Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cherry Frozen Yogurt with Chocolate Stracciatella

I had a bag of cherries. I needed to use them. I pitted them with a pastry tip, and there was no mess because I pitted them in a deep bowl. However, my thumb was very sore. Anyway, I found the recipe for this yogurt off of Mike's Table. The cherry flavor was as intense as it looks in the photo. In fact, the cherries in my yogurt look a lot darker than they do in Mike's. The chocolate bits toned down the intense, cherry flavor, but I still could eat only a little bit at a time. Hence the reason I still have a lot left sitting in the freezer.
I was surprised about how well the chocolate and cherry complemented each other. If you really love cherry, you should try out this recipe. I am entering this recipe in for the Ice Cream Social Challenge hosted by Scotty Snacks, Savor the Thyme, and Tangled Noodle.

Cherry Frozen Yogurt with Chocolate Stracciatella
adapted from Mike's Table who adapted it from Perfect Scoop and Amateur Gourmet
  • 3 cups cherries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp cognac (OPTIONAL since I don't drink alcohol, I subbed honey for consistency)
  • few drops of almond extract
  • Optional: 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate
With all of your cherries pitted, toss them with the sugar in the saucepan, and crank up the heat to medium-high. Stir this periodically, and the cherries will begin to soften and surrender their juices while the sugar will dissolve and form a delicious syrup. After about 10 minutes or so, the cherries ought to be fairly tender and you should have a good bit of juice. Remove from heat once you do.

Now, while the cherries are hot, transfer this to the food processor or blender. If you want cherry chunks in your final frozen yogurt, don’t purée just yet, but maybe give a quick few pulses. If you’d rather have the cherry completely mixed in to your final frozen yogurt, purée this mixture well.

Let the mixture cool to room temperature before you go any further. To speed things along, you can set the mixture in a bowl over an ice bath for about 20 minutes. Once the cherry mixture is sufficiently cool, add the yogurt, cognac (optional), and almond extract and stir everything together or put in the blender/food processor until well mixed.

Set this aside in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap (press it right against the surface), and let this rest in the fridge for about 2 hours so it can cool down.

Once time is up, churn this in your ice cream maker according to the directions that came with your machine.

If you choose to add the stracciatella, about 2 minutes before the churning is done, melt your chocolate in a bowl in the microwave (30 seconds, stir, another 30 seconds, stir, and repeat if necessary until totally and nicely melted down). Once the chocolate is in liquid form, pour a very thin stream into the churning ice cream maker, doing your best to avoid the dasher (but let’s be realistic…). The thin stream of chocolate will resolidify into little chunks on contact with the cold yogurt and it will be quite nicely dispersed throughout the frozen yogurt. Transfer this to an air tight container and let it rest in the freezer over night.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Orange Chicken

Please click here for an updated post on this same recipe. The photos are much more appetizing.

I was craving Chinese food, specifically Orange Chicken. I've been trying to save money, so I opted to make this dish myself instead of going out to a restaurant. Fortunately, I had every ingredient. This dish tasted even better hours later. You should definitely make this. Just allow time to fry up the chicken bits; that part took the longest.


Orange Chicken
from Blog Chef

Ingredients:
Chicken-
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1-1/2” cubes)
1 ½ cups all purpose flour or cornstarch
1 eggs (beaten)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Oil (for frying; I used vegetable or canola oil, but peanut oil is the best for frying)

Orange Sauce-
1 ½ cups water
2 tablespoons orange juice
¼ cup lemon juice
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon orange zest (grated)
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon ginger root (minced)
½ teaspoon garlic (minced)
2 tablespoons green onion (chopped)
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water

Step 1: Combine flour, salt, and pepper. Dip chicken in egg mixture and shake in flour mixture to coat. Deep fry chicken in batches at 375 degrees in a deep fryer (or use a wok) until completely cooked.

Step 2: Meanwhile, in a large saucepan combine 1 ½ cups water, lemon juice, orange juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. Blend well over medium heat for a few minutes. Stir in brown sugar, orange zest, ginger garlic, and onion. Bring to a boil.

