Like pretty much every food blogger, people ask me frequently how I manage to keep my health in check when so many sugary, buttery, and chocolate-y items emerge from my oven week after week. Afterall, my passion for baking and pastry is rooted in a sweet tooth so big Zach has taken to calling it a sweets mouth.
But after time spent working in a professional bakery I began to notice a shift in my hunger for sweets. The work was fun, but physically exhausting. Eight hours of quality control means a taste of this, a nibble of that, and a sliver here and there often hours before lunch arrives. By the end of the day my mind was so full of ideas and techniques that there was little room in my stomach for the fruits of my labor.
In those days, I would have willingly given a kidney in exchange for a salad.
Though I’m not in a bakery daily anymore, I find the attitude persists with the recipes I develop for this space. At a minimum I’m in the kitchen for 1 entire day (often 2) every weekend prepping, baking, and taste-testing and that doesn’t take into account the hours of advance research, the photographing, writing, tinkering, and posting all about sweets, sweets, sometimes bread, and more sweets.
It is truly a labor of love. One that started as a voracious appetite for desserts and has since been eclipsed by the sense of self I find in the kitchen and the joy in sending 95% of it out in plastic containers for others to consume. Perhaps this is what happens when a hobby becomes a job. As a wannabe career it’s a different animal altogether, but I don’t love it any less.
Now this isn’t all to say I’ve lost my sweets mouth completely. Far from it in fact. I probably enjoy my blog recipes more frequently than any nutritionist would like. But when the exhaustion peaks or my mind is overloaded with my sugary “to do” list, I know a big salad is in my future.
Okay fine, twist my arm. And the tiniest scoop of ice cream.
Banana Pudding Ice Cream
Adapted from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop
3 (very ripe) medium bananas
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 Tb unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 Tb granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 tsps fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup Nilla wafers(or other vanilla wafer cookie), broken into medium-sized pieces
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the bananas and toss in a medium glass baking dish with the brown sugar and butter. Bake for 40 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
2. Pour the warm bananas and all of their juices into a blender or food processor. Add the milk, granulated sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt and process until smooth. Transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid and chill in the refrigerator until very cold, preferably overnight.
3. Process in your ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions.* When the mixture reaches soft-serve consistency, transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid and gently fold in the Nilla wafers. Cover and freeze until set. Remove from the freezer 15 mins prior to serving to soften as this ice cream tends to freeze very solid.
*Note: While processing in an ice cream machine is preferred it is not mandatory with this recipe. The creamy texture of the bananas does a lot of the work for you. For those without a machine, simply place mixture in the freezer and give it a good whip/fluffing/stir every 15 minutes or so. The end result will not be as fluffy as with the machine, but will be perfectly convincing and just as delicious.