Dessert

The Best Banana Bread

Ingredients

 

  1.         ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  2.         ¼ cup vegetable oil
  3.         1 cup white granulated sugar
  4.         ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  5.         2 eggs
  6.         1½ cups mashed ripe bananas (I use 3 medium well-ripened bananas)
  7.         ½ cup sour cream
  8.         1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  9.         2 cups flour
  10.         1 teaspoon baking soda
  11.         ½ teaspoon salt
  12.         1 heaping cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips 
  13.         Additional brown sugar for the top 

Steps-

  1.         Mix together butter, oil, sugars and eggs.
  2.         Add mashed bananas, sour cream and vanilla, stirring together well.
  3.         Mix together the flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl and then add it slowly to the banana mixture.
  4.         Pour into 1 greased large loaf pan or into greased muffin tins or muffin tins lined with paper liners
  5.         Sprinkle additional brown sugar generously over top of batter
  6.         Bake at 325 degrees: large loaf pan for about 1 hour, for muffins around 25 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out of the center clean.
  7.         Allow bread to cool in pans for about 20 minutes, then run a sharp knife around the edges, tap the pan on the counter several times to release the bread from the bottom of the pan, then invert pan over a wire rack and let the bread fall onto the rack to finish cooling completely.

 

Sicilian Ricotta Cheesecake

I was born and raised a New Yorker so naturally I love me some cheesecake! Cheesecake is rich, creamy, dense, tangy, mildly sweet and just so comforting to consume.  As much as I love NY style Cheesecake, it can be a super heavy dessert to eat after a big meal.  After growing up in a Sicilian household and traveling all over Sicily last summer, I discovered the beauty of using ricotta cheese in desserts.  Sicilians use ricotta based fillings and custards in tons of desserts like layer cakes, cream puffs, casadelle (fried “calzone” shaped pieces of dough stuffed with a delicious sweet ricotta filling and chocolate) and many more! This Easter I came up with my own Sicilian style cheesecake recipe that was such a hit, even my Dad’s cousin Sal who was visiting from the motherland gave it a “molto bene!”  This cheesecake is light and buttery and has a wonderful citrus flavor that is perfect for any spring/summer get together.  This recipe is pretty simple to execute and is always a hit with my guests! Remember tweet me or Instagram me pics of your Got Room For More creations @gotroomformore.

 

Ingredients-

  1. 1-2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter Melted
  2. ½ Cup finely crushed Almond Biscotti Cookies (You can also use graham crackers, chocolate biscotti, Amaretti cookies or whatever you like!)
  3. 2  Pounds Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
  4. 1 Pound Mascarpone Cheese
  5. 1 ½ Cups Granulated White Sugar
  6. 6 Large Eggs
  7. 2 Egg Yolks
  8. 2 Tablespoons Fresh Orange Zest
  9. 1/4 cup Heavy Cream
  10. 2 Teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
  11. 1 ½ Tablespoons Fresh Orange Juice (squeeze the orange you zested)
  12. Powdered sugar, for dusting

Steps-

  1.  Preheat the oven to 325 F.
  2. If there is a lot of excess water in your ricotta (which may happen if you use fresh/homemade), drain the ricotta in a colander or in some cheesecloth set over a bowl for about 30 minutes to an hour. 
  3. In a small bowl stir together the biscotti crumbs and melted butter. Cover the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with aluminum foil.  Make sure it is covered well so the water bath doesn’t get into the pan and make the crust soggy. Make sure the foil is not bulky so the pan can lay flat. 
  4. Pour the buttery cookie crumbs into the springform pan and press them into the bottom of the pan and up the sides of the pan a little. Make sure there is a thin, flat, even layer throughout.
  5. Place the pan in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until slightly dry and starting to brown. 
  6. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  7. Using an electric mixer, beat the ricotta, mascarpone and sugar together until smooth.  With the mixer Add the eggs one at a time, orange zest, cream, vanilla and orange juice and mix until completely smooth and combined. 
  8. Pour batter into the prepared springform pan and set the pan inside a larger pan (roasting pan, jelly roll pan, glass Pyrex dish etc.) Fill the outer pan with boiling water until it reaches about halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan.
  9. Bake for 1½ to 2 hours or until the cheesecake is mostly set in the center. Turn off the oven and let the cake rest inside for 30 minutes.
  10. Remove cake from the oven and let cool to room temperature on a wire rack.  Run a sharp knife around the perimeter of the cake to loosen it and unmold. 
  11.  Chill the cheesecake in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
  12. Make the whipped cream topping (see below) and spread it over the top of the chilled cheesecake.
  13. Top with fresh raspberries or just some powdered sugar and some orange or lemon slices as I did.

