Try my foolproof recipe for this chocolatey cheesecake that the whole family will love!
“There’s always money in the Banana Stand.”
Arrested Development has been one of my favourite shows for years. Sadly it was cruelly cancelled by Fox during its third season, much to the disappointment of all its fans. It grew in popularity after its cancellation and finally, seven years later, they released a fourth season via Netflix (which premiered 26 May 2013), woohoo! I wanted to celebrate this momentous occasion by making some homemade Bluth bananas, a treat which is sold on the show at the family’s Banana Stand.
(From the Arrested Development facebook fan page.)
As you can see its a pretty easy recipe (my favourite kind!) and is a fun treat to stash away in the freezer. It would be great to make with kids!
Peel four ripe bananas and seal in a plastic bag to freeze for at least one hour (or overnight if you have the time). Remove the bananas from the fridge and insert a popsicle stick or similar (I used the plastic sticks from my iceblock moulds).
If you are crushing your own nuts, this is a good step to get out of the way while the bananas are freezing. I used a handful of almonds and macadamias (but you can use whatever you like: walnuts, cashews, peanuts… anything really). Spread out your crushed nuts on a flat plate to roll your bananas in.
Melt some good quality chocolate (I used dark) and dip your bananas in the chocolate and roll them in the crushed nuts (I made some mini Bluth bananas by cutting them in half as well). You can either eat them now, with the melted chocolate (recommended) or allow them to set in the fridge and allow the chocolate to harden. If you’re going to set them in the fridge, I would recommend adding a teaspoon of coconut oil to the melted chocolate before coating the bananas – this will make the chocolate coating a bit thinner and easier to bite into. You can store them in the freezer for up to one week.
Frozen Bluth Bananas
Makes: 4 large frozen bananas, or 2 large and 4 small (depending on how you want them!)
Time to prepare: min. 1 hour to freeze, 10-15 mins to assemble
Bluth Frozen Bananas
- 4 ripe bananas
- 1 cup of nuts of your choice (I used 1/2 cup macadamias and 1/2 cup of almonds) you can also omit these if you have a nut allergy
- 1x200g block of chocolate (I used dark but you could use milk or white if you prefer)
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil (optional)
Equipment needed: a food processor (or you can seal your nuts in a ziplock bag and bash them with a rolling pin!), a bowl to melt chocolate in, 4 popsicle sticks or similar, 1 plate, ziplock bags
- Peel bananas and place in a ziplock bag to freeze for at least one hour (overnight if time permits).
- Remove bananas from the freezer and ziplock bag. Insert popsicle sticks into base of bananas. If you want to make mini versions, cut frozen bananas in half and insert popsicle sticks into cut bases.
- Melt chocolate in a microwave-proof bowl. If you are planning on putting your bananas in the fridge after coating (or storing any leftovers in the freezer), add a teaspoon of coconut oil to your chocolate now.
- Dip frozen bananas into chocolate, coating completely.
- Roll your chocolate coated bananas immediately into your plate of crushed nuts until they are completely covered.
- Serve, or place in the fridge to harden the chocolate if you prefer them that way. Store any leftovers in the freezer for up to a week.
Ever since my recent gluten and dairy free stint, I must admit there have been a few foods that I have been missing. Cheese is definitely one. Buttery, delicious pastries have been another! Creamy mushroom fettuccine (be still my beating heart!) has been another as well as white chocolate, butter and supermarket iced coffees. I will admit that this diet has definitely forced me to be a lot healthier but I am surprisingly enjoying it. While I do enjoy healthy food, its quite often that the lazy side of me will choose unhealthier options out of convenience and price – especially for my unplanned work lunches which have recently transformed from Chinese fried chicken takeaways, chips and creamy pastas to roast chicken salads to tuna, tomatoes and herbs on gluten free crispbreads, lots of fruit and loads more veggies. Since I chose such unhealthy options so frequently in the past its almost surprising how much I enjoy the change and I do hope it’s a habit that sticks. It’s also fun coming up with healthier versions of things I normally cook as its surprising how delicious the results often are.