Step 3: Combine 3 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water and mix thoroughly. Slowly stir cornstarch mixture into sauce until it thickens. Pour sauce over breaded chicken, and if desired add red pepper flakes and garnish with green onions.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: Chocolate-Covered Marshmallow Cookies & Milano Cookies

The July Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

Finally. I have finally completed a true baker challenge with this one. :) I even made both cookies, even though we could just make one of them. Let's first talk about the Marshmallow Cookies.

MARSHMALLOW COOKIES:

The base to these cookies was very easy to put together. I made the dough, which was shaped into a disk, two days ahead of time with the intention of doing the rest of the cookie the next day. Well, that didn't happen because...well...the marshmallows happened haha.

MARSHMALLOWS:

I talked about the marshmallows on a previous post already, but I guess I can go into more detail here. The first time I tried to make them, I didn't read the instructions carefully and stirred the egg white (I halved the recipe) into the somewhat-cooled caramel. There were strings of caramel everywhere - on my hands, bowl, spoon, pot, etc. It was crazy. After I cleaned off every thing, I tried again. The second time around, I followed the procedures found on the recipe posted on Smitten Kitchen, since it looked easier. Well, everything looked better until I noticed that the softened gelatin had clumped up at the bottom of the mixer bowl. I tried to pour out what I could and went on with the recipe in hopes that everything would work out. The so-called marshmallows came out looking yellowish and weird, so I had to throw them away.

It was getting dark, and I was tired, so I gave up and put everything away. I couldn't sleep well that night because I couldn't stand the fact that I hadn't been able to master what seemed to be a feasible recipe! I had made caramel sauce, soufflés, authentic mole poblano, puff pastry, danish, apfelstrudel, yeast breads, etc. in the past, why couldn't I make marshmallows? I dreamt about making marshmallows. I could see the beautiful, pristine photos on Deb's website in my head.

As soon as I woke up the next day, I walked directly to the kitchen, pulled out all of the ingredients by memory, and followed the recipe on Smitten Kitchen instead of that of Daring Bakers. I figured that since they had given us permission to use store-bought marshmallows, I could follow another recipe. That is better than taking the shortcut!

On my third attempt, I stirred the softened gelatin as I poured in the syrup instead of beating it with the whisk attachment on the mixer. After I stirred the gelatin and syrup, I started to swell with excitement because I could tell I was on the right track. Once I mixed the gelatin with the syrup, I turned on the mixer with the whisk attachment and watched the mixture turn into a white, smooth, yet stringy marshmallow fluff!! YIPPEE!! I then added the egg whites and vanilla and poured the fluff into the powdered-sugar-lined pan. They came out perfectly and were so soft. I'm still not crazy about marshmallows, though. LOL

We were supposed to put the marshmallow fluff in a pastry bag and pipe it out onto the cookie base, but I decided to just make them full-out marshmallows and threw them in the oven for a few minutes at a low temperature while atop the cookie base so that the marshmallows could melt a bit and adhere to the cookie. I then allowed them to cool before dipping them in the glaze.

The chocolate glaze for the cookies was no problem. I ran out of the Guittard semi-sweet chocolate chips, so to the rest of the cookies I used some unsweetened, dark chocolate and added sugar to the mix, which made the texture look grainy. So, about half of them had semi-sweet chocolate and the other half, dark chocolate. I didn't try the latter because I don't like dark chocolate.

MILANO COOKIES:

These cookies were easy to make. I only had problems with shaping the cookies. As you can see, each one is a different size and shape haha. I was going to use my pastry bag, as the recipe instructed us to do, but I didn't want to dirty one up, and I thought I could get away with using a Ziploc bag. Um, yeah, well, that didn't work out right. Once I started squeezing out the dough, the bag busted open and all the dough (or goop) fell out onto the silpat/silicon mat. I scraped up everything and put it back in my mixer bowl. Then, I just spooned in 1 x 2-4 inches of dough on the mat. I had a feeling it would spread greatly since we were supposed to make 1-inch portions. Well, they did spread and were misshapen, so in order to make the sandwich cookies more uniformed, I cut the edges with scissors. That worked out perfectly. The chocolate filling came out fine, too. I just don't like the taste of dark chocolate.

