Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Magnolia's Famous Banana Pudding

Ok, this is pretty lame, but I won't be able to post pictures until I make this again, because I failed to bring my camera to New Jersey this past weekend. However (and I think this will help you to forgive me), I just couldn't wait to share this incredibly tasty and SUPER easy recipe.

For those of you who don't live a near Magnolia Bakery, I 1) feel bad for you, but 2) feel it necessary to explain the cult-like following of this banana pudding. Any weekend morning you will find a line out the door of people waiting to pick up their pre-ordered banana pudding. Yeah, it's that good.

So imagine my surprise when I bought the More From Magnolia cookbook and right there on page 113 is the recipe. And to make things even better, its a snap to make. So here you go my friends ... enjoy!

Magnolia's Famous Banana Pudding (from More From Magnolia)

1 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups ice cold water
1 3.4-ounce package instant vanilla pudding mix (preferably Jell-o)
3 cups heavy cream
1 12-ounce box Nabisco Nilla Wafers (accept no substitutes)
4 cups sliced ripe bananas

1. In a small bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the sweetened condensed milk and water until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the pudding mix and beat well, about 2 minutes more. Cover and refrigerate over night, or at least for 4 hours.

2. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. (be patient). Gently fold the pudding mixture into the whipped cream until well blended and no streaks of pudding remain.

3. To assemble: select a large, wide bowl (preferably glass) with a 4-5 quart capacity. Arrange 1/3 of the wafers to cover the bottom of the bowl, overlapping if necessary, then 1/3 of the bananas, and 1/3 of the pudding. Repeat the layering twice more, garnishing with additional wafers on the top layer. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for 8 hours.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Camp Tweedale

(photo from

I have never used this blog as a means of garnering support for a cause. I envisioned it as a place to share recipes and that is best done when the mood is light. But a few days ago I heard devastating news. The Council that runs the Girl Scouts of Eastern PA (formerly FVSGC) has decided to close Camp Tweedale.

This is the only camp that serves girls living in Chester and Delaware counties and is also pretty close to girls in Lancaster and Philadelphia. I spent every childhood summer at this camp, starting at the age of 5, and then worked there in the kitchen as soon as I was old enough.

I realize that girls can make memories anywhere. And that my emotional attachment to Camp Tweedale is personal. But closing this camp is a disservice to the local girls. Chester County is one of the most populous counties in Eastern PA; girls will now have to drive over an hour to access a Camp for weekend troop camping and summer sleep away camp. 78% of Girl Scouts in Eastern PA are Daisies and Brownies (5-7 years old). I think it is unrealistic to think that parents will send these young girls so far away for resident camping. This decision is wrong and we think there is still time to change it! Please take a moment to sign our petition and let GSEPA know that closing Camp Tweedale is a mistake.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Peanut Butter and Fudge Oatmeal Cookies

In the interest of full disclosure, I don't love these cookies. Don't get me wrong. They are great with a glass of milk and the peanut butter, chocolate, oatmeal trio is a winner. But there are a lot of other cookies I would reach for first if given a choice. On the other hand, it is the perfect cookie for Tom. And considering the fact that he can't eat starting at midnight tonight until after his surgery tomorrow afternoon, these cookies were made and an empty glass with a slightly white bottom and a small plate with a few crumbs are sitting between us.

The original recipe doesn't call for any flour. Not a sprinkle of it. And, maybe I'm old-school, but you don't make cookies without flour. It might be tasty. But a cookie, it isn't. So I adjusted that slightly. I also made mine much smaller than initially called for. I'd much rather eat 6 small cookies than 2 big ones. You feel like you get more. And its less daunting when you don't have to use both hands to eat.

So without further ado ... the peanut butter and fudge oatmeal cookie.

Peanut Butter and Fudge Oatmeal Cookies (adapted from the kitchn)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 tsps vanilla
4 1/2 cups old-fashion oats
2 tbsps all purpose flour
2 tsps baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl mix together butter, peanut butter, and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Stir until completely mixed.

2. In a separate bowl mixt flour, baking soda, and salt. Add oats and flour mixture to peanut butter mixture. Place in the fridge to cool.

3. In a small saucepan over low heat stir sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips until all chocolate is melted. Turn flame off.

4. On a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, place teaspoon sized balls of dough. Flatten them with your fingers and place a dollop of chocolate in the middle of each. Bake for 10 minutes, until the edges are light brown. Wait 2 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

I am lemon-obsessed. I've lost count of the number of times that I have passed off a Magnolia Bakery lemon zest muffin as breakfast and I baked this lemon olive oil cake last week just because I wanted a snack. Also, lemonade has pretty much replaced water and diet coke in my life.

This cake lasted less than a day in our house. Tom and I basically split it down the middle and before 24 hours had passed, we had taken care of our respective shares. (I ate more than 1/2 for those keep score at home).

It was so light, thanks to the gorgeous egg whites. And the crunchy bits of turbinado sugar on top are perfect. AND, there's no butter! This is usually a sin in my kitchen, because it typically means that shortening has been used (yuck), but here, the light olive oil is really a stunning compliment to the lemon. Be sure to use a light bodied olive oil, so the flavor doesn't overpower your lemons.

And to celebrate my birthday (which was yesterday), Tom got me yet another lemon treat from Magnolia. This time, a lemon layer cake with tart lemon cream filling and lemon meringue buttercream icing. Seriously, I may turn into a lemon by the end of the month.

Lemon Olive Oil Cake
(from Epicurious)
1 cup cake flour
zest of 1 lemon

1/2 cup granulated sugar
5 egg yolks
3/4 cup light olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

4 egg whites
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a round cake pan or spring-form pan. Cover the bottom with a round piece of parchment paper.

2. Mix together flour and lemon zest. Set aside.

3. Beat yolks and sugar on high for about 3 minutes; until very light and fluffy. Reduce speed and slowly add in olive oil and lemon juice. Using a spoon or spatula stir in flour/zest mixture until just combined.

4. Carefully wash and dry your beaters. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites and salt until foamy. Slowly add in 1/4 cup of sugar and beat until soft peaks form; about 3 minutes.

5. Gently fold egg whites into batter. Pour into your prepared pan. Tap a few times to release any air bubbles. Sprinkle the top with turbinado sugar.

6. Bake for about 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.