Thursday, July 12, 2012

Easy Banana Fritters

I had a solitary over-ripe banana sitting on my kitchen counter this morning, begging to be made into some kind of breakfast treat.  We were too hungry to wait on banana bread or banana muffins.  Banana pancakes sounded too ordinary.  Then I had an idea----Banana Fritters!!

I began to heat up a heavy-bottomed pot with canola oil.  I used a candy thermometer to make sure I got the oil to the right temperature, between 350 and 375 for fried doughnuts.

While the oil was heating I mixed together some Bisquick, milk, egg, sugar, vanilla, and the lonely banana, which I mashed.

Once the oil was hot, I used my smallest cookie scoop to drop teaspoonsful of batter into the pot.

The fritters puffed and turned golden brown.   I used a slotted spoon to flip them over and then removed them to a stack of paper towels to drain.

After a few minutes of draining, I tossed them into a doubled-up brown paper bag with powdered sugar.  I shook, shook, shook them to cover them with the sugar.

The kids gobbled them up as fast as I could make them!!  I tasted one too......

Crispy and sweet and banana-y......everything a banana fritter should be!

Here's the recipe that I whipped up this morning.   Enjoy!

Banana Fritters

1 cup Bisquick Baking Mix
1 banana, mashed
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons sugar
powdered sugar for tossing fritters in

Stir together Bisquick, mashed banana, milk, egg, vanilla, and sugar.  Heat oil to 350-375, using a candy thermometer to ensure the right temperature for deep frying.  Drop batter by teaspoonful into the hot oil.  Turn with a slotted spoon until golden on both sides, about 3 minutes total.  Remove to a stack of paper towels to drain.  Repeat with remaining batter.  Toss fritters in a brown paper bag with powdered sugar.  Eat immediately.  Yield:  about 25 fritters.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ice Cream Sandwiches

One of my favorite treats is a simple ice cream sandwich.  Soft chocolate cookies.  Vanilla ice cream.  Sandwiched together.  :)

I like to let mine soften just a little bit so I can squeeze the cookies together and make the ice cream squish out the sides.  Then I lick the ice cream, all around the perimeter of the cookie.  I keep doing this until I'm left with just the cookies!

Yesterday I made homemade ice cream sandwiches!  What a fun treat for summer.   I used my favorite chocolate cut-out cookie recipe and store bought vanilla ice cream.  They're relatively easy to make, but are a little time consuming with the various steps.

Begin by baking a batch of chocolate cut out cookies, using any cookie cutter that is pretty basic in shape.  Detailed cookie cutters won't work for this. 

Cool the cookies completely on a wire rack while you do your dishes, play Uno with the kids, and make your grocery list for what you need to bring on vacation.

The best kind of ice cream to buy is the "old fashioned" kind in a cardboard box.  Remove the sides of the box and slice the ice cream into 1/2 thick slices.  I got 9 slices from one box, but I think I could have gotten 10 slices.  Some of my ice cream sandwiches were thicker than others.  No complaints about that, though! 

Next, use the same cookie cutter that you used for the cookies and cut the shapes from the ice cream.  Sorry I don't have a picture of this step.  My hands were covered in ice cream!

Sandwich the ice cream between two cookies and place on a cookie sheet (one that will fit into your freezer).  When the tray is full, place it in the freezer for about 20 minutes to firm up the ice cream again.  You can then wrap the ice cream sandwiches in freezer paper and store them in an airtight container in your freezer.    Save those oddly-shaped pieces of ice cream for milk shakes, or plop them into an airtight container to make whacky sundaes another night.  :)

Here's the recipe for the chocolate cut-out cookies.   It's contributed by Robin J. on   I've used this recipe over and over again, and it's so easy to work with.  The cookies are fudgy and brownie-like.  I've decorated them with royal icing and fondant in the past, and they stand up to the task quite well.

Chocolate Cut Out Cookies

1 cup butter
2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
10 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Cream butter or margarine and sugar until light and fluffy; add eggs, one at a time, beating well. Mix in the vanilla. Combine flour, cocoa powder and baking powder; add and mix well. Wrap dough in waxed paper and chill for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Divide dough in half. Roll out each half to 1/4 inch thick. Cut with desired shaped cookie cutters. Place on lightly greased cookie sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes.

"Quilling" technique

I'd never seen this technique before!  Yes, sometimes I'm a bit slow to things.  ;)  Apparently this technique isn't all that new....but it's new for me!

I was just browsing the internet the other day, and as usual, my looking-around led me to a host of cake decorating sites and blogs.  :)

Have you visited this site before?   My Cake School   Such great ideas!! 

I saw these beautiful pictures and simple how-to's in the quilling technique, so I had a go of it on a cake I made for a friend whose coworker was leaving her company.   I'd heard of quilling in the paper-craft aspect, but trying it with fondant never occurred to me.  Brilliant!!

Here's my finished cake!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

TWD: Macadamia Nut and Chocolate Chip Biscotti

This week's Tuesdays With Dorie recipe is Hazelnut Biscotti!

Since we just got home from our first vacation of the summer on Sunday evening, and it occurred to me yesterday morning that it was a TWD week, I had to modify things a bit.  I was unable to find hazelnuts at the grocery store I went to yesterday morning, so I grabbed a jar of macadamia nuts instead.  Flexibility, people!  That's what this is called!

I've made biscotti before, and always enjoy the process and the results.  The recipe calls for hand-mixing the dough, but since I was already taking the easy way out by foregoing the hazelnuts (which were supposed to be boiled on the stove to remove the skins, then toasted), I used my trusty Kitchenaid.  I added toasted macadamia nuts and a handful of semisweet chocolate chips and formed two logs on a cookie sheet.

Once baked, I allowed the logs to cool while I continued with my mountains of laundry.  You know how it is.  Post-vacation laundry.  Good times.

Anyway, I then sliced the logs into 1/2 inch pieces and laid them cut side down on a cooling rack.  I placed the cooling rack in the oven to bake the biscotti once again.

The result?  Super crunchy, perfectly sweet biscotti, just right for dipping into a cup of coffee, or in our case, a glass of cold milk.  And perfect for sharing with a sweet neighbor who feeds your fish and waters your flowers while you're away. 

For the recipe, visit Jodi of Homemade and Wholesome or Katrina of Baking and Boys.  They have beautiful pictures and lovely stories!


TWD: French Strawberry Cake

This beautiful cake is so rich and perfect for any special occasion when strawberries are fresh, sweet, and juicy!

I'm a few weeks late with this Tuesdays With Dorie recipe, but with four kids home for summer vacation, the craziness abounds.

The cake is a "genoise" sponge cake recipe, which does not use baking powder or baking soda as the leavener.  Instead, whole eggs are beaten with sugar to whip air into the batter.  This was my first attempt at  genoise batter, and I think it turned out very well!  My family would be happy for me to have another go at it in the near future to compare the results. 

The cake is torted into three layers, then spread with macerated strawberries and whipped cream.  The juice from the berries soaks into the cake layers, and the whipped cream joins the party to create a decadent and sinfully rich cake.

I chose to decorate the outside of the cake with large swirls of whipped cream with fresh berries adorning the edge.

As you can see, my family swiftly devoured half of the cake at dinner last night, and we're looking forward to finishing it off tonight.

To see the complete recipe, please visit Allison of Think, Love, Sleep, Dine, or Sophia of Sophia's Sweets

Thanks for visiting!