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by Heather Harris Brady

This idea was a happy coincidence that came out of a need to use up a large batch of bananas – or maybe it was an excuse to use a can of dulce de leche, tomato, tomahto 😉

I used a basic cream puff dough (pate de choux), topped with cinnamon sugar and a bit of streusel for crunch. Then I put a dollop of dulce in the bottom of each puff, and topped it with a large scoop of banana soft-serve. The flavors work together really well, and if you have a very cold deep freeze you can have it on the table in less than two hours (most of which time is just allowing the bananas to freeze).

Churro Puffs, Makes eight servings

  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 4 T. butter
  • 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 T. 1-2-3-4 streusel
  • 2 T. cinnamon sugar
  • 1 c. dulce de leche
  • 6 large ripe bananas for banana soft serve
  • Chocolate syrup, for garnish

Slice your bananas and put them in a single layer on a piece of waxed paper. Slide them into the deep freeze.

Preheat the oven to 400. Combine the water, milk and butter in a saucepan over medium heat.

When the butter is melted and the mixture is steaming hot, add the flour all at once.

Whisk quickly until the mixture comes together in a ball.

Take the dough off the heat and whisk in the eggs, one at a time. (Note – these are farm fresh eggs from a friend so the yolks are a beautiful deep yellow orange.)

When both eggs are incorporated you should have a lovely paste.

Drop by heaping tablespoons onto a lightly greased cookie sheet, and top each one with cinnamon sugar and streusel.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. When you take them out of the oven split the tops to let the steam out.

When you’re to serve prep your serving plates with a drizzle of chocolate sauce, top it with a puff and add a spoon of dulce into the bottom of each puff.

Put the frozen banana slices in the food processor and process for two minutes on high, until smooth.

Add a large scoop of banana soft serve into each puff and serve!

Baked puffs may be stored at room temperature for a few hours, and they freeze well. You can recrisp frozen puffs at 350 for 5-10 minutes.


Four years ago: Stuffed Zucchini
Three years ago: Butternut Squash BBQ Sauce
Two years ago: Double Berry Cookies
One year ago: Coney Sauce, Michigan Style


butterscotchpie12_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

This pie was something of a revelation for me, because I decided to apply my “browned butter makes everything better” theory. And you know what? So far, browned butter does make everything better.

In this case, I used it in the crumb crust. Normally I find crust a little ho-hum, to be honest, but with the browned butter the crust became one with the pie and it was amazing!

Butterscotch Banana Cream Pie, Makes one 8″ pie

Crust:

  • 1 pkg. vanilla wafer cookies
  • 5 T. butter
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar

Filling:

  • 2-1/2 c. whole milk
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 3 T. cornstarch
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1 large banana

Put the cookies and the sugar in the food processor and pulse to fine crumbs. Set aside.

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Put the 5 T. butter in a saucepan over medium heat and cook until brown:

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Spread the cookie crumbs in your pie dish and mix in the browned butter.

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Pat the crumbs around the dish in an even layer and put the crust in the refrigerator.

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Combine the cornstarch and brown sugar.

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Put the milk in a saucepan over medium heat.

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Whisk in the cornstarch and sugar mixture, cook until thickened.

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Beat the egg yolks in a bowl, stir in some of the hot filling, and return it all to the pan. Whisk quickly until it comes back to boil and remove it from the heat. Stir in the 1 T. butter and the vanilla.

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Slice the banana over the crust.

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Then cover it with the filling.

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I saved a few crumbs for the top.

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The pie will cut into neater slices if you can refrigerate it overnight, and the flavors have time to blend that way too. To serve top it with fresh banana slices and a dollop of whipped cream.

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Store any leftovers covered in the refrigerator.


Three years ago: Preserved Lemons
Two years ago: Soft Buttered Pretzel Bites
One year ago: Skinny Brownies


bananasundae13_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

A healthy sundae – whaaaa? Yes, maybe you just can have it all.