All that aside – I must say that it’s definitely nice to have a treat now and then and one thing I definitely miss is brownies. When I first started baking, brownies were my go-to recipe and I loved making super naughty versions of them (my faves had cookie dough swirled into the brownie batter with a thick layer of chocolate ganache. heartstoppingly amazing!) So while fruit has been my latest go-to dessert, sometimes you just want to sink your teeth into something soft, dense and amazingly chocolatey – which led me to go searching for gluten free brownie mixes. I found this one at Woolworths for $4.99 and thought I’d give it a shot. Coles also sell a similar mix, but for a different brand which I’d be interested in giving a try.
I made a few adaptations to the instructions on the box to suit me a bit better;
- The box mix says to add 2 eggs and 1/2 a cup of melted butter, but I substituted the butter for 1/2 a cup of rice bran oil to make it dairy free and couldn’t taste a difference. In fact it was a bit more convenient as I didn’t need to melt any butter.
- The box mix also includes some chocolate chips which it says to melt with the butter to mix into the batter, but I skipped this and just added them to the batter for some extra texture which I think turned out really well and did not detract from the chocolatey flavour of the brownie batter overall.
For those wanting to make a vegan version of these brownies, the box also recommends the use of egg-substitute in place of 2 eggsa (however I did not try this so I’m not sure exactly how the results would come out.)
Here’s what I came out with:
So the verdict? I found these brownies to be an excellent substitute for regular brownies. They were very moist, dense and chocolatey. I particularly enjoyed the chocolate chips in the batter rather than melted, but that’s just a personal preference. I found it hard to find a difference in taste or texture to regular box mix brownies that normally contain gluten/dairy. They were also very easy to make (just mix together eggs, oil and ingredients in the box and bake – too easy!). I imagine the ingredients are something like a mixture of corn/rice flour, sugar and cocoa powder so would probably be quite easy to put together yourself with a good recipe, as well as cheaper – but generally buying a box mix for the convenient factor usually adds a bit to the price. If they were on sale, I’d definitely snag another box but for full price, I don’t expect it’s something I’d buy regularly. In terms of taste and texture though, I would give it a 4/5.
After sampling a few brownies, I froze the rest of the batch to prevent me from eating it all… Until I discovered that frozen brownies taste amazing. (If you haven’t already, you have to try it! They get denser and almost taste richer – if that’s possible?) You could also microwave them for a warmer brownie if that’s what you prefer, but I bet you will find these very handy for when you need a quick sugar fix!
So how about you readers? Would you consider trying gluten/dairy free brownies or do you prefer to stick with the real deal?
*This has not been a paid review. Cooking Crusade paid for the box mix/ingredients.
Need a quick and easy weekend fix but just eating plain chocolate won’t cut it ….and you want to amp it up a tad?
Just can’t beat that chocolate and peanut butter combination?
Are you, like me, not willing to invest any more time or ingredients into your chocolatey treat than is absolutely necessary and prefer to use things that are in the fridge or cupboard most of the time?
Am I asking too many questions??? Quite possibly…
Nonetheless….This recipe just may be for you.
Chocolate and Peanut Butter Toast
Ingredients List: To serve two (or one very hungry) individual(s)
- 2 pieces of toast (I usually keep sliced bread in the freezer for easy access. You can use whatever kind you like, but in this case I used multigrain because that’s what I had. White bread, wholemeal, etc. would be more than suitable)
- 1-2 tablespoons peanut butter (I used smooth but you could use crunchy)
- 1 large ripe banana, sliced into discs
- About 2-3 rows of milk chocolate from a family sized bar
- About 1-2 tablespoons of thickened cream (depending on how thick/runny you want your chocolate sauce to be)
This recipe makes weekend indulgence far too quick and easy to put together!
Simply toast your bread and pop on a pretty plate. Spread with peanut butter and top with banana slices.
To make chocolate sauce, simply microwave chocolate and cream together in 10 second bursts until chocolate melts with cream. Stir together until smooth – add more cream and zap in the microwave again until smooth and the consistency you want. Drizzle warm chocolate sauce over toast and enjoy 🙂
This goes super well with a nice cuppa, or for some extra chocolatey indulgence, a cup of hot chocolate!
How was your long weekend? Mine was packed out with an engagement party, a wedding reception, hanging out with friends and a birthday. Gotta love that extra day off!
Have a fabulous week!
I’m staying up a little late.. but I didn’t want to neglect my blogging duties! It’s been awhile, my apologies! But I have not forgotten cookingcrusade.com!