MY CONSENSUS ON BOTH TYPES OF COOKIES:

I didn't like either of the cookies. I'm very tired of marshmallows. I'm very tired of chocolate (GASP!). I'm very tired of cookies (GASP AGAIN!). They are everywhere in my kitchen. Since I live alone, I halved the recipe, but the recipes still yielded quite a bit. I'm going to give all the cookies to what I lovingly call my "garbage disposal" (aka my neighbor/college). Whatever he doesn't eat, he told me he would "donate" to our colleagues, and put them in the kitchen in our office.

REFLECTIONS ON THE CHALLENGE:

Even though I didn't like the cookies, I am so so so happy that I participated in this challenge because I learned so much. I was able to make things I had never made before, which is the point of Daring Bakers. I am so proud of myself for making marshmallows. I'll never forget it haha. I also enjoyed enrobing the cookies in chocolate.

Thanks, Nicole at Sweet Tooth! Don't forget to see what the other Daring Bakers have done with this challenge. I'm 100% certain that their entries will be much more creative than mine were haha.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Need I say more?

Awww, do I have to?

Well, Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream is my favorite flavor of ice cream. I like the fact that chocolate is not the star of the show; it is the supporting actor. The star, or the mint flavor, pairs well with the coldness of the ice cream. It fills your mouth with the refreshing, cold taste of mint. I wish I could make this again (I made this over a month ago!), but I need to wean myself off of ice cream now...If I only I had the metabolism of a young, skinny boy. *sigh*

For this ice cream, I just made vanilla ice cream based on this recipe, then I added mint extract and chocolate chips. Next time, I would like to make Mint Chip ice cream with mint leaves as found on Serious Eats. I am entering this recipe in for the Ice Cream Social Challenge hosted by Scotty Snacks, Savor the Thyme, and Tangled Noodle.

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

1 cup (250ml) whole milk (substitute half-n-half or heavy cream for a richer, softer ice cream)

A pinch of salt

3/4 cup (150g) sugar

2 cups (500ml) heavy cream

5 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (to taste)

1 - 2 teaspoons mint extract

1 cup chocolate chips (or 6 ounces of chocolate chunks)

1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan just to the scalding (not boiling) point. Remove from heat.

2. To make the ice cream, set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2l) bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the cream into the bowl. (OR place the entire custard base (i.e., after steps 3 and 4) in the refrigerator when you're done. I save extra bowls and ice this way. You also don't have to rewarm the milk.)

3. In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Rewarm the milk then gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.

4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula (I use a wooden spoon), until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula (about 5-7 minutes).

5. Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir over the ice until cool (if desired), add the vanilla and mint extracts (to taste), then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight.Itálico

6. Freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. About 2-5 minutes before the churning stops, add in the chocolate chips or chunks.

¡OJO!: Make sure you place the ice cream container in the freezer a day before you make this or the same day, if you plan to leave the custard in the refrigerator overnight.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Chocolate S'Mores Ice Cream

I'm not as crazy about S'mores as many other people, but one day I had a rare craving for the stuff. I bought the marshmallows, graham crackers, and Hershey's chocolate with great hesitation. I originally wanted to make my own marshmallows and graham crackers, but I didn't feel like putting in that much effort for something I'm not super crazy about eating...well, until a few days ago.

So after I consumed two or three s'mores, my craving was satiated, but I still had an almost full bag of marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate. In order to use up some of the stuff, I made some s'mores cookies that were insanely good (never got a chance to take photos of them, but you can click here or here to see them). Since I halved the cookie recipe, I was still left with a lot of s'more ingredients.

So, the other day, I had to make homemade marshmallows for an upcoming event, and all I could think was, "oh great, more marshmallows!" After three trials of making those marshmallows, I was left with three or four egg yolks. As I looked at the egg yolks, all I could think about was making ice cream with them.

Bokeh even makes a discarded letter, empty Coke box, vacuum cleaner, and foot massager look good! LOL!

Even though I'm no longer that crazy about chocolate, I was craving chocolate ice cream for some reason. After I made the custard base for the ice cream, I started thinking about what I could add in it. Then I looked over at the marshmallows and graham crackers and thought "S'mores ice cream!" I looked online for S'mores Ice cream recipes and found only one recipe that was unsatisfactory (i.e., no egg base and faulty instructions). So, I thought I'd just improvise and make my "own" concoction.