Again, I apologize for these photos. This time my camera battery charger disappeared, so please bear with me until my new one gets here. Here’s something to sweeten the deal, a light, healthy (mostly!), and refreshing but chocolately summer dessert. On the bottom we have a nice fudgy brownie square and on top – banana peanut butter ice cream.

Sounds normal enough right? Well hold on to your retro avocado-colored appliances because things are about to get weird. These brownies are made with an avocado (no other added fat) and only 1/3 c. of sugar. The ice cream – no added sugar or cream. I’m calling these fudge squares instead of brownies, because they are somewhere in between fudge and a brownie. It’s nice if you can do a little prep work the day before – put the banana slices in the freezer, make the brownies and refrigerate them.

Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream, Makes four 1 c. servings

  • Two large bananas
  • 1/3 c. natural peanut butter (the only ingredient should be peanuts)
  • 1-1/2 t. lemon juice

Fudge Squares, Makes nine 3″ squares

  • One large Haas avocado
  • Two eggs
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. dark cocoa
  • 3 oz. melted dark chocolate
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 c. greek yogurt
  • 1/3 c. unbleached flour (can use gluten-free)
  • Kosher salt and mini chocolate chips for sprinkling the top

Slice the bananas onto waxed paper and put them in the freezer until completely solid (preferably overnight).

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Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the avocado, eggs, vanilla, yogurt and sugar in the food processor.

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Blend well.

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Scrape down the bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Or be a rebel like I am and scrape it down after you put the dry ingredients in.

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Blend to a dark creamy batter.

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Spread it in a well-greased pan and sprinkle the top with the salt and chips.

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Bake about 20 minutes, until the center is set.

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Let cool, preferably refrigerate overnight. When you’re ready to serve, combine the banana slices in the food processor with the peanut butter and lemon juice.

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Blend well. After about 20 seconds it will smooth out to something very much like soft-serve ice cream.

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If you want it firmer return to the freezer for a few minutes. To dish put a fudge square on each plate.

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Top each square with a large scoop of the banana peanut butter ice cream.

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Serve immediately.


Two years ago: Strawberry Shortcake
One year ago: Thousand Island Dressing

bananacake12_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

This is a quick snack cake I threw together while I was making dinner to use up some odd items I had laying around. It goes together in minutes and you can have warm cake for dessert! Since this recipe is meant to use up leftovers I’m giving you some potential substitutions below.

Butter Pecan Banana Cake, Makes on 8″ square cake

  • 5 T. softened butter
  • 3/4 c. packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas (or 1 c. pumpkin/sweet potato)
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1-3/4 c. flour
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk (or yogurt/sour cream)

Topping:

  • 1 c. shelled raw pecans
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
  • 3 T. heavy cream
  • 1 t. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly grease a 8″ square cake pan. Cream the butter and sugar together, then cream in the eggs, bananas and vanilla.

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Beat in the flour, buttermilk, and baking powder.

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You should have a thick, creamy batter.

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Spread it in the pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until the center springs back lightly at the touch.

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While the cake is baking make the topping.

Combine the butter and nuts in a saucepan over medium heat.

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Saute for about five minutes, until the nuts and butter are starting to brown. Then add the sugar.

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Cook until the brown sugar starts to smell like caramel, about five minutes. Keep stirring! Then add the cream all at once.

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Cook for another two minutes and take it off the heat. Stir in the vanilla and let it cool. It will start to thicken up.

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Spread the topping over the warm cake.

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Sprinkle with some coarse salt if you like. Serve warm.

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Cover lightly with plastic and store any leftovers at room temperature.


