Getting The Monkey Off My Back and Into the Kitchen Where It Belongs

banana

It’s kind of funny where inspiration comes from.  Well, where I get my inspiration seems funny, or perhaps the gods are trying to tell me what I’m trying to pass off as inspiration is a joke.  Regardless, I’m pretty darn glad I was inspired because what I created is destined to be the desserts that restore peace and prosperity to our war-ravaged earth.  I’ll give you the recipes in just a moment, but first I’ll give you a personalized tour through the empty corridors of my brain, and let you decide if my inspiration is funny or a joke.

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It all started with an innocent drive home from picking up the kids at school.  They have a favorite radio station, and like my mother before me, I let my co-pilots determine what ear candy we should enjoy while in the car.  The first few songs they played were run of the mill pop songs, love gone wrong, love gone right, love never bothered to show up, etc., and then I heard it.  The f^ck3d up song of the day.  Initially, I didn’t even really pay attention to what the words were, until out of nowhere they slammed into my eardrum and had me asking, “Did he say that or did I hear him wrong?” Hey, that’s a valid question for me.  After all, I’m the one who belted out stuff like “sing us a song for a yellow man” (Billy Joel, Piano Man), “I ain’t no Harlem fat girl” (Gwen Stefani, Holla Back Girl), and even “Peace on Earth and Mercy Mild/Goddamn sinners reconciled” (Hark!  The Herald Angels Sing, while attending midnight mass).   After a brief internet search once we made it home, I confirmed that I DID hear him right; someone with a good voice and sexy beat wrote a song about monkey love.  I guess technically it was about doing it gorilla style, but I think you get the point.

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My first thought was, “Gross!  NO!!!”  I prefer NOT to do the dirty with anything that is just as likely to cover me with poop as it is to cover me with velvet kisses.  Plus, even those with rudimentary knowledge of gorillas can tell you that they have deceptively small, how shall I say this, “tools”.  Not that I’m a size queen, but no one likes to open a bag of chips only to find that 98% of it was filled with air, if you know what I mean.  The song had me thinking; do I have ANYTHING in common with a gorilla (beyond the whole primate/evolution thing, that is)?  And just like that INSPIRATION!!  Specifically:  BANANAS.

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Within moments of acknowledging the Stephanie/Gorilla banana connection, I immediately began to wonder if I could come up with some authentically tasting banana desserts, and that’s exactly what I did!  I love the banana fruit, but I hate the fak-ey taste of banana flavored desserts.  It’s sort of shocking to me I hadn’t tried tackling this feat before.  The husband LOVES banana desserts, even the fake tasting crap.  Therefore, I’m dedicating these three recipes and this post to both my husband and Bruno Mars.  I may never appreciate the merits of chest banging gorilla sex, but I can appreciate the a-peel for their fruity diet (a-peel.  Get it?  I told you I’m a nerd).  ENJOY!

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Blondies Have More Fun

Call me Blonde.  Banana Blonde.

Call me Blonde. Banana Blonde.

Ingredients:

Ingredients

  • 1 very ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • About 3 tablespoons peanut butter for the swirl
As is evidenced in this picture, I typically buy bananas so that I can watch them die a slow death on my kitchen counter.

As is evidenced in this picture, I typically buy bananas so that I can watch them die a slow death on my kitchen counter.

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven at 350 F.  Grease an 8×8 baking pan.
  • In a bowl, beat together the melted butter and the sugar. Add the banana and mix until creamy.  Stir in the milk and the egg.
SMELL ALERT:  At this point the mixture begins to smell so good it becomes increasingly difficult not to throw caution to the wind and stick your tongue in the bowl.

SMELL ALERT: At this point the mixture begins to smell so good it becomes increasingly difficult not to throw caution to the wind and stick your tongue in the bowl.

  • Mix the flour until just combined and add the butterscotch chips. Pour the batter in the greased baking pan and flatten it up with a spatula.
Woo hoo!  Two bowls to lick!

Woo hoo! Two bowls to lick!

  • Add a couple tablespoons of peanut butter on top and swirl with a knife (I put my peanut butter into a small dish and microwave it for about 15 seconds to soften so that it is easier to spread.
It looks so pretty even BEFORE you put it in the oven!

It looks so pretty even BEFORE you put it in the oven!

  • Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Wait until the blondies are cooled down to cut them.
Rumor has it these banana blondies are the real reason why Godzilla attacked King Kong.

Rumor has it these banana blondies are the real reason why Godzilla attacked King Kong.