Ideally, I would have made a vanilla-based ice cream with chunks of Hershey's chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers added in during the final minutes of churning in the ice cream maker (Someone should try this out, and tell me about it! *wink wink*). However, since I had already made chocolate ice cream, I decided to add in crushed graham crackers and marshmallows. You could also add in chocolate chunks, but for me, that would be too much.

Surprisingly (or not surprisingly), the ice cream tasted great. Thanks to David L.'s chocolate ice cream recipe and the custard base, the ice cream was really creamy and smooth. I think it would also be a good idea to toast the marshmallows, allow them to cool and then add them to the ice cream so that they taste more closely to s'mores. If you decide to make this or the variation mentioned above with the vanilla base, or if you've already made it, please tell me about it!

July is National Ice Cream month, so I'm sending this to the Ice Cream Social Challenge, put together by Savor The Thyme. Tangled Noodle, Scotty Snacks & to Ben’s Homemade# 5: Ice Cream.

Chocolate Ice Cream
from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

2 cups heavy cream

3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup whole milk

¾ cup sugar

Pinch of salt

5 large egg yolks

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Warm 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder in a medium saucepan, whisking to thoroughly blend the cocoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer at a very low boil for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Then stir in the remaining 1 cup cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, scraping the saucepan as thoroughly as possible, and set a mesh strainer on top of the bowl.

Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in the same saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk unto the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the chocolate mixture until smooth, then stir in the vanilla. Stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions (If the cold mixture is too thick to pour into your machine, whisk it vigorously to thin out).

Makes a little more than 1 quart.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Homemade Marshmallows



After three failed attempts, I finally made homemade marshmallows. I'm not crazy about marshmallows, but these are so good. I took these pictures at night, so they don't look so great. They still taste yummy, though!



For the full version of the recipe, go here. Below you will find the halved version.

Springy, Fluffy Marshmallows
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Gourmet, December 1998

Makes about 40-48 1-inch cubed marshmallows

About 1/2 - 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 1/4 envelopes (1 tablespoons plus 1 1/4 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water, divided
1 cup granulated sugar (cane sugar worked just fine)
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/8 (or 2 Tbsps) teaspoon salt
1 large egg white or reconstituted powdered egg whites
1/2 tablespoon (or 1 1/2 teaspoons) vanilla (alternately: 1/4th of a scraped vanilla bean, 1 teaspoon almond or mint extract or maybe even some food coloring for tinting)

Oil (I used canola, but cooking spray could work) bottom and sides of a 8- by 8-inch square metal baking pan and dust bottom and sides with some confectioners’ sugar.

In bowl of a standing electric mixer or in a large bowl sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup cold cold water (I put cold water in the freezer for a few minutes), and let stand to soften.

In a 1.5-quart heavy saucepan cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, second 1/4 cup of cold water, and salt over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F, about 12-14 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved (DON'T FORGET TO STIR FIRST!).

With standing or a hand-held electric mixer beat mixture on high speed until white, thick, and nearly tripled in volume, about six minutes if using standing mixer or about 10 minutes if using hand-held mixer.

In separate medium bowl with cleaned beaters beat the egg white (or reconstituted powdered white) until they just hold stiff peaks. Beat whites and vanilla (or your choice of flavoring) into sugar mixture until just combined. Pour mixture into baking pan and don’t fret if you don’t get it all out . Sift 1/8-1/4 cup confectioners sugar evenly over top. Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least three hours, and up to one day.

Run a thin knife around edges of pan and invert pan onto a large cutting board. Lifting up one corner of inverted pan, with fingers loosen marshmallow and ease onto cutting board. With a large knife trim edges of marshmallow and cut marshmallow into roughly one-inch cubes. (An oiled pizza cutter works well here too.) (I used a pizza cutter) Sift remaining confectioners’ sugar back into your now-empty baking pan, and roll the marshmallows through it, on all six sides, before shaking off the excess and packing them away.

Do ahead: Marshmallows keep in an airtight container at cool room temperature 1 week.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls

Don't cha wanna a piece?

