dominique ansel’s banana bread

ansel banana bread

As you may have heard, the great Dominique Ansel recently released the recipe for his infamous cronuts. The recipe takes three days, four rises, a deep fryer, and something called a “butter block”. Oh, and let’s not forget to make the glaze and the flavored sugar.

While I may never eat (and will more likely never make) a cronut, what I was more interested in was his much simpler, more approachable recipe for the great and humble banana bread. Because the one thing everyone needs is yet another banana bread recipe, right?

I mean, it’s not like I don’t already have not one but two recipes for banana bread right here on this very site, but I was intrigued. I mean, how amazing can banana bread really be?

I became even more intrigued as I continued reading the recipe… no vanilla, no brown sugar, not even a hint of cinnamon. Clearly this was some sort of trick. Would Mr. Eats even eat a quickbread that wasn’t covered in streusel? I wasn’t sure…

I fought off my urge to tinker with every fiber of my being… No, Natalie, we aren’t adding vanilla. Or brown sugar. That “dash of cinnamon” is definitely off the table – If the great Dominique Ansel doesn’t need it, then neither do I gosh darnit!

ansel banan bread 2

After I congratulated myself on completing a recipe from start to finish by actually following the directions and not tinkering with a single ingredient… I tossed it in the oven and prepared myself for disappointment. I was ready to laugh and scoff and bring Chef Ansel down a peg.

Well color me wrong because this stuff is like banana gold. It turns out, apparently, that you don’t actually need any vanilla, or streusel, or cinnamon. All you need is bananas, flour, sugar, eggs and love. And lots of butter. You’ll definitely be needing that butter. And an over-sized loaf pan (my puny 8 by 5 would not do. Luckily I found some old larger loaf pan that, judging from the looks of it, I can only assume came from my mom or possibly a bomb shelter.

The loaf baked up with an incredibly light and tender crumb on the inside and a delightfully crisp exterior. I was a bit lazy about the banana-mashing so I still had a few chunks of banana, but i like it that way.

It is pure banana essence baked into loaf form and more than anything else – it is addictive.

Score one for Chef Ansel. I’m so sorry I ever doubted you.

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Since I assumed that his cookbook would be full of cronuts and other complex things that frankly I get tired just thinking about… I had already decided that I wasn’t going to purchase it. However, now that I realize that there could be more gems in there like this banana bread,  I should probably just pre-order it now.

dominique ansel’s banana bread

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 4 overripe bananas, mashed
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing pan

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 10" x 5" x 3 ½" loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl, whisking to combine.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs and whisk in mashed bananas.
  4. Create a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Gently fold the mixture until the ingredients are just combined.
  5. Add the melted butter to the flour and banana mixture, and stir until fully incorporated.
  6. Pour the batter into prepared pan and bake until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then turn out onto cooling rack to complete cooling.

Notes

This recipe was found on Tasting Table

http://wee-eats.com/2014/10/18/dominique-ansels-banana-bread/

pumpkin pie bread pudding

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Last week I was forced to thaw my pumpkin challah ahead of schedule in order to complete its photo-op and I knew that re-freezing it really wasn’t an option. Since I didn’t want all of the challah to go to waste I had to do something with it (poor me), so I went to the easy option: bread pudding.

I took my other bread pudding recipe and adapted it slightly… well, by “adapted” I mean “poured a can of pumpkin into”… That counts as “adapted,” right?

I also switched from white sugar to brown because, to me, pumpkin just screams “BROWN SUGAR” and reduced the liquids a bit to make up for the additional liquid provided by the pumpkin puree. I probably could have reduced the liquids a bit more since I had originally planned to only had 1 cup of pumpkin puree… then I got tired thinking of what I would do with the rest of the can of pumpkin and just dumped the rest of it in.

I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? There is some real science going on here, guys.

I worried that it might be too much liquid, and maybe it was, the pudding took way longer than others have to bake, although that could have been because I insisted on opening the oven door every ten minutes to check on it. (Shame on me, I should know better.)

I’ve included the recipe as I made it below, along with some notes in case you’re interested in scaling back on the liquid.

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So I took the pudding out of the oven with trepidation, terrified that it was going to be a soggy, soupy mess. Then, after I let it cool off a bit on a wire rack I popped into the fridge to firm up. This step is important…

The refrigerator is where the magic happens.