Right Side Up B Cake

1ACollage USE

Ingredients:

Ingredients w comments USE

Cake:

  • 3 TBSPs butter
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ½ cup flour
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt (1/8 tsp)
  • 1 eggs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 3.4 oz box banana cream pudding

Goo:

  • 6 TBSPs butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, tightly packed
  • ½ ripe banana, mashed
  • ½ tsp cinnamon (you can also use nutmeg, ground cloves, or any of your favorite baking spices)

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  • Grease and prep a 8.5x11pan
  • To make the cakes, place the butter and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Warm the mixture, stirring occasionally until the butter melts, then let cool
I’ll confess, I’ve skipped this step before.  Partly because I’m lazy and party because I stubbornly refused to believe heating up ingredients adds anything to the cake.  I did a little kitchen experiment to see which one tasted better.  While the taste was virtually the same for both cakes, the cake I made skipping this step had a noticeable texture difference; it was nowhere near as moist.  BOO-YA!  THAT’S KITCHEN CHEMISTRY RIGHT THERE!!!  SCIENCE LIKE A BOSS!!!!   Since my family would rather drink cake batter like it’s a smoothie, the moist version was the winner.

I’ll confess, I’ve skipped this step before. Partly because I’m lazy and party because I stubbornly refused to believe heating up ingredients adds anything to the cake. I did a little kitchen experiment to see which one tasted better. While the taste was virtually the same for both cakes, the cake I made skipping this step had a noticeable texture difference; it was nowhere near as moist. BOO-YA! THAT’S KITCHEN CHEMISTRY RIGHT THERE!!! SCIENCE LIKE A BOSS!!!!
Since my family would rather drink cake batter like it’s a smoothie, the moist version was the winner.

  • In a small/medium sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt, and stir the ingredients with a fork until evenly blended.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth.
  • Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir until the flour is fully incorporated.
  • Add the milk-butter mixture and stir well to combine the ingredients into a smooth batter.  Finally, mix in the dry banana cream pudding into the batter.
DO NOT TASTE THE BATTER! No, not because of the raw eggs/salmonella thing (we all gotta die somehow), but because if you try it now, all of your hard work will be for naught, as you will not be able to stop eating it.  Seriously.  You’ll come to your senses and find yourself amid a bunch of dirty, banana-smelling bowls and utensils and your family/friends will pester you for hours about the “dessert you said you were going to make” that never appeared.  Plus you’ll reek of bananas and if King Kong happens to meander through town it’ll be “Fay Wray who??”.  It’s just not worth it.

DO NOT TASTE THE BATTER! No, not because of the raw eggs/salmonella thing (we all gotta die somehow), but because if you try it now, all of your hard work will be for naught, as you will not be able to stop eating it. Seriously. You’ll come to your senses and find yourself amid a bunch of dirty, banana-smelling bowls and utensils and your family/friends will pester you for hours about the “dessert you said you were going to make” that never appeared. Plus you’ll reek of bananas and if King Kong happens to meander through town it’ll be “Fay Wray who??”. It’s just not worth it.

  • Pour the batter into the greased pan. Bake until lightly browned, dry around the edges, and pulling away from the pan a little, about 25-35 minutes, depending on your oven’s cooking speed.
Note:  I included this picture because I like screwing around with pictures, NOT because I think you are too dumb to figure out how to pour batter into a pan.

Note: I included this picture because I like screwing around with pictures, NOT because I think you are too dumb to figure out how to pour batter into a pan.

  • Transfer the pan to a rack to cool while you make the goo topping.
  • Mash banana in a small bowl.
So much for this not being a “gal rides a banana” kind of site.

So much for this not being a “gal rides a banana” kind of site.

  • To make the goo, melt 6TBSP butter in a saucepan on medium heat.  Add brown sugar and cook until bubbling/boiling.  Lower the heat and continue to cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly.
CAUTION:  THIS CRAP IS HOT!!!! Careful not to get any of this on your skin, or people will ask you if Freddy Krueger is in charge of your skin care.

CAUTION: THIS CRAP IS HOT!!!! Careful not to get any of this on your skin, or people will ask you if Freddy Krueger is in charge of your skin care.

  • Remove from heat and mix in mashed banana and cinnamon.
  • Place a few pats of butter on top of the cooled cake.
Look how big the pats of butter are! It’s sort of an optical illusion.  This is an 8x11 pan, but I sometimes make my own butter, especially if my heavy cream is about to expire.  These are HUGE pats of homemade butter.

