Frozen Vanilla Bean Banana Icebox Cake with Ginger Snap Cookies

Frozen Vanilla Bean Banana Icebox Cake with Ginger Snap Cookies

  Growing up, my mom would make what we called ‘chocolate eclair cake’. It was the go-to dessert when we were asked to bring a dessert to large gatherings. It was my favorite sweet there most the time. It was rather simple to make, just graham crackers, boxed vanilla pudding, cool whip, and canned chocolate frosting- all layered and kept in the refrigerator. Not too long ago I tried recreating it from scratch, then I tried a slice in the freezer and it was even better that way. So, In a way, that dessert was the inspiration for this recipe. I guess it would be considered an icebox cake, but I’m still not sure. I used the label anyway as it comes pretty close in my opinion.

Traditionally, icebox cake is just chocolate wafers and whipped cream layered and refrigerated. This version has a bit more effort put into it, but the outcome is well worth it. I had a difficult time deciding what cookie/cracker/wafer I should use. I don’t like to buy pre-made things for most of my recipes, so graham crackers or any pre-packaged cookie was off the list. I decided on my ginger snap cookies and combined with the banana pudding, it’s the most delicious tasting combo.


Frozen Vanilla Bean Banana Icebox Cake with Ginger Snap Cookies

  for the pudding/filling:

2 cups whole milk

2 medium-sized bananas, mashed

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste (or seeds from 1 vanilla bean)

1/3 cup raw cane sugar

3 large egg yolks

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 1/2 tablespoons cake flour (or all-purpose)

pinch of sea salt

2 cups heavy cream, beaten to stiff peaks

1/4 cup raw cane sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste (or seeds from 1 vanilla bean)

  for the cookies

3/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup raw cane sugar

1/3 cup blackstrap molasses

1 large egg, room temperature

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoons ground allspice

1/3 cup raw sugar, for rolling

  METHOD

  for the cookies:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F / 177°C. Prepare one large baking sheet by lining with parchment paper.
  2. In an electric standing mixer (whisks attached), beat -on medium speed- the butter and sugar until creamy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula and add the molasses and egg; beat on low until fully combined. Scrape down the bowl once more. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Add to the mixer and beat on medium speed until just combined. Spoon out the dough, rolling each piece between the palms of your hands until they’ve formed into slightly smooth(but still have small cracks in the dough) balls, each being around 1/2-inch in diameter. Lightly coat with the sugar and place them on the baking sheet, spacing each piece an inch apart from each other. Bake for 12-13 minutes. Once the cookies come out of the oven, use a flat spoon to flatten each cookie while they’re still soft. Cool on the baking sheet for three minutes, then move them to a cooling rack to cool completely before using.

  for the pudding/filling:

  1. In a medium sized saucepan, combine the milk, vanilla bean paste, and mashed banana. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Once simmering, remove from heat and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. Once the time has passed, pour the milk into a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl. Discard any pieces caught. In another bowl, combine the cornstarch, cake flour, and salt. Add half of the milk to the flour and whisk until combined, set aside(whisk the mixture again just before using). 
  2. Set aside a clean mixing bowl, whisk, and sieve; as well as a large bowl filled with ice water for later use.
  3. Create a double boiler by filling a saucepan with a few inches of water, then place a heatproof bowl that fits over the top of said saucepan(don’t let the bowl touch the water!). Bring the water to a simmer over medium-low heat. Once simmering, add the sugar and egg yolks and continually whisk until the sugar has dissolved(the mixture will look slightly pale yellow in color). Pour in the flour/milk mixture and whisk until combined, then add the remaining milk. Turn up the heat to medium and continue to whisk the mixture until thick and smooth, making sure to whisk the sides and bottom of the bowl so that none of the pudding burns. When it begins to bubble, cook for one minute, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and pour through a sieve into a clean bowl. Set the bowl in the ice water and whisk the pudding until cool to touch. Pour into a bowl and place plastic wrap directly on the top of the pudding so it doesn’t form a skin. Refrigerate until cold(about 30 minutes or so, or place in the freezer until cool; this way is faster). Once the pudding has chilled, proceed to the next step:
  4. Chill a large bowl and the whisk(s) to an electric hand mixer. Once chilled, add the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla bean paste and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Stir the chilled pudding, then add to the whipped cream. Fold the two together until fully combined. Line the sides and bottom of a large loaf pan with parchment paper(I made the mistake of using plastic wrap, it was difficult to get into/out of the pan). To assemble the icebox cake:
  5. Place a layer of cookies at the bottom of the pan(they should be firmly in place), then spoon half of the pudding mixture on top of the cookies. Place another layer of cookies on the pudding, then add the remaining pudding over the top evenly. Lastly, top with another layer of cookies. Cover the pan tightly and freeze for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Once frozen drizzle with melted chocolate (optional).

