Dark Chocolate Banana Chips

I’m always in the market for a good snack. While browsing the endless aisles of the grocery store, I came across some dark chocolate banana chips! However, being the cheap yet delightfully adventurous college student that I am, I realized I had enough ingredients in the cupboard to try making my own. The result? BEST SNACK EVAAAAA!

The best part of this snack is the three main ingredients– bananas, dark chocolate chips (I tend to use the organic variety but feel to use whatever you like!) and a little lemon juice to keep the bananas from browning. And that’s it! No additives, preservatives or yellow #6.

Dark Chocolate Banana Chips

Ingredients

  • two bananas
  • 1/2 cup organic dark chocolate chips
  • lemon juice

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 200° F.
  2. Slice banans 1/4 of an inch thick and place on parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Sprinkle lemon juice over bananas to keep them from turning brown.
  3. When finished, put cookie sheets in oven. Bake bananas for about two hours until flat and slightly crispy.
  4. Allow banana chips to cool for about 20 minutes. While waiting, lay out a large sheet of wax paper.
  5. Melt dark chocolate chips in a microwavable safe bowl. When banana chips are cooled, use two forks and dip the bananas in melted chocolate. Place on the wax paper and allow the chocolate to harden. Enjoy!
    (Also, if you don’t eat them all right away, store these bad boys in the fridge to keep the freshness alive!)
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If Your Cake Burns, Eat It Anyways

When things don’t exactly meet your expectations in just about any way, shape, or form, what do you do?

Are you the type that just lets it roll of your back while singing, “no worries” or some other words of super chill wisdom while gazing at an invisible Bob Marley poster OR are you the type that lets it brood and fester and rot for two days while muttering like Gollum, developing an odd case of scoliosis from being hunched over, and vowing that you’ll just never again have expectations?

I know this will probably come as shock to the eeeeeeeveryone (the sarcasm here is bounding) but yes, my name is Sarah Smith and I’m totally a 100% expectation lover.  I don’t count on just anything to meet my expectation- I like to count on ALL the things. ALL the pieces. And then, when things don’t work out as usual, comme d’habitude if you will, you can find me hunched over in my room muttering in my really horrible Gollum voice counting the ways how the situation isn’t my fault even though, well, it kinda is for my outrageous expectations.

Let me provide an example.

Yesterday I was invited to this dinner party hosted by (get ready for it this it’s a bit complicated) a work colleague of the father of my friend Drew. Being a lover of food, I asked my friend if I should bring anything, he said “aw of course”, and after some thought I decided to make a cake I heard about in one of my classes. Charlotte aux Pommes (aka the weirdest cake ever).

The afternoon went a little like this:

Stage one: chopping apples (the recipe seems quite normal at this point)

food a la fac

 

Stage two: sauté the apples with a bit of cane sugar and cinnamon (also quite normal)

 

Stage three: get 15 slices of bread and cut the crusts off (uhhhhh what?)

 

Stage four: slice the bread in thirds and use two thirds of them to line a deep baking dish (ummm okay…)

 

Stage five: put the sautéed apples atop the bread slices, top with remaining third of sliced bread, drizzle with melted butter, and bake (… but won’t my bread get soggy?)

 

So I put it in the oven and things were looking weird but good. Until of course I began to smell something like burnt toast igniting on fire and ran to the oven while forming some kind of recovery plan (can you give a cake CPR?).

I take out the “cake” or whatever it’s supposed to be and this thing is nasty looking. Nasty. The bread on top is covered in what seems to be asphalt or black paint but that’s really just the burnt bits laughing at me. After I take it out there’s complete silence in my apartment I really hope my friends aren’t thinking, “…if you have a food blog doesn’t that mean you know how to NOT burn things” or really just “…ewwwww”.

I think my friends either saw a hint of my disappointment or maybe my back hunching over and the whole Gollum bit coming out to whine and so they told me everything would be okay, to put some powdered super on the top to cover the burnt bits, and not to worry about it. But of course I worried about it.

I worried about it on the metro.

I worried about it at the door when I handed our host the cake and thought surely “He’s gonna throw this in my face I mean I’ve basically disgraced his native cuisine”.

I worried about it during delicious raclette and then when our host announced “time for Sarah’s dessert!” my heart was pounding with fear.

But that was the silliest thing because everything ended up being…well…perfect.

Once plated, you couldn’t even see the burnt bits the powdered sugar didn’t catch. The apples looked and tasted perfect and the bread had this really nice “bread pudding” effect that really made everything come together deliciously. Even the burnt bits added a nice crunch that no one would have anticipated.

 

Needless to say, I happily brought home an empty dish.

So the moral of the story is, the next time you come across something that really didn’t meet any of your expectations, do what I should have in the first place:  dust it with a little powdered sugar, hope for the best, and dig in anyways.

 

Charlotte Aux Pommes 

Ingredients:

6 apples

1 loaf rustic bread

4 tablespoons butter, melted

6 tablespoons cane sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

 

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Peel and slice apples and then place in a large bowl. Add cinnamon and sugar, mixing until all apples are evenly coated.

2. Sauté the apple mixture over medium high head for about 4 minutes. Set aside.

3. Cut the crusts from the bread and then cut each slice into thirds.

4. Coat the bottom and sides of a deep baking dish with about half the melted butter. Line the bottom with roughly 2/3 of the bread slices.

5. Add the apple mixture and then top with the remaining 1/3 of the bread.

6. Drizzle the remaining butter over the bread and place in the oven for about 30 minutes, checking regularly to ensure the bread doesn’t burn.