Words cannot begin to describe how utterly sinful and delicious these rolls were. I miss them so much. *tear* While they take a bit of time to make, I highly suggest you make these NOW!

Sexy, naked, and begging for icing haha

I prepared the dough the night before and then baked the rolls the next day. They tasted just as good the next day and the next. If you're planning on having them around longer than that, I suggest freezing them without the icing. In fact, I only put the icing on my rolls when they are being served.

So tempting...

Please. I beg you. Try. these. rolls. NOW! Thanks, Joy! Also, check out other yummy baked goods at Yeastspotting!

Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls

adapted from Joy the Baker, which came from Saveur

For the Dough:

1 package or 2 1/4 tsp of active dry yeast

1/2 teaspoon, plus 1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup milk or half-n-half at room temperature

2 Tablespoons light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg

1 egg yolk

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted, plus more for kneading

3/4 teaspoon salt

8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan (or spray)

For the Filling:

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup finely chopped pecans (I omitted)

1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts (I omitted)

1/4 cup raisins (I doubled)

1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

2 Tablespoons maple syrup (I subbed 1 Tbsp each of honey and corn syrup)

4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the Icing:

1 1/2 - 2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup buttermilk (?? I wasn't sure about using buttermilk, and I didn't have whole milk, so I used half-n-half)

Making the Dough:

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine yeast, 1/2 teaspoon sugar and 1/4 cup water heated to 115 degrees F. Stir to combine and let sit until frothy and foamy, about 10 minutes.

Add remaining sugar, milk, light brown sugar, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk. Beat with a wire whisk until well combined. Fit the bowl onto the mixer, fitting with the dough hook attachment. Add the flour and salt and mix on medium speed until the dough just begins to come together. Turn the machine on medium-high and knead the dough for 4 minutes.

Add the butter and continue to knead for about 6 minutes. The dough will the wet and sticky. Place the dough on a well-floured work surface, and knead about 1/3 cup all-purpose flour into the dough. Don’t worry, the dough still might be a little sticky. It’s ok. Just set the dough to rest in a large greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

While the dough rises, make the filling. Combine the sugar, dark brown sugar, pecans, walnuts, raisins, cinnamon, salt and cloves in a large bowl. Stir to combine. Stir in the maple syrup. Set aside.

When the dough has doubled in size, dump if from the bowl onto a heavily-floured work surface. Gently knead the dough until it is no longer sticky, adding more flour as needed (about 3 Tablespoons of flour). Work the dough for about 1 or 2 minutes. Once it’s no longer sticky, place a kitchen towel over the dough and let rest for 5 minutes before you roll it out.

Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 10 x 10-inch square.

In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese with an offset knife until it’s smooth and spreadable.

Spread the cream cheese evenly over the dough square. Fold the square into thirds like you would fold a letter to fit into an envelope. Take the open ends of the rectangle and fold into thirds again, to make a smaller dough square. (There are detailed photos of this process on Joy's site)

Invert the dough so that the seam is face down and, using the rolling pin, gently roll it into a 10 x 20-inch rectangle. You make find that some cream cheese sneaks through. Be as gently as possible with the dough, but continue to work it until you reach the size you need.

Turn the dough so that the short sides are parallel to you. You’re going to roll from the short sides of the dough.

Brush the top of the dough with half of the melted butter. We’ll use the rest of the butter after the rolls are baked.

Pour all of the filling onto the dough. Spread evenly, leaving a 1-inch boarder at one of the short edges of the dough so the roll can be properly sealed. Lightly press the filling into the dough.

Using your hands, lift up the bottom edge of the dough and roll it forward into a tight cylinder. Place dough cylinder seam side down on a cutting board. Using a sharp, thin knife, trim off the uneven edges (This step is optional. I kept everything).

Cut cylinder into 8 equal slices (I used sewing string to cut them nicely without squishing down the rolls). Nestle the slices, cut side up and evenly spaced in a butter 9 x 13-inch (light colored) metal baking dish. Cover pan with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to let rise for 2 hours. You may also refrigerate rolls overnight.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Uncover the rolls. If you refrigerated the rolls, let them sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before baking. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Make the icing: While the rolls are baking, whisk together the sugar and buttermilk, milk, or half-n-half in a small bowl until smooth.