Mike and I had our engagement party on Sunday (and unfortunately we were both actually struggling with a heavy dose of the ‘flu so we were massively drugged up on Codral – but we managed to have a good go of it.) The afternoon-night turned out to be pretty successful and I finally got to do a dessert table! I must apologise for that first photo, but I was so busy meeting and greeting guests I honestly did not touch a camera during the whole party so I had to rely on pix taken by the photographer and he wasn’t very interested in the dessert table, mostly the guests! Fortunately my lovely fiance realised I would want to blog about it later, so he took the remaining pics 🙂
Of course, there were plenty of things I had in mind. Macarons! Intricately decorated sugar cookies! Beautifully piped cupcakes, complete with miniature handmade flags! A beautifully decorated rose cake, or something pretty with fondant. Yes, I had many, many ideas… But unfortunately since I got sick a few days before the party (and it continued for quite a few days after), I was unable to realise any of these ideas – but I still think it turned out pretty well.
The theme colour for the engagement party was teal, so I tried to pick out a couple of teal themed ideas to add some colour to the table. Fortunately (and surprisingly) the walls for our engagement venue was actually painted a lovely teal shade – a funny coincidence, but also helped stick to the theme! Lol.
Some of the teal decos I picked out:
- teal cupcakes for the dessert sign made from coloured cardboard I picked up from a local craft shop
- teal dessert cups for the brownie cups – picked up from Alfresco Emporium
- teal heart shaped chocolates from eBay (it’s great, you can order 100 chocolate hearts in any colour you like) – i put these in an old fashioned glass candy jar of my Mum’s
- my baking partner in crime, Ghilaine made up some teal coloured fondant for the cake hearts and the cupcake flowers – dyed with some teal food colouring she had (she even painted her nails teal!). she also decorated heart shaped butter cookies with teal royal icing 🙂
- teal napkins! found (surprisingly) at a $2
I had lots of fun making the dessert sign. I bought a foam board from a craft shop, covered it with some pretty wrapping paper from Kikki.K, then printed a cupcake template from google images, then cut out a bunch of teal cupcakes from cardboard, drew on little cupcake papers and then glued them to the board with dessert names 🙂 Easy and quite cheap to do!
Desserts we served;
- Chocolate fountain (borrowed from Ghilaine – so glad we got to have this – had many guests comment on it), served with marshmallows and fruit platters
- Hummingbird cupcakes (also by Ghilaine!) with yummy cream cheese frosting – from her cupcake Bible – the Crabapple Cupcake Bakery book
- Chocolate chip brownies (my fave packet mix! – White Wings)
- Bakerella’s deadly cookie-brownie slice
- Kim’s favourite choc chip cookie recipe from Lovin in the Oven – the first time I tried the recipe, but got many compliments. I made them in milk chocolate chip and dark/white chocolate chip versions – both delicious! Will definitely make this recipe again. I made huge batches before hand and froze them in log shapes, then defrosted them slightly, chopped it up and baked it 🙂
- The engagement cake was a double batch of Pioneer Woman’s chocolate sheet cake with whipped milk chocolate ganache, decorated with teal fondant hearts and cachous. I wanted to do something a little more involved, decoration wise, but I honestly ran out of time and had absolutely no energy to come up with anything better due to the cold… Oh well! I think it turned out rather well in the end 🙂
- Ghilaine made some lovely gluten free desserts for the gluten intolerent
- A friend of my Mum’s brought along a few platters of vegan cakes – so delicious! I am dying for the recipe 🙂
Cookie-brownie slice and chocolate brownies 🙂
brownie cups with cream cheese frosting / chocolate ganache
Cupcake tower (bought from Woolies for like $8, bargain!)
Chocolate chip cookies 🙂
Cute little vegan cakes.
Despite the fact that there were lots of little details that I missed out on doing, I think it turned out rather well!
ps: couldn’t resist sneaking in a few shots of us from the night:
Me and Mike with two soon to be newlyweds – getting hitched this very weekend! Congrats MF and Steve!!
More soon to be newlyweds… Grant and Chivs plan to marry a few weeks after us 🙂 Congrats to you guys too 🙂
Love this pic of my maid of honor, Kira (on the right) and her sister Holly. Too cute!
Of course my gorgeous god daughter was there too! After all, her mama is one of my bridesmaids 🙂
Thanks for watching, hope you are well!
Hey y’all. How is everyone doing?
As you can imagine, I have wedding on the brain right now. I picked up a Cosmo Bride magazine yesterday and I was bombarded with all the things I’m supposed to be thinking about.