Fresh Peach Pie

Eating homemade pie is an experience quite like no other. Seemingly a “Southern” thing, I can tell you that I actually don’t get to savor this sweet-nectar-of-heaven-in-dessert-form as often as one would think. However, I am lucky enough to run in the same circles as other pie devotees and came across this recipe while at the lake house of some of my favorite family friends, The Bradley’s.

Cindy, the super mom of the family, is one of my mom’s BFFs and is an amazing chef. (Along with this awesome peach pie I’m about to give you, we also had the juiciest steaks ever paired with prosciutto-wrapped asparagus  for dinner. Yeah, my jaw dropped too.) For dessert, we whipped up a special recipe from her Southern-belle aunt; she calls it a Fresh Peach Pie but it’s much, much more than that.

Fresh peaches are the key here, friends. Bicycle over to your farmers market if you have to because the result will return to you in the form of karma-loving warmth and sweetness.

Chop up your peaches nice and lean, lay them out all pretty on your pie crust and then (this is the kicker) mix together sugar, some eggs, a bit of flour, vanilla extract and a hint of butter and pour it over the top. This custard-like mixture creates a light, fluffy interior where all those lovely peaches can rest while baking.

The result? A combo cream-fruit pie that brings the best of both worlds along with some kick-butt flavor.

Fresh Peach Pie

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups peaches, sliced
  • single pie crust (see below for recipe)
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Place pie crust in 9 inch pie pan bake for about 5-7 minutes before filling the pie.
  2. When finished, remove pie from oven and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Arrange peach slices on top of pie crust.
  4. Mix sugar, flour, eggs, butter and vanilla until thick and creamy. Pour over arranged peaches.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes and serve warm with a generous heaping of vanilla ice cream.

Single Pie Crust (combination butter-shortening)

  • 1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoons sugar
  • 5  tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons of all-vegetable shortening
  • 3-4 Tablespoons ice water
  1. Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Add the butter and shortening one tablespoon at a time, and pulse a few times until the mixture resembles cornmeal.
  2. Sprinkle ice water over flour mixture and pulse a few times. Pinch the dough: if it holds together, it’s ready. If it doesn’t hold, keep adding water, a tablespoon at a time until ready.
  3. Remove dough, work it into a ball and flatten it into a disk about 4-5 inches wide. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for about one hour
  4. When ready, sprinkle some flour on a clean work surface and on top of the disk. Using a rolling pin, start in the center and roll outward until it reaches the size desired. (To test, place the pie pie dish you’re using upside down on the dough- the dough should extend about 2 inches all around)
  5. When ready, here’s a trick for getting it in the pan: gently fold the dough in half, lift it and place the crease along the center of the pie dish. Unfold and voila!
  6. Tuck any overhang underneath itself along the edge of the pie dish. Use your fingers in a pinching motion to crimp the edge of the pie crust.
  7. Fill pie crust with whatever your heart desires (in this case lots of peaches) and bake accordingly!

Orange Spice Madeleines

Sugar Cookies are to American baking as Madeleines are to French. At least for me.

So many possibilities! I love making these delightful cuties because they lend themselves to a myriad of flavor creations. I mean, I’ve seen everything from traditional lemon to Nutella, green tea, cappuccino, and honey. Plus, they’re just adorable really.



For the holidays, I tried my hand at some orange spice madeleines and mannnn were they great. Oh and I dipped them in chocolate. Holla!



There’s a few tricks to know when making madeleines. First, it’s a must to have your eggs at room temperature (better volume, better mixing, better batter). To do this fairly quickly, crack your eggs, whisk, and place in a small bowl. Fill a larger bowl with warm water, place the egg bowl on top, and stir occasionally while prepping your other ingredients.



When you’re ready to use your eggs in combination with the sugar, beat mixture on high for about 5 minutes. When the attachment is lifted, the egg mixture should leave a frothily delicious trail behind.



Easily fold in the dry ingredients just until combined, about 30 seconds. Before baking, let the batter rest in the frigo for about 30 minutes to achieve maximum madeleine perfection.


This is a great base line recipe for any future madeleine adventures you may have! Swap out the orange zest and cinnamon for anything and everything you choose.



Orange Spice Madeleines
Yield: 2 dozen     Prep Time: 15 minutes     Bake Time: 8-10 minutes


Ingredients:
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/4 teaspoon grated orange peel

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup whole wheat or white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice + scant 1/2 cup of milk)
3 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 to 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, optional*

Directions:

1. To warm eggs, crack, whisk, and place in a small bowl. Fill a larger bowl with warm water, place the egg bowl on top, and stir occasionally while prepping your other ingredients.
2. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into a mixing bowl and set aside.
3. Combine buttermilk and oil in a small bowl and set aside.
4. Take the egg bowl off the water. Place eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat on high speed until the mixture is thickened and pale, about 5 minutes (the beaters should leave a ribbon trail when lifted).
5. Mix in vanilla and orange zest.
6. Alternately fold the dry ingredients and the buttermilk mixture into the egg mixture with a rubber spatula, about 3 additions of dry ingredients and 2 additions of liquid.
7. Chill batter in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
8. Preheat oven to 400°F and coat a madeleine pan with cooking spray.
9. Drop the batter by into the prepared pan, filling each depression about three-quarters full (you will use about half of the batter). Place remaining batter back in the refrigerator.
10.Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, 8-10 minutes. Loosen the cakes from the pan and invert onto a rack to cool. Clean pan, fill with remaining batter, and bake.
*For the chocolate coating, heat 1/2 to 1 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips in the microwave in thirty second increments. Stir until melted. Dip the tips of the madeleines in the chocolate and set aside to cool.