In the refrigerator, what was once a warm bread pudding transforms into some sort of magical bread pudding/pumpkin pie hybrid. The top of the pudding stays wonderfully crisp while the bottom turned into what I can only describe as pumpkin pie.

Like, literally, the exact taste and texture of a creamy pumpkin pie.

It. was. amazing.

The refrigerator also has the added bonus of firming up the bread pudding enough for you to actually slice and serve it versus having to scoop it with a spoon.  Slicing the pudding also makes freezing it an option. If that’s your thing, you can see my notes on freezing the bread pudding at the end of the recipe.

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I topped my bread pudding with a healthy dollop of freshly-whipped cream (spiked with some cinnamon).  I suspect that a scoop of ice cream or creme anglaise would be a nice touch, too.

pumpkin pie bread pudding

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes

Yield: 1 casserole, 8 to 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 cups stale bread (I used pumpkin challah)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup cinnamon chips

Instructions

  1. Cut bread into 1/2- to 1-inch cubes; set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients except the bread and cinnamon chips.
  3. Once combined, add the bread and cinnamon chips; toss to coat.
  4. Pour into greased baking dish and cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate for 1 hour (or up to overnight).
  5. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325F. While the oven is preheating, set the bread pudding on the counter to take the chill off.
  6. Once the oven is preheated, remove plastic wrap from bread pudding and cover pudding with aluminum foil bake 20 minutes covered, then remove cover and bake for an additional 30 -50 minutes, until the bread pudding no longer releases liquid when pressed and the internal temperature reaches 165F.
  7. Cool bread pudding on a wire rack for 30 minutes to 1 hour, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill until ready to serve (4 hours or up to overnight). This is where the magic happens.
  8. When ready to serve, either reheat individual servings of bread pudding for about 30 seconds each (being careful not to overheat them) in the microwave or reheat the entire pan in the oven by placing it in a cool oven, covered with aluminum foil. Set oven to 350 and by the time your oven is heated the bread pudding should be warmed through (you can poke it to check, if you like).
  9. Serve with creme anglaise, ice cream, or cinnamon-spiced whipped cream.

Notes

My bread pudding came out beautifully, but you could easily make the following modifications if you are short on any ingredients, however your cooking time may be slightly less: - You could use just 1 cup of pumpkin puree instead of one whole can, keeping other liquid ingredients the same - If you are using a full can of pumpkin puree, you could easily get away with reducing the whole milk and cream by another 1/4 cup each (or just reducing one by a half cup) - You could use all heavy cream or sub in half-and-half instead of using a mixture of heavy cream and whole milk

*As is - this recipe will create a nice crust on top of the bread pudding. If you prefer to not have a crusty top to your bread pudding, leave it covered for the entire baking time.

*The bread pudding magic really happens after its chill in the fridge, so you could serve it fresh from the oven but I strongly recommend the chill. This is what transforms the lower portion to the texture of pumpkin pie.

*You can (and I did) wrap individual servings of bread pudding tightly in plastic wrap and freeze them to enjoy later. Place in refrigerator to thaw and then heat for 30 seconds in the microwave (or warm in the oven).

http://wee-eats.com/2014/10/14/pumpkin-pie-bread-pudding/

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pumpkin cookies & cream ice cream

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I’ve been waiting SO LONG to tell you guys about this. Two whole weeks, to be exact.

Remember how I got those pumpkin spice Oreos and they didn’t suck? Well, immediately I started thinking about one of my favorite ice creams – which is cookies & cream, with Oreos, naturally.

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I looked over at Mr. Eats after tasting my first pumpkin spice Oreo and the conversation went something like this:

Me: Oh. My. God.

Mr. Eats: What?

Me: WHAT IF I MAKE COOKIES AND CREAM ICE CREAM WITH THE PUMPKIN SPICE OREOS?

Mr. Eats: [contemplating this idea]

Me: BUT INSTEAD OF VANILLA ICE CREAM, I DO PUMPKIN ICE CREAM! WITH THE PUMPKIN OREOS! PUMPKIN COOKIES AND PUMPKIN CREAM!

Mr. Eats: And then will you clean up the pieces of my skull? Because you just blew my mind.

