins
    Cook Time25 mins
    Inactive Time20 mins
    Total Time1 hr 15 mins
    Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
    Keyword: breakfast, dessert, glaze, rhubarb, scone, vanilla bean
    Servings: 6 scones

    Ingredients

    Roasted Rhubarb

    • 2 cups diced rhubarb
    • ¼ cup white sugar
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
    • zest of ½ a lemon

    Scone Dough

    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 3 Tbsp white sugar
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • ½ tsp kosher salt
    • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter cold
    • 1 cup buttermilk plus more for brushing on top

    Vanilla Bean Glaze

    • cups powdered sugar
    • 5 to 6 Tbsp heavy cream
    • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
    • pinch of salt

    Instructions

    Roasted Rhubarb Steps

    • Preheat your oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, toss together the rhubarb, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla bean, and lemon zest until all the rhubarb is coated.
    • Pour onto the prepared pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the rhubarb is soft and juicy. Set aside to cool.

    Scone Dough Steps

    • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using a box grater, grate the cold butter onto a cutting board or plate and add to the flour mixture. Freeze for 5 minutes.
    • Remove the bowl from the freezer and toss the butter pieces with the flour so that they're spread uniformly. Press the butter into the flour with your fingers until it's mixed throughout.
    • Create a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk. Mix with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until the dough begins to hold together, then dump onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently until the dough is fully uniform (about 4 or 5 times, it's important not to overwork this or it will get tough).
    • Press or roll the dough into a ¼" thick rectangle, with one long end closest to you (so it folds hot dog style rather than hamburger style if you know what I mean). Spoon the rhubarb filling onto the front half of the dough, then carefully fold the other half of the dough over the rhubarb filling. Trim the edges so that they're neat and even.
    • Using a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into 6 or 7 large scones and transfer them to your prepared sheet pan. Place the entire pan in the freezer for 15 minutes, while your oven preheats to 400°F.
    • Remove the tray from the freezer, brush the scones with some extra buttermilk and sprinkle with demarara sugar (optional). Bake the scones for 12 to 15 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and risen. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before glazing.

    Vanilla Bean Glaze Steps

    • In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla bean paste, and pinch of salt. Feel free to adjust as you see fit, adding more powdered sugar or heavy cream as necessary. The glaze should be thicker than a normal glaze, just barely pourable so that when you spoon it over a slightly warm scone, it spreads as it melts.

    Notes

    If you don’t have vanilla bean paste, do not fret! Regular vanilla can be substituted just as easily here, as can a whole scraped vanilla bean. Additionally, if rhubarb isn’t your thing, this recipe could just as easily be done with strawberries or blueberries, just adjust the sugar level and baking time as necessary. YUM! xoxoxoxoxo

    Looking for more rhubarb recipes?? Look no further than here, here, and here! Happy baking!