 

 Topping-

  1. ½ Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  2. 1-2 Tablespoons Confectioners’ Sugar (depending on how sweet you like your whipped cream)
  3. ½ Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Beat together in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer or whisk until the cream has stiff peaks and turns into whipped cream.

Chocolate, Salted Peanut Brittle Mousse Pie

I can go on and on about this pie, but it really doesn't need an introduction…the name says it all: Chocolate, Salted Peanut Brittle Mousse Pie.  I have made this for several parties and unfortunately for me there has never been even the tiniest crumb for me to take home to enjoy later.  People go crazy for this thing! The chocolately, buttery crust, the salty, sweet and crunchy peanut brittle layer, the creamy and tangy peanut butter, cream cheese mousse and the rich, decadent chocolate ganache topping all come together in this gorgeous and unbelievably delicious dessert.  This pie is good for any holiday, any party, any season…or any typical Tuesday night. 

 

Chocolate Cookie Crust

Ingredients-

  1. 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
  2. About 30 Chocolate Wafer Cookies (I use Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers in the long yellow box)

 Steps-

1.     Heat the oven to 350°F

2.    Place cookies in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and process until the cookies become fine crumbs. (if you don’t have a food processor just crush the cookies in a Ziploc using a meat mallet or large spoon.)

3.    Add the melted butter, and continue to process until the crumbs and fully combined with the butter.

4.    Pour crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie plate and, using the bottom of a cup or your fingers, press firmly and evenly into the bottom and up the sides. Bake until fragrant, about 10 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely before filling.

  Salted Peanut Caramel Layer

  1.    1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  2.    1/4 cup honey
  3.     1 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
  4.     1/3 cup heavy cream
  5.     2 cups chopped, salted dry roasted peanuts

Steps-

  1. . In a small saucepan melt the butter over low heat. Add the honey and brown sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to boil, without stirring, for about 1 minute. Add the heavy cream and stir to combine. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the peanuts until well coated with the mixture.
  2. Place the pie pan with the cookie crust on a large baking sheet.
  3.  Scrape the mixture into the pre-baked cookie crust, spreading it as evenly as possible. Continue baking the tart in the preheated 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the filling is bubbly all over. Transfer the tart pan to a wire rack and let the tart cool completely.

*NOTE– The ingredient amounts for the caramel nut layer just about filled my whole tart pan, leaving barely any room for the peanut butter filling and ganache toppings, without serious overflow. I removed about 1/3 of it, and cooked it to about 300F to make crunchy, delicious salted peanut caramel candy to top the tart.  You want the brittle mixture to reach a dark caramel brown color..if it is too light it will be too sticky and will get stuck in your teeth! Hello dental work! ;)  Spread the excess peanut brittle mixture onto an aluminum foil lined sheet pan sprayed with nonstick spray.  Sprinkle it with sea-salt and let it cool completely so you can break it into pieces.

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Mousse Layer

  1.    1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  2.     1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  3.     6 oz Cream Cheese softened
  4.     ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

 Steps-

  1. In a stand mixture, whisk together the peanut butter, cream cheese and vanilla.  Slowly add the confectioners sugar.
  2. When the peanut brittle layer of the tart is cooled spread the peanut butter mousse layer evenly over the top.  Make sure you have enough room for the final layer! If you don’t, then do not put all of the peanut butter mousse in.

Chocolate Ganache

  1.    9 ounces bittersweet, or semisweet chocolate (I prefer Ghiardelli bittersweet because the rest of the tart is fairly sweet already), coarsely chopped
  2.     1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
  3.     1/2 cup heavy cream

 Steps-

  1. Place the chocolate in a bowl.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cream and corn syrup to a gentle boil.
  3. Pour the hot cream/corn syrup over the chocolate. Allow the mixture to stand for 30 seconds to melt the chocolate, and then whisk until smooth.
  4. Pour the chocolate over the peanut butter mousse layer and spread evenly with a spatula.
  5. Now place the final touches on your pie! I put little pieces of the extra peanut brittle over the top and sprinkle on some salted peanuts. 

 

Easy as Pie...Banana Cream Pie

In the spirit of the holidays I would like to share one of my favorite holiday dessert recipes with you.  This recipe was created by my amazing and talented grandmother, Rosemarie.  Grandma Rosemarie makes all of her desserts from scratch, crusts, fillings, cookies, cakes you name it, but this pie was the only exception.  It consists of store bought graham cracker crust, instant vanilla pudding, fresh bananas, heavy cream, milk and vanilla...that is it!  It takes minutes to prepare and doesn’t have to be baked in an oven!  I have enjoyed this Banana Cream Pie every Thanksgiving for the past 23 years! It just isn’t the holiday season without this silky, crunchy, creamy delight and my incredible family members enjoying it together around the dining room table while sharing stories.