Transfer the pan of cinnamon rolls to a cooling rack. Brush with remaining butter (I used 2 Tbsp). Let cool for 5 minutes. Dip the tines of a fork into the icing and drizzle over the rolls. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Banana Pudding

Not the most photogenic dessert in the world, but it sure is good!

Woah, it's been a long time since I've posted on here. There are too many other food blogs out there for me to have to write the usual apology for not posting more regularly, so I will just get right to writing about this yummy banana pudding!

I had been seeing quite a few recipes for vanilla wafers on the blogosphere, so I had been planning to make this pudding with said wafers for a long time. I finally got around to it today. I made the wafers (of varying sizes), the egg custard for the pudding, and then put everything together. The wafers were good, but the buttery flavor was too salient for the pudding. I think I will either use less butter in the wafers or try another recipe next time. The wafers by themselves were good, too. I didn't take any pictures of the cookies because they looked pretty plain, but you can still see them poking out of the homemade whipped cream (I don't like meringue.) and custard. YUM!

*UPDATE*
After sitting in the refrigerator for a few hours, this banana pudding has gotten a lot better. Now you can barely taste that heavy buttery taste I mentioned previously, so everything has melded together very well. This pudding is divine!

I got the recipe from my favorite southern food blog, Southern Plate. Every single thing I've made on this site has been so good. From the chicken crockpot dressing to this banana pudding, she knows what she's talking about. I also love how she uses generic basic ingredients. Because of her, I own a generous size of generic, Wal-mart brand vanilla extract that only cost me .98 cents :D.

Here is the recipe. Since I live alone, I halved the recipe (full recipe is shown below),and it still procured a generous portion. In order to add in 1 1/2 egg yolks, I usually stir the yolks (you can do the same thing with whole eggs), and then I pour in what looks like over half of the stuff. It works perfectly every time.

All gone!

Homemade Banana Pudding
adapted from Southern Plate

1/2 C Sugar
1/3 C Flour

3 egg yolks (I saved and froze my egg whites for my new go-to white cake recipe. I will post about that later)
2 C milk
2-3 dozen vanilla wafers* (or 1 box Nilla Wafers)

5 bananas (I used 2 bananas in my half version, and it was perfect)
1/2 tsp Vanilla
dash salt

Place a layer of Nilla Wafers in the bottom of a medium sized mixing bowl. Slice a banana over the top. Repeat two more times with another layer of wafers and remaining bananas.

In sauce pot (or double boiler) on medium low heat, add all ingredients except for vanilla, bananas, and wafers. Stir well with wire whisk and then switch to a wooden spoon. Allow to cook, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, until thickened - about ten to fifteen minutes (Do not rely heavily on the time; rely more on the thickness of the custard. You don't want to end up with scrambled eggs!). Once the custard coasts the spoon, turn off the heat. Add in vanilla and stir. Immediately pour over wafers and bananas. Let sit for about five minutes or so before serving, to allow wafers time to absorb pudding. Top with meringue (or whipped cream), if desired.

For a basic recipe for Whipped Cream, you can go here. I made mine with 1/2 cup of heavy cream, 2 Tbsps of sugar, and 1/2-1 tsp of vanilla extract.

*Vanilla Wafer Cookies

adapted from Baking Bites

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 325F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light. Beat in egg and vanilla extract.
Sift flour, salt and baking powder over the butter mixture and stir to combine. Scrap dough into a pastry bag fitted with a plain piping tip. Pipe the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, making each cookie the size of a large chocolate chip. Cookies will spread, but only a little space is needed between cookies.
(IMHO, the dough was too thick for the piping bag, so I just used a teaspoon and dumped the dough onto the pan. Since it would be covered with custard and cream, I wasn't worried about them looking perfect.)

Bake at 325 F for 10 to 15 minutes, until cookies are a light golden brown. Baking time will vary depending on the exact size of your cookies. Mine were a bit tall, but slightly smaller than a dime. They spread slightly to about dime-size. Cool on baking sheets. Store in an airtight container.

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