Chocolate Banana Date Cake {Gluten and Dairy Free}

  “I have learnt through bitter experience the one supreme lesson to conserve my anger, and as heat conserved is transmuted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmuted into a power which can move the world.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

  I haven’t put much thought into blogging or recipe writing during these last three weeks.  To be honest, my mind just hasn’t been thinking about what I’m going to bake next, or what to post.  But instead, what is right and what is wrong; truth, and not lies.  It’s mentally exhausting keeping an informed mind about the happenings of the world; there’s so much discourse going on all at once it can really drive you into despondency.  A little break can do one good.

  January was, undoubtedly, a troublesome month for so many.  The anger, disgust, and fear- they’re all legitimate responses to our current political situation in the United States.  I myself have been battling pessimistic thoughts regarding our country’s new leadership.  It’s quite difficult maintaining an optimistic outlook, but I am trying my best.  It’s really important that we do, even more so that we continue loving each other through it all and not turn our hearts to hate.  That we keep on doing what we can to make our world a better place for all to live in.  

  On a lighter note, I was able to contrive at least one recipe while on hiatus: this chocolate banana date cake.  Delectable and light is every bite; much like powdered sugar that melts in your mouth upon arrival on the tongue.  It is in every aspect, the perfect combination of chocolate and banana, with a hint of cinnamon.  On every slice, a sticky, sweet date to account for the lack of extreme sweetness.  It works well as a midnight snack, or breakfast when you’re feeling like cake.  It goes rather well with a hot cup of coffee, too.  I shall close in saying that it’s completely gluten-free and dairy-free, as well as being utterly delicious if I haven’t stated that enough.  


CHOCOLATE BANANA DATE CAKE

cake

2 cups brown rice flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup coconut palm sugar

1/2 cup coconut oil

2 large eggs, room temp.

2 bananas

4 dates, pitted

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup almond milk

4 more dates, pitted and halved

method:

  1. Preheat oven 350°F / 177°C.  Grease and line a 9-inch cake pan.
  2. In a blender/food processor, blend together the four pitted dates and two bananas until smooth.  set aside.  Slice four more dates into halves and remove the pits.  Set aside for later use.
  3.  In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the rice flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.   
  4. In an electric mixer with whisks attached, beat the sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla on medium speed until fluffy.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating on low until each one is fully incorporated.  Turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl once more.  Add the banana mixture, half of the flour, and half of the almond milk; beat on medium speed until combined, then add the remaining flour and almond milk until the flour is just combined and no white streaks can be seen.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and evenly spread around.  Place the halved dates on top of the batter, insides facing up.  Do not press them into the batter, they should only be resting on top of the cake.  Bake for 30-45 minutes, checking for doneness at 35 minutes by using a toothpick; if it comes out clean it is done, if it comes out wet, bake in three minutes segments until it does come out clean and the cake springs back up after being lightly touched.  Cool 10 minutes in the pan, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.  When cool, dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Spring Smoothies – A Flavor Assortment

  Today, I bring to you something really delicious and really healthy!  I know, I know.. strange, coming from my blog of constant sugar and unhealthiness, haha.