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Unlike most of my ideas which take months if not years to finally make… this one only took a few days (only because we didn’t have any heavy cream in the house so I had to wait until my next trip to the grocery store).

The base, adapted from Jeni’s Ice Creams (shocking, I know) was a breeze to make.  Then I just crushed up my cookies and mixed the two together… If you are into pumpkin at all then you need to make this ice cream because it is CRAZY good. It may even be one of my greatest accomplishments to date.

pumpkin ice cream 0039

Imagine, if you will, a rich and creamy pumpkin ice cream full of crushed pumpkin-spiced Oreo cookies. It’s like if pumpkin pie and cookies and cream ice cream had a baby, then scooped that baby up and put it inside of a deliciously crunchy waffle cone.

You’re welcome.

pumpkin cookies & cream ice cream

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 sleeve pumpkin spice Oreo cookies (or Joe Joe's)

Instructions

    Make the base:
  1. In a small bowl, make a slurry by mixing the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of milk.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk cream cheese and salt. Add honey and pumpkin puree and continue whisking until smooth. Fill another large bowl with ice water and set aside.
  3. In a 4-qt saucepan, combine the cream with the remaining milk. Stir in the sugar, corn syrup, and pumpkin pie spice. Heat over medium-high heat until boiling.
  4. Boil for 4 minutes then remove from heat to whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Return to heat and continue cooking, stirring with a heat-proof spatula, one minute more until the mixture is thickened.
  5. Carefully whisk the hot milk mixture into the pumpkin mixture until smooth. Pour into a 1-gallon freezer-safe bag and seal. Submerge in ice water about 30 minutes, until chilled. Dry bag and store in refrigerator until ready to spin the ice cream.
  6. Spin the ice cream
  7. Pour ice cream base into frozen canister and spin until thick, about 20 minutes. You can either pour in the crushed cookies at the end of your spinning process, or layer them with the ice cream when transferring the ice cream into a container for storage. My finished ice cream required a 5 cup storage container.
  8. Press parchment paper onto the top of the ice cream and freeze in coldest part of your freezer for at least 4 hours.
  9. When ready to enjoy, set ice cream on counter about 10 minutes to soften. Scoop and enjoy!

Notes

The ice cream base used in this recipe was adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home which I highly recommend you pick up. It's only $9.99 right now and worth every penny!

http://wee-eats.com/2014/10/11/pumpkin-cookies-cream-ice-cream/

 

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thursday things and a real ice cream sandwich

sunset clouds

I know I’ve been really busy lately and have neglected the “food” section of this food blog. Shame on me. Don’t worry, I will get cooking again soon. I promise. Just once we finish unpacking from that trip we took last week… :)

I mean, I HAVE BEEN MAKING STUFF. Honest! I even made A Periodic Table’s tsoureki last weekend – see? Learn from my mistake – Don’t mash the ends of the braid together until you’re ABSOLUTELY 100% SURE THAT YOU’RE NOT MAKING A ROUND LOAF.

It is also helpful to make sure that you roll out your ropes to a length that you know will fit on your sheet pan, so that you don’t have to turn your regular loaf into a round loaf because it’s too big for your sheet pan… Not that I learned that from experience or anything…

Though it’s not as beautiful as hers, I’m sure it tasted every bit as good. And it definitely made some killer french toast. I mean, it tasted really good, not that it went on a murder spree or anything.

tsoureki

In other super extremely important food news – TRADER JOE’S HAS PUMPKIN KRINGLE!!! So RUN DON’T WALK (or – even better – drive (safely)!) to your nearest Trader Joe’s and GET IT BEFORE IT’S ALL GONE BECAUSE IT’S FLIPPIN’ DELICIOUS! So much so that I even had to use ALL CAPS to express my excitement. Just do it.

pumpkin kringle

Apparently maple water is a thing and now I’m super intrigued and need to find it.

And so is Kale Soda, which I fully intend to locate at our local hippie grocer.

Oreo released their Pumpkin Spice flavor yesterday and for the first time ever my usual grocer actually had the new Oreos on release day! Clearly it was a sign that I had to buy them, even though I was fairly confident that they would probably taste like perfume. You know, for science.

ps oreo

And, the verdict? Surprisingly not terrible. Although the cookies definitely smell like a pumpkin-scented candle they do not taste like potpourri. They actually taste kinda… good. They have a decent amount of pumpkin-spice flavor that really pairs well with the vanilla cookies. I think the cookies actually mute the flavor of the filling ever so slightly to prevent it from being overwhelming. I was pleasantly surprised.