Ingredients-

  1. 1 Graham Cracker Crust
  2. Jello Brand Vanilla Instant Pudding (1 small box)
  3. 1 ½  Ripe Bananas sliced into ¼ inch round slices
  4. 1 ½ Cups Milk (I use 2% or Whole)
  5. ¼ Cup Heavy Cream

Whipped Cream Topping-

  1. ¾ Cup Heavy Cream
  2. 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  3. ½ Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Steps-

  1. In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, whip together the vanilla pudding mix, milk, and ¼ cup heavy cream until thick (pudding like texture).
  2. With a rubber spatula fold in the banana slices.
  3. Pour the pudding mixture into the graham cracker crust.
  4. Using the stand mixer or hand mixer beat the ¾ cup of heavy cream, vanilla extract and sugar until stiff peaks form.
  5. Scoop as much of the whipped cream as you like onto the top of the pie and spread it out evenly to cover the entire top of the pie.
  6. Let it set in the fridge for about an hour or two (or overnight) and serve!

 

Frog & Peach: Grilled Peaches with Green Tea Ice Cream & Brown Sugar Vanilla Syrup

This dish is inspired by my childhood obsession, frogs, and my favorite fruit, peaches! There is nothing quite like a warm, succulent grilled peach combined with the contrasting flavors of an icy cold scoop of Green Tea Ice Cream.  Of course you can use any Ice Cream flavor you like, but the Green Tea has such a unique, earthy flavor that is mildly sweet, which compliments the sweetness and freshness of the ripened peaches.

 

Ingredients-

  1. 2 Ripe Peaches
  2. ¼ Cup Dark Brown Sugar
  3. 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  4. Green Tea Ice Cream (I love Ciao Bella Gelato)

(Feeds about 3 People)

Steps-

  1. Slice the Peaches into wedges and place them into a bowl
  2. Mix the Brown Sugar and Vanilla in with the Peaches and toss them around until they are fully coated.
  3. Let the Peaches sit in the sugar mixture for about 15 minutes.
  4. Put your grill pan on the stove on medium high heat (or heat up your outdoor grill).
  5. Grill the peaches for about 4 minutes on each side or until they start to caramelize and have nice grill marks.  You want them to be warm throughout. Make sure you set aside the extra Brown Sugar Syrup left in the bowl.
  6. Place a few slices of Peaches in each bowl and top them with a nice big scoop of Green Tea Ice Cream.
  7. Drizzle the extra Brown Sugar & Vanilla Syrup over the top of the Ice Cream.

Enjoy!

Banana Whama Sweet & Salty Pie

A few days ago I tweeted this amazing dessert to Phin & Phebes: Twitter Link. They very much enjoyed the delicious looking pie that I made with their Banana Whama ice cream, and contacted me asking if they could share with their customers: Website Link.

And now, I want to share it with you!

Banana Whama Sweet & Salty PIe

There is no better way to bare the sizzling summer heat than to enjoy your favorite Phin and Phebes Ice Cream inside a decadent, frozen pie. Here is a simple, crowd pleasing recipe that is sure to leave your Phamily and phriends pheeling phabulous. Any of the “phantastic” Phin and Phebes Ice Cream flavors can be used in this recipe, but I chose Banana Whama because the sweet, fruity flavor and creamy, silky texture compliment the salty crunch of the peanuts & pretzels and the rich, bitter flavor of the chocolate ganache. Nothing makes my taste buds dance quite like the contrasting flavors of salt and sugar combined. This recipe will make your tongue tingle with delight! Here is how to concoct this dreamy dessert.

Ingredients

  • 1- 9 inch store bought Graham Cracker Pie Crust (or homemade of course)
  • 1 pint of Banana Whama Ice Cream (or the flavor of your choice)
  • 3/4 cup salted roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 6 ounces 60% Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (you can also use semi-sweet)
  • 1/2 Cup Crushed up salted sour dough hard pretzels

Steps

  • Allow the ice cream to soften up slightly on your kitchen counter (just until it is spreadable and easy to work with).
  • Scoop the entire pint of ice cream into the pie crust and spread it out evenly.
  • Sprinkle the salted, roasted peanuts evenly over the top of the ice cream
  • Place the pie into the freezer for about an hour until it firms back up.
  • In the mean time, bring the heavy whipping cream and corn syrup to a simmer in a small saucepan. Once it is simmering, remove from the heat and whisk in the chocolate chips until smooth.
  • Pour the ganache into a glass bowl and allow it to cool in the refrigerator (or just on the counter). Make sure it is spreadable
  • After the ice cream has firmed up again, pour the cooled chocolate ganache over the top of the pie and spread it out evenly.
  • Sprinkle the salty pretzel crumbs and pieces over the top of the ganache.
  • Freeze the pie for an hour or two (or overnight) until the ice cream and ganache is set.
  • Slice and ENJOY!