Look how big the pats of butter are! It’s sort of an optical illusion. This is an 8×11 pan, but I sometimes make my own butter, especially if my heavy cream is about to expire. These are HUGE pats of homemade butter.

  • Pour goo mixture over the cake.
By this point, your senses are fully heightened.  If you feel yourself falling into a feeding frenzy like you are some kind of Great White Banana Shark, don’t panic.  This too shall pass.

By this point, your senses are fully heightened. If you feel yourself falling into a feeding frenzy like you are some kind of Great White Banana Shark, don’t panic. This too shall pass.

  • It’s best when served warm, and goes deliciously with ice cream or whipped cream.  If you are feeling adventurous, I’ve listed a few alterations below.  You are only limited by your taste buds!

banana shark collage

A NEW TWIST:  ALTERATIONS AND OTHER BEAUTIFUL THINGS:

  1.  Do you think the goo would taste better “crunchy”?  Then after you pour it over the cake, put the whole thing under a boiler for a bit, until it turns brown and shiny.  Just pay close attention while it’s in there, because your delicious caramelized banana heaven can become a burnt caramelized hell faster than green grass can travel through a goose.  If ruining such deliciousness (not to mention your hard work being wasted) didn’t make you madder than a wet hen, spending 2 hours trying to get the burnt caramel concrete off of the pan you baked it in certainly will.  Take my word for it, I could practically write a book on how to spend 14 hours creating a dish whose aroma mercilessly teases every living creature within a 25-mile radius only to completely destroy it within the last 2 and a half minutes. Therefore I’ve since adopted the following policy and suggest you may want to consider adopting it as well:  If you are not sure if it is done, then it’s done.  Tell yourself that the beautifully colored caramel browns seen in many food pictures was created on the computer and not in the oven, and then believe that regardless what anyone else may say.  I know refusing to believe reality doesn’t make it any different than what it is, but as Mary Poppins said, “A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down”.  I’d rather believe a lie while I’m eating dessert than be faced with the cold, hard truth standing over a sink full of boiling dishwater scraping my manicure away.  Regardless, make sure you cool your cake a bit before eating or serving.  It only needs to cool long enough to not melt the skin off the roof of your mouth.  We’re working with sugar here, people.  That’s as close to lava as most of us are going to get.
  2. Maybe you like it warm (but not melt your face hot) and wish more of the flavors in the gooey goodness can seep further into the cake.  If so, it’s an easy fix.  Just poke holes in the cake before you pour the goo on top.  Go fork it.  J  However, keep in mind bigger holes mean more goo going inside and more goo will be needed.  Fork holes will create a lighter flavor while the handle of a wooden spoon will bring in more of the flavor.  Just be prepared to make more goo if needed.
  3. Need less hassle?  Make this an upside down cake instead.  This way frees you from having to make the goo.  Instead, cut the banana into slices and set aside.  Place pats of butter (unmelted) on the bottom of a greased pan.  Sprinkle brown sugar and spices onto the pan and place it in the oven until the butter melts, approximately 3 minutes.  Once the butter is melted, remove the pan from the oven and place an even layer of banana slices across the whole pan.  Pour the cake batter on top and bake. The biggest challenge with this method is getting it out of the pan looking pretty and not falling apart.
  4. One word (or maybe two): cupcakes.  Cup CAKES!  Yes, make these babies individual and they will be the envy of every dessert you ever serve from that point forward.  Something about a personal right side up/upside down cake screams fancy schmancy.

 

 

Banana Cake2

Half-Assed Effort.  Whole-assed taste.

Half-Assed Effort. Whole-assed taste.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups bananas, mashed, ripe
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice (don’t have lemon juice?  No worries!  You can use white vinegar, but only use half the amount.  Ex:  For this recipe you would use 1 tsp of white vinegar instead of 2 tsps lemon juice)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/8 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (add 1 TBSP vinegar to regular milk and let stand 10 mins.  Viola! Buttermilk Substitute)

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Directions

  • Preheat oven to 275°.
  • Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan.
  • In a small bowl, mix mashed banana with the lemon juice; set aside.

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  • In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream 3/4 cup butter and 2 1/8 cups sugar until light and fluffy.

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  • Beat in eggs, one at a time, then stir in 2 tsp vanilla.

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  • Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk.
  • Stir in banana mixture.

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  • Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for one hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and place directly into the freezer for 45 minutes. This will make the cake very moist.

Banana Frosting

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup mashed banana
  • 1/4 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 3 1/2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
  • chopped pecans, toasted, for topping, optional*

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As always, thanks for reading my blog!  Hope you stop back often.

 

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Steph

 

 

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