Tag Archives: banana

Banana Pudding Popsicles

Maybe it’s been the heat, or my lack of air conditioning during the heat, but I’ve been thinking about Jell-O Banana Pudding Pops lately.  I generally believe that the entirely random thoughts that breeze through our brains are on their way to the discard pile — unless we pay attention to them.  Then they are preserved for a new period of time.  I am not a neurobiologist, but I’m pretty sure that this is how it works.  And I think that the period of time is approximately 28 years, because there is no way I’ve enjoyed a Pudding Pop since I was about 10 or 11.  You can confirm that 28 year time period with your “science” if you like.  But I prefer to trust Bill Cosby.

So, I actually sort of forgot that Jell-O Banana Pudding Pops even existed (and how much I loved them), but I did confirm with the Internet and it is clear that I did not dream this. There were multiple flavors — chocolate, vanilla, and chocolate-vanilla swirl at the basic level.  But I remember loving the banana ones.  And my friend Beth remembers that there was something printed on the popsicle sticks.  Was it a contest?  A fortune?  We clearly let go of that piece of factual information sometime in college when we were killing brain cells with ridiculous amounts of Yuengling Lager.  Anyone else remember? Or have more energy than I do to perform a Google search to find out? Good for you.

When I decided to replicate the pudding pops, every recipe that I found (surprise!) started out with Jell-O Pudding. This is all well and good — but it’s not really recipe worthy. So I made a simple homemade vanilla pudding and then pureed ripe bananas into it.   It would be equally good with any flavor of pudding (chocolate, caramel, etc.) or with any type of fruit pureed into it.  Strawberries would be great.  But that’s not how Bill envisioned it.  So I’m sticking with an original flavor.

It’s not an original method because I made it from scratch, but I think Bill would be OK with it because we generally agree on most topics.  Namely, Donald Trump.

Banana Pudding Popsicles

Makes about 12 popsicles (or 4 cups of pudding)

1 cup milk (I had 2%)
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup sugar
3 T cornstarch
1/4 t salt
2 eggs
2 T butter
2 t vanilla extract
3 bananas, ripe and mashed

1.  In a medium heavy saucepan, whisk together the milk, half and half, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and eggs.   Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly (and scraping out corners of pan with a spatula to get any trapped parts), for about 5-7 minutes until the mixture is bubbly and thickened.  Remove from heat immediately and stir in butter and vanilla extract.

2.  Pour pudding mixture into the bowl of a food processor and add mashed bananas.  Process until completely smooth, scraping down sides as necessary (and being careful to let steam from the hot pudding escape).  Pour pudding into popsicle molds and freeze for at least 6 hours until completely hardened.  (These will keep a few days, at least, in the freezer.)

 

Super Fluffy Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes

I usually steer clear of pancakes.  They are just not my bag, baby.  I am sure when I was a child that was different — as children tend to subsist on the “elven” food groups (candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup).  But now that I am older, I am quite happy with an egg and a piece of whole grain toast for breakfast.  Of course, the kids still clamor for pancakes frequently.  They just don’t see the beauty of an over easy egg.

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So I make them quite often.  But I have rules.  First, you must only use real maple syrup.  The other stuff is disgusting and not at all maple.  And I am *not* sorry if I just offended you.  We probably wouldn’t have been close anyway.  (OK.  So I am sort of joking.  I love lots of people who use fake maple syrup.  But I would love them more if they didn’t.)  Second, they must be whole grain.  If we are going to have dessert for breakfast (come on, you know that’s what it is), it is at least going to be a little healthier.  Third, pancakes do not come from a boxed mix.  Seriously, by the time you measure it out and add liquid, you could have made them from scratch.  Maybe Beef Wellington might benefit from a convenience mix.  But pancakes??  And fourth, they will not be made of lead.  Even white flour pancakes tend to be heavy and make you feel like you need a nap.  So, what we make is going to be fluffy, dammit.

Re-reading that last paragraph makes me sound like the Pancake Nazi, doesn’t it?  It’s true enough, actually, because I do support health care reform.

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So, this is our go to recipe for whole wheat pancakes.  It was modified from a recipe in the landmark cookbook by … Strawberry Shortcake.  Yes, the cartoon character.  I am not sure if cartoon characters require attribution, but I’m going to play by the rules.  In this version, we made banana pancakes.  You could just as easily leave the bananas out, add chocolate chips, use apples or blueberries, etc.  However you make them though, they will puff up and come alive like Frankenstein (who also supports health care reform, I believe — however his take is different than Stalin’s because he is a proponent of a triggered public option).

Enjoy.

Super Fluffy Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes

Serves 4-6

2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour
5 t baking powder
1 t salt
2 T sugar or honey
2 eggs
2 cups of milk
3 T melted butter
Sliced bananas (or other add-ins)
Vegetable oil or butter to grease your pan or griddle

1.  Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar together in a medium bowl.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.  Add in the melted butter.  (If you use honey instead of sugar, add it here with the wet ingredients, rather than with the dry ones.)

3.  Whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients a little bit at a time — until the pancake batter just comes together.  Don’t over mix.

4.  Pour a ladleful of batter onto a preheated and greased griddle (at about medium heat — each pancake surface is different and you know what temp is best probably).  Lay a few banana slices on pancake batter and allow pancake to cook until golden on the first side.  Flip and and cook until golden on second side.  And as anyone who makes pancakes knows, the first batch is usually the worst.  Save those for the people who don’t like real maple syrup.