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  My mind has been bursting with recipe ideas from looking at all the colors outside my windows!  All those spring fruits staring me in the face (while I munch on a freshly fried doughnut) at the grocery store, too.. just begging me to eat them so I can get my fit on before I go on vacation next month.. we’ll see if that happens after I test all these recipes I have coming up for the next couple weeks..

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  Now, let’s talk about these smoothies.  They’re 100% natural, with no added sugars or dairy products!  If you’re vegan, you’re good to go with these smoothies.  The sweetness is derived from the fruits and to get the desired thinness, I used unsweetened almond-coconut milk.  Each smoothie has 1-2 vegetables added, too.  What’s not to love?!  They were almost too pretty to drink.

  I loved all of them, but my top favorites were the pink and orange smoothie.  I could have drunk 5 of them!  Out of all the people in my family (8), my little brother Daniel, who happens to be the pickiest eater out of the family and hates most vegetables; loved the green smoothie.  So weird! 

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  They’re so easy to make, just throw a flavor combo in the blender and in about 5 minutes of blending, it’s done!  I had a very busy day yesterday, so it was really refreshing to come home and make these.  Though, I didn’t quite get to sit down as I was trying to catch the last of the evening light and man, am I glad the days are much longer now or I wouldn’t have had these photos.  The light was superb so I got a ton of photos, all which I wish I could’ve posted but can’t due to space(oh, hey, there’s me)!

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*Just a  side note:  In this recipe I used all fresh produce for quality taste.  I chopped, measured, then froze all the fruits needed.  I recommend doing the same for the best taste(frozen bagged fruit doesn’t quite beat fresh)!

Spring Smoothies - A Flavor Assortment
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Prep Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Strawberry Rhubarb Papaya
  1. almond-coconut milk as needed for desired thinness(start with 3 tablespoons)
  2. 1 1/2 cups strawberries, chopped+frozen
  3. 3/4 cups papaya, chopped+frozen
  4. 1/4 cup rhubarb, chopped
Pineapple Mango Carrot
  1. almond-coconut milk as needed for desired thinness(start with 3 tablespoons)
  2. 1 1/2 cups pineapple, chopped+frozen
  3. 3/4 cups mango, chopped+frozen
  4. 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
Kale Avocado and Mango Banana(with a little pineapple)
  1. almond-coconut milk as needed for desired thinness(start with 3 tablespoons)
  2. 3 medium sized kale leaves
  3. 1 small banana, chopped+frozen
  4. 1/2 cup mango, chopped+frozen
  5. 1/2 cup pineapple, chopped+frozen
  6. 1/2 avocado
Instructions
  1. For a much better taste, I recommend you buy the ripe fruits; chop into cube size, measure, and then freeze one day in advance in separate freezer bags. Use when ready.
Each smoothie is made the same way
  1. Add the almond-coconut milk to the blender first, add the frozen fruits, and then the vegetables. Blend about 5 minutes until smooth. Add more almond-coconut milk as needed to reach desired thinness while blending.
  2. When the smoothie is finished, pour into a large cup or jar. Makes about 2 cups each smoothie.
The Sticky Spatula http://stickyspatula.com/

Dried Cranberry and Banana Oat Cookie Bars

  Spring has arrived here in the lovely state of Virginia.  I’m so excited to see things getting color again and it’s only early March!  I feel like spring is jumping in a little early this year, which in all honesty, is fine with me!  

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 See, I usually adjust my photo and food style to the seasons so, I’m happy spring has come cause it means brighter photos and food selection.  I seem to have a harder time thinking up recipes in the darker months of the year.   It’s like my brain decides to stop working or something..  I’ve already thought up a bunch of recipes for spring and summer, I’m just patiently awaiting the time I can try them out when the ingredients involved come into season.