Engagement party, photographers, hair and makeup, dresses, reception invitation list, actual invitations, actual reception venue, honeymoon locations… It’s all making me a teensy bit mad, but hey.. It’s gotta be done, right? At least I feel like we’re making a little bit of progress (in the way of research anyway.)
I’ve also joined a gym and made major changes to my diet in an attempt to fit into a bridal gown.. I’ve given myself a good six months to drop the kay-gees (or kgs haha) before I go dress shopping. I’ve been told that dress-makers are going to absolutely freak on me, but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do! Besides wanting to get into shape, I honestly do not think I could plan this whole wedding in under 12 months without having a mental breakdown – all this planning is giving me a serious headache!
Anyway… This post is an indication of what you almost definitely should not be eating when you’re on a crazy bride-diet. Bakerella calls these Thaank you Betty! brownies, but I kind of call them ‘deadly brownies.’
I have to say.. Every single time I have baked these I have received nothing but compliments. I’ve been told these are the best brownies I’ve ever made (on several occasions). And its true. They are completely amazing. It’s a combination of brownie AND cookie (AND chocolate ganache.) Something about the cookie dough and the brownie batter melds together to marble together in this amazingly wonderful fudgy, dense, incredible way to create something completely magnificent.
The best thing about them is how absolutely easy they are to make AND they cut down on clean up (people with no dish washers shout “hooray!”)
You only need a few things.
1 brownie box mix; My favourite box-mix by FAR is White Wings. I’ve tried all the other brands and I swear by this one – been using it for years with great results every time. I fail to make a brownie this good – shame, right?
1 box mix of cookie dough Oddly enough the Betty Crocker brand far outweighs the White Wings cookie dough, which I have also tried. Weird, right? I guess you need the best of both worlds to make this one.
PLUS the ingredients to make the box mixes. From memory, the brownie mix requires 1 T of water, 2 eggs and 1/4 oil (i always use melted butter) and the cookie dough needs 1 egg and something like, 1/3 cup of softened butter.
PLUS you will need some chocolate ganache.
1 cup cream + 250 grams of good eating milk chocolate (I just use the Coles Belgium chocolate brand and it’s gooood.)
To make the chocolate ganache, boil the cream in a saucepan until bubbling. Pour over chopped/broken up chocolate in a bowl and leave for about 30-60 seconds (until chocolate is melted) and stir together. Wow! You just made chocolate ganache. Give yourself a pat on the back. Now take a spoonful of chocolate ganache and contemplate how good chocolate is. Then put the ganache in the fridge and stop eating it. Seriously. Stop. I said stop eating it! Thank you. Allow it to cool for a good hour. You could make this a day beforehand if you were feeling particularly productive.
(PS: In case you didn’t know this, chocolate ganache makes a mean chocolate milk, mixed with cold milk or a beaut hot chocolate with hot milk. OR drizzle it over vanilla ice cream for the perfect chocolate topping.. It can even be used as frosting for a cakes. Ohhh chocolate ganache how you thrill me with your many uses!) Yep. It’s true. Chocolate ganache is a magical substance.
To make the brownie slice, whip up the brownie batter and pour into a greased and/or lined brownie tray. Mix together the cookie dough and then drop in large chunks of cookie dough into the batter. Not too big, I just like to break off a little bit with my fingers and distribute them randomly in the batter. Bake in a hot oven (about 160 degs, don’t wanna overbake these babies) for about an hour or until the cookie dough starts to brown (and the brownie batter is cooked – test with a cake tester – it should yield moist crumbs.) Cool completely. Pour over chocolate ganache and refrigerate until completely set. Cut into slices and serve.
If you need any more convincing about these brownies, I took some on a picnic.. And the next thing I knew .. I was engaged. Coincidence?
.. I don’t think so.
Oh and just a little side note: if you noticed that the chocolate ganache looked like it had a couple of air bubbles in it, its because I put this slice in the fridge with some plastic wrap when it was setting and the air bubbles created that weird effect. I didn’t really notice until later but it was fine to spread to even out the texture.
Hope you are all having a wonderful week!
These freeze beautifully. Pop slices between squares of baking paper and then wrap in cling wrap – perfect for those days you just need a quick and sinfully sweet pick-me-up. Though I don’t drink it, I imagine these would be great with a coffee 🙂