5.  Remove pancakes from heat and stack on plate while you cook the remaining ones.  Serve with plenty of butter and REAL maple syrup.

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Banana Honey Caramel Ice Cream with Salted Tuile Cookies

So, this was the week when everyone in my family decided they didn’t like bananas — and I was left with four sitting in the fruit bowl (Bananas, that is.  Not family members.).  Of course, the natural inclination is to make banana bread.  Or more likely, the natural inclination is to pitch them.

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And even though I never do it, I’ve also been told that ripe bananas freeze very well.  Collect them in the freezer and use them when you feel like it.  However, there is something about slowly rotting bananas that make me feel like I need to use them immediately.  I never feel this way with shriveled up apples or moldy cheese.

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Add to this that I had the most beautiful eggs from the farmer’s market the other day  — from three or four different breeds of laying hens — that seemed like they needed a showcase.  So I settled on the idea of a custard-based banana ice cream and I was not disappointed as I cracked those eggs.  They were probably the brightest orange yolks I have ever seen.

I wanted to sweeten it with honey and I remembered a honey caramel sauce recipe I had seen.  So the idea came together — a honey caramel custard base pureed with ripe bananas.  With a touch of vanilla, dark rum, and a slightly salty cookie to garnish.  The ice cream really is fabulous — super creamy and smooth without being too “fatty” tasting from a lot of heavy cream.  It is still plenty rich though.  I’d suggest serving it in little custard or egg cups. That leaves a lot leftover for you to eat it directly out of the freezer.

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And the cookies are great on their own.  I made them with whole wheat pastry flour and some dry roasted and salted pumpkin seeds (we can’t do nuts because of my daughter’s allergies, but any chopped nuts would work perfectly alongside the banana ice cream).  They are super easy to make and look great if you roll them or form them while still hot — around a chopstick or skewer to make a “cigarette cookie” or in a shot glass to make a little flower.  Bonus points if you drink the dark rum from the shot glass after you form your cookies.

So, maybe this got a little more involved than a loaf of banana bread, but I’m pretty sure it’s way, way better.

Banana Honey Caramel Ice Cream with Salted Tuile Cookies

Makes about two quarts of ice cream and 1 to 1 1/2 dozen cookies

Ice Cream:
4 ripe bananas, mashed
2 C. of whole milk
1 C. of heavy cream
3/4 C. of honey
4 egg yolks
Pinch of sea salt
1 t. vanilla extract
1 T. dark rum

1.  In a heavy medium saucepan, whisk together honey and heavy cream and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Reduce heat a bit and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thickened and a caramel color.  Watch that it doesn’t boil over — it does so easily.

2.  Remove caramel from heat and whisk in 1 cup of the whole milk (other cup will be added later).   Return to heat and make sure all the caramel gets incorporated (use a silicone spatula to get it out of the corners of the pan). Whisk well and turn heat to medium low.

3.  In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks with pinch of salt.  Take about 1/4 cup of the hot caramel/milk mixture and very slowly whisk it into the egg yolks. (You are tempering the egg yolks so they don’t scramble.) Add another 1/4 cup and whisk well.

4.  Pour tempered egg yolk mixture into caramel/milk mixture and whisk well to incorporate, cooking over low heat and stirring almost constantly.  Cook this mixture for about five minutes, until it has thickened.  You can test it with an instant read thermometer if you like — it should be about 160-170 F.

5.  In a blender, puree the remaining one cup of milk with the mashed bananas.  Add the hot caramel custard from the pan.  Puree well, being careful because hot liquids can expand … allow steam to escape through hole or keep lid slightly off, covering with a kitchen towel.   You can also do this in a bowl with an immersion blender.

6.  Stir in vanilla and dark rum and chill for several hours. (You can speed this up by putting the ice cream mixture in a bowl set inside another larger bowl filled with ice water — just be careful to not get water in the ice cream mixture.)  It should be very cold when you put it in the ice cream freezer.

7.  Freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.  My batch took a little over 20 minutes.  Transfer to the freezer to harden more, or serve as is (it will be more like soft serve at that point.)

Salted Pumpkin Seed Tuile Cookies:
(Inspired by Martha Stewart’s Honey Lace Cookies)
2 T. butter
1 1/2 T. honey
1 T. brown sugar
2 T. whole wheat pastry flour
Pinch of sea salt, plus a bit more for tops of cookies
3 T. roasted pumpkin seeds (or other toasted, chopped nuts)

1.  Preheat oven to 375 F.

2.  In a small pan, melt butter with honey and brown sugar.  Remove from heat and stir in flour, salt, and pumpkin seeds.

3.  On a parchment lined baking sheet, use about one teaspoon of dough per cookie — allow plenty of room to spread while baking.

4.  Cook about 8 minutes (less for smaller cookies) until cookies are golden brown and bubbly.

5.  Remove from oven, sprinkle each with a few grains of sea salt, and let cool for 2-3 minutes on parchment.  When the cookies are just starting to firm up (meaning they are pliable, but not falling apart), you can roll them around a chopstick or skewer for a cigarette cookie or carefully push them into a shotglass or other small cup to make a flower shape.  Let cool completely in forms.  Drizzle with a bit of melted chocolate if you like.

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