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Strawberry Rhubarb Banana Shortcakes

Frozen banana slices add sweetness and cool-temperature contrast to this classic dessert.

Is there anything new to be written about strawberry shortcake? It’s where the simple flavour of the tastiest fruit with its seeds1 on the outside meets a composed preparation. Eating just the tips (those are the sweetest part) and throwing the rest over your shoulder works in your garden but not for a dinner party. Strawberry cakes, tarts, and ice cream involve a lot of work but very little flavour reward. (more…)

Banana Bread Sandwiches with Nutella Dip

Dipping banana bread sandwich into melted Nutella.

As a kid I don’t think I had particularly weak ears but I downed my share of amoxicillin and developed the usual distaste for artificial banana flavour. That’s why I have some trepidation about offering two posts in a row that feature the flavour of childhood ear infections.

This is a short and simple (and I submit delicious) use for the leftover banana bread and banana cream from yesterday’s post.

There are recipes out there –including the one from Food & Wine that I used–for the Nutella dip but really this is something so elemental that measuring doesn’t make sense. (more…)

Banana Bread with Banana Cream

Banana bread with custard-like banana cream for breakfast.

February 23 is my Personal I Haven’t Had Banana Bread in a While Day. I’m not sure exactly why, but banana bread seems to be a summer thing for me. That doesn’t make much sense given that there are so many other fruits that are in season and lend themselves well to things like peach cobbler, cherry pan dowdy,  or blueberry grunt.

It seems more appropriate that banana bread is a winter recipe given that bananas seem to be equally available all year. (Do they still have a season or has the global banana conglomerate managed to plant them widely enough for that not to matter?)

Wanting to make my unique contribution to the science of banana bread I considered how I could improve on the standard classic. To reduce the number of concerned notes I get from my parents I’m trying to avoid filling everything with bacon so I skipped over that idea. Banana bread can always use a little insurance against being too dry so a pudding like sauce seems in order. (more…)

Essential Pepin: Chocolate Mousse

The chocolate pistoles I used for Jacques Pepin's chocolate mousse.

My first two experiences with recipes from Essential Pepin, the composed salad and tarragon chicken, have been easy walks in the park. Maybe just because I’m not really a dessert guy that was not the case for the chocolate mousse.

Don’t get me wrong, the result was delicious and brilliantly chocolate-y, but the texture just wasn’t right. Picture chocolate ice cream with chocolate chunks or a very loose brownie with bits of fudge. It’s tough to complain about either of these but they’re still not a smooth, integrated mousse.

With a Google search I’ve found that some of the other bloggers who have experimented with Essential Pepin have had similar results. This post on Dinner with Julie demonstrates what I was expecting and shooting for while this one on Baking in the ‘Burg is closer to what I got. (more…)

Halloween Candy Bars

Leftover Hallowe’en candy presents a problem for which I have a solution more inventive than foisting it on coworkers and more elegant than eating it all yourself. Inspired by this Serious Eats post from a couple years ago I melted two pounds of fun-size chocolate bars onto an adapted version of the crust from Martha Stewart’s lemon squares.

Two pounds of unused Halloween candy.

Two pounds of unused Halloween candy.

It’s an abomination and looks like a dog’s breakfast–if the dog were about to risk some serious heart palpitations from all that chocolate–but I’m telling you it’s addictive. Like dessert-crack addictive. (more…)