In case you, like me, end up in various random debates about things like the difference between apple juice and cider, turns out there really isn’t one (depending on where you come from). So just agree to disagree and move on with your lives, OK? It’s better for everyone. :)

This New Mexico dairy farm became my hero when it fired all of its workers when it found out they were abusing its animals.

Krispy Kreme has Ghostbusters donuts for the month of October because, well, Ghostbusters is awesome.

If you’re a fan of Arrested Development, you’ll probably love a few of these Lucille Bluth quotes

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And now, since you’ve been so patient with me… a (kind of) recipe.

ice cream sandwich1469

There is one huge issue I have with these alleged “ice cream sandwiches” – mainly that they aren’t actually sandwiches. They are cookies with ice cream in between them.

If you made a roast beef sandwich with cookies on the outside I am certain that people would tell you that it was NOT a sandwich, yet somehow if you put ice cream in between the cookies it’s totally OK.

This, on the other hand, is a real ice cream sandwich. Using a sweet “bread” (well, cake baked into a bread shape, which is way more sandwich-y than a cookie). Although, I suspect that a sweet brioche or challah would do just fine in this application.

thursday things and a real ice cream sandwich

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf loaf cake or quick bread, even challah or brioche would work!
  • 1 to 2 pints ice cream (depending on how much you want to spread as filling), softened

Instructions

  1. Slice pound cake into desired number of slices (thinner slices = more sandwiches!)
  2. Spread softened ice cream onto one slice of your loaf and top with other slice. Quickly wrap in plastic wrap and place in freezer.

Notes

I used my condensed milk pound cake and cherries and cream biscuits recipes but any loaf cake/bread and ice cream should work (even store bought)

http://wee-eats.com/2014/09/25/thursday-things-and-a-real-ice-cream-sandwich/

Oh, and here is a video of a helper puppy because my bestie sent it to me and it’s amazing. Enjoy!

cherries and cream biscuit pops

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My love for Jenis Ice Creams is no secret around here.

I don’t let my inability to stop by their shop get in the way of my love. Aside from stuffing my face with ice cream and sharing their recipes on the blog, I harrased a number of I ran an impassioned e-mail writing campaign to bring Jeni’s to my local grocery stores. Though it may or may not have had an effect on the fact that I can now stop at my local grocer and pick up a pint of Jeni’s whenever the urge strikes, I like to give myself at least a little credit.

See, people,  if you annoy enough people if you chase your dreams and they really can come true!

My next goal is to get a local scoop shop! (Really guys, I will go in early and churn the ice cream just give me the storefront!)

I was so excited when I found out that my beloved Jeni’s was releasing another cookbook  that even FH knew about the book’s release – and totally surprised me by ordering me a copy FOR NO REASON! Seriously, how often do boys not only a> notice something that you like, or b> get you something out of the blue, let alone DOING BOTH AT THE SAME TIME.

Note: It is entirely possible that the real FH may have been abducted by aliens – but I like this new one so I think I’ll keep him.

The only downfall of this amazing plan was that the book arrived mere days before we started our Whole 30 diet. Sooooo, no ice cream for us.  As soon as the diet ended, though, I dove headfirst into the book and picked out any number of recipes that I decided I needed to make.

In the end I settled on Page 36 – Cream Biscuits with Peach Jam Ice Cream. I gathered my ingredients and got ready for a day of ice cream making… only to realize that my peaches mysteriously disappeared.

Does that ever happen to you? You go to the store and you know you purchased something but then as soon as you go to actually use it… it’s nowhere to be found? Happens to me all the time, guys. Seriously. ALL. THE. TIME.

I wasn’t going to let this hiccup derail me though, so what if I was missing one of the three main ingredients of making this ice cream? We are chefs, we improvise!

So improvise I did – with cherries. The other recipe I’m dying to make from this book is the White House Cherry Ice Cream, but it requires something called “cherry blossom extract” which is a bit outlandish for the home cook and I haven’t yet been able to justify the purchase… so I took the cherry swirl from that recipe and used it in place of the peach jam from my original recipe and – TADAA!

cherry pop 1

Cream biscuits with cherries and ice cream – but that’s a bit of a mouthful so let’s just call it “Cherries and cream biscuit ice cream.” I guess that’s a bit of a mouthful too.