Two years ago: Pavlovas
One year ago: Charred Asparagus

branmuffins9_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

Suffice to say, I am not a bran-muffin kind of gal. I am much more of a chocolate croissant kind of gal. However, even I like these so if you’re looking ahead to spring and starting to think lean these are a really good choice for desk snacks and the like. I used Jane Brody’s basic recipe from her Good Food Book and doctored it up with some banana, cinnamon and some chocolate chips as a reward for being so healthy 😉

This is a big batch and they freeze well, but you can always cut the recipe in half if you like.

Bran Muffins, Makes 24

  • 3 c. bran cereal (I used Fiber One.)
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 1 c. raisins
  • 1 c. boiling water
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1-3/4 c. milk with 1 T. vinegar added OR 2 c. buttermilk
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • One very ripe banana
  • 2 t. cinnamon
  • 2-1/4 c. unbleached flour + 1/2 c. wheat germ OR 2-1/4 c. whole wheat flour
  • 2-1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 mini chocolate chips (optional)

Combine the raisins, olive oil and cereal. Stir in the boiling water and let it sit for 15 minutes.

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Mash the banana well with a fork and whisk in the eggs, milk and brown sugar.

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Pour in the rest of the dry ingredients and the bran mixture.

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Stir well and set the batter aside for an hour.

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Preheat the oven to 375 and fill 24 muffin cups about 3/4 full with batter.

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Bake for 15 minutes, or until the center of the muffins spring back to the touch.

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Cool the muffins on racks and store them wrapped. They are nice and moist with lots of flavors that play well together.

branmuffins8_little-house-dunes

branmuffins7_little-house-dunes


Two years ago: Spicy Greens
One year ago: Austrian Carnival Doughnuts

threelayerbananacake20_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

Sorry I missed my second post last week. Everyone was sick, even the dog.

If well-chilled this pretty cake slices neatly into three layers – a moist banana cake on the bottom with mini chips, a layer of salted caramel frosting and a thin layer of ganache on top to tie it all together. I like to bake it in a 13 x 9 pan but you could bake it in layers if you like, putting the caramel in the middle and the ganache on top instead.

Salted Caramel Banana Cake, Makes one 13″ x 9″ cake

For the cake:

  • 1 stick (1/2 c.) butter
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 c. mashed banana
  • 1 6 oz. container of yogurt (plain or vanilla)
  • 2-1/4 c. flour
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 c. semisweet mini-chips

For the caramel frosting:

  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 1 t. vinegar
  • 1 t. coarse salt
  • 2/3 c. heavy cream
  • 4 T. soft butter
  • 2-1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1-2 T. heavy cream

For the ganache:

  • 1 c. dark or semisweet chips
  • 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1 t. vanilla

First, the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350. Cream the butter and the sugars.

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Add the eggs and vanilla. Beat until light.

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Mash the banana well with a fork.

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Add the banana and the dry ingredients. Beat well.

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Beat in the yogurt, then the chips.

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Spread the batter in a well-greased 13 x 9 pan.

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Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until the center is firm to the touch.

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While the cake is baking make the salted caramel:

Combine the sugar, water and vinegar in a saucepan. Bring to a quick boil.

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As the syrup starts to turn a golden brown remove it from the heat.

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Quickly whisk in the cream. It will bubble and look like this:

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Stir in the salt and set the caramel aside to cool.

Beat the butter and powdered sugar together in a mixing bowl. Add the heavy cream and beat to a thick frosting. Then beat in half of your cooled caramel. (Save the other half of the caramel for drizzling over the top or on the serving plates.)

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Set the frosting aside and start the ganache:

Combine the cream and the chips in a saucepan. Whisk over medium heat until smooth. Stir in the butter and vanilla. Set it aside to cool.

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If your cake layer is now cool to the touch spread the caramel frosting over the top.

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Put it in the refrigerator until the frosting is set. Then spread the ganache on top.

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Add a sprinkle of sea salt so it’s extra pretty.

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If you don’t mind soft frosting you can store the cake on the counter. But it will slice cleaner if you keep it in the fridge.

One year ago: Chocolate Mint Cookies


 

 

 

 

 

 

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