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  These cookie bars were inspired by my love of oatmeal cookies and a sort of goodbye to the colder days.  Oatmeal cookies are always a winter favorite in our family.  We almost never make them in the summer.. Strange I know, it’s just one of those things you do and you don’t know why exactly…  

 Oh, and dried banana chips are totally my new found favorite thing after making these.  Pair them with dried cranberries and it’s just heaven!

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Dried Cranberry and Banana Oat Cookie Bars
Yields 18
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 1 cup almond flour
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
  5. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  7. 1 large egg
  8. 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
  9. 1 cup dried banana chips
  10. 1 cup dried cranberries
  11. 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8 x 8 inch square pan with parchment paper(leave some overlapping the sides for easy removal).
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the almond flour, all purpose flour, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In an electric mixer with whisks attached, combine the butter, sugar, and vanilla and beat till fluffy. Scrap down the sides and bottom of the bowl and add the egg, beat till combined. Scrap down the bowl again and add the flour beating on medium/low speed till incorporated. Add the oats and beat on low till incorporated. Scrap down the sides once more and beat for 15 seconds. Remove beater whisks and stir in, with a wooden spoon, the the dried banana chips and cranberries till combined.
  4. Add the dough to the prepared pan. Shape and press into the pan with your fingers. Bake for 25-28 minutes till it starts to look golden around the edges. Once done, remove from oven and let them sit in the pan for 6 minutes away from the stove. Carefully remove them from the pan by lifting the sides of the parchment paper out. Place on a cooling rack to cool completely, about 20 minutes.
  5. In a microwave safe bowl, add the 1/2 cup white chocolate and heat for 20 seconds. Stir till completely melted. Once the cookies are cooled, cut into bars. Drizzle the white chocolate onto the bars and let it harden.
The Sticky Spatula http://stickyspatula.com/

Blueberry Banana Nut Muffins with Honey Sugar

  This week definitely calls for muffins.  It has been quite crazy here with all the snow.  We got two-TWO- feet of snow here in Virginia!  It’s not normal here, so everyone was going a bit crazy.  It’s happily melting now and everything is looking pretty messy.  I’ve probably bent and bruised every bone in my body from shoveling or falling on the slippery ice with the kids.  It was fun the first two days, but it can totally switch to spring now!

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  Anyway.  These muffins.  I cannot get enough of them!  I made two batches this week so far.  The honey and sugar go exceptionally well with the blueberry and banana.  Small blueberries are the best for these muffins as I found they taste better. So, if you can find them, good!  I had some fresh blueberries from our bush sitting in the freezer from last summer.

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muffin-(10-of-14)

Blueberry Banana Nut Muffins with Honey Sugar
Yields 12
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 3/4 cups sugar
  3. 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  5. 3/4 cups milk, room temperature
  6. 1/4 cup butter, melted
  7. 1 large egg slightly beaten, room temperature
  8. 3/4 cups mashed banana ( 2 very ripe bananas )
  9. 1 cup small blueberries, fresh or frozen
  10. 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  11. 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
  12. 1 tablespoon honey
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin or, skip the greasing and use paper muffin cups instead.
  2. In a small bowl, add the 1/2 cup turbinado sugar and 1 tablespoon honey and stir with a fork till crumbly. Set aside.
  3. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter. Add the milk, slightly beaten egg, and mashed banana; whisk till combined and set aside.
  4. In another bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and whisk till combined. Add the liquids and stir once, then carefully fold in/stir the blueberries and walnuts till all the ingredients are just combined, you don't want to over-stir it! About 20-23 strokes will do it, it should be lumpy.
  5. Spoon the batter equally amongst the muffin cups/greased tin and sprinkle the honey sugar on the tops. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes till golden on the tops. Remove from pan and place on a cooling rack to cool. Add more honey sugar if desired.
The Sticky Spatula http://stickyspatula.com/