The slight cherry syrup is bright and crisp and pairs perfectly with the sweet ice cream base and the not-too-sweet tender biscuits. Oh, and I made these into Popsicle molds because I couldn’t help myself.

They are amazing.

[ Note: THIS IS NOT A SPONSORED POST - Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams has nothing to do with this post and doesn't even know I exist - I just love them SO MUCH that I really think you should buy their books, check to see if they are at your local grocer, or even if you might be lucky enough to have one of their scoop shops nearby! ]

You can get their new book here: (It’s only $11.99 so you really have no excuse not to buy it)

or pick up a copy of their original book (it’s only $9.99 right now, guys!)

cherries and cream biscuit pops

Yield: 12 pops, with some left over

Ingredients

    For the ice cream base
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup sweet cream shortcakes (recipe below)
  • 1/4 cup cherry swirl (recipe below)
  • For the shortcake biscuits
  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour (or add 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder + 1/4 teaspoon salt to 1 cup all-purpose flour and whisk well to combine)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (optional)
  • 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
  • For cherry swirl
  • 1 cup pitted cherries (I used frozen)
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup water

Instructions

    Make your ice cream base:
  1. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside (this will be your ice bath)
  2. In a small bowl or ramekin, mix 1/4 cup of heavy cream with the cornstarch and set aside.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk cream cheese and salt together until smooth.
  4. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, cook the remaining cream with the sugar and corn syrup until it comes to a boil.
  5. Boil the mixture for 4 minutes and remove from heat to whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return the saucepan to heat and cook, stirring, until slightly thickened (about 20 seconds).
  6. Gradually whisk the cream mixture into the cream cheese until smooth, then stir in the buttermilk.
  7. Pour mixture into a 1-gallon ziploc bag and submerge in ice bath about 30 minutes.
  8. Transfer the ice cream base to the refrigerator until you are ready to churn your ice cream.
  9. Make the shortcake biscuits:
  10. Preheat oven to 450F and line a 8 inch baking pan with parchment.
  11. Pulse flour, sugar, and butter in a food processor until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Add cream and pulse just unti lthe dough comes togehter.
  12. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press it together.
  13. Fold the dough over itself, gently kneading, few times until it is no longer clumpy. Spread/press dough into the prepared pan and bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown on top.
  14. Allow to cool completely, then crumble shortcake until you have 1/2 cup of biscuit crumbles. Set aside.
  15. You will have a lot of shortcake left over. (What a problem to have!) I cut mine into individual servings and wrapped them and put them in the freezer for when the urge for shortcake strikes.
  16. Make the cherry swirl:
  17. Combine cherries, sugar, and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Boil about 5 minutes until sugar is dissolved, stirring frequently.
  18. Remove cherries from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  19. You have the option to drain and/or puree the strawberries, I left my sauce as-is and just didn't add all of the liquid when mixing the cherries into the ice cream.
  20. Churn and assemble the ice cream:
  21. When ready to churn, pour ice cream base into frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy.
  22. If making pops:
  23. Layer into ice pop molds (ice cream, cherries, biscuits, repeat) starting and ending with the ice cream. Leave 1/4-inch gap at the top of the ice cream molds (it will expand when it freezes). Top with lid and insert popsicle sticks - freeze until completely solid.
  24. You will have extra of everything - I layered my extra into a smaller storage container and had scoopable ice cream as well (hooray!)
  25. To remove mine, I wrapped whatever popsicle I was removing with a damp warm towel and wiggled until the popsicle came free.
  26. If making standard ice cream:
  27. Layer ice cream into storage container, layering with biscuits and cherries. Press parchment paper onto the top and cover with lid. Place in freezer and freeze until firm.

Notes

*You will have extra of everything - I layered my extra into a smaller storage container and had scoopable ice cream as well (hooray!)

*To remove my popsfrom their molds, I wrapped whatever popsicle I was removing with a damp warm towel and wiggled until the popsicle came free.

http://wee-eats.com/2014/08/25/cherries-and-cream-biscuit-pops/