after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Archive for the ‘Dessert’ Category

In Ina We Trust

leave a comment »

t says:  A while ago, g got me some bananas.  For some unknown reason, these bananas went un-eaten (very unlike me).  But I had no fear … because when bananas go bad, g shifts into banana bread mode … and life gets good.

This particular month, she let me choose the recipe – and choose I did.  You see, for me, the only thing banana bread is missing is chocolate, so when google revealed an Ina Garten recipe, it was a done deal.  Here’s the copy-pasted recipe.

For the bread:
– 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
– 3/4 cup granulated sugar
– 1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
– 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
– 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (3 to 4 very ripe bananas)
– 1/4 cup sour cream
– 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the streusel topping:
– 3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
– 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
– 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
– 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
– 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
– 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
– 3 tablespoons sliced blanched almonds

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour an 8x8x2-inch square baking pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on high speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. With the mixer on low, beat in the egg, vanilla, banana, and sour cream and mix until combined. Don’t worry—it may look curdled. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ones. Scrape into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

For the streusel, combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a medium bowl and pinch the ingredients together with your fingers until the mixture makes crumbles. Add the chocolate and combine.

Distribute the streusel evenly over the batter, sprinkle the almonds on top, and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan and serve warm or at room temperature.

How’d it turn out?  Take a look:

extreme close-up!

extreme close-up!

How’d it taste?  Heaven.  Seriously.  Pure heaven.  Even g agrees that it was “holy crap” good, not hesitating to mention this recipe to friends immediately.  Throw out anything you might have thought about banana bread, and instead replace it with something more like banana “cake” … with a crazy good topping.  Super-moist, flavorful, accented with just the right amount of chocolate (I went with 60% cacao – the bitterness with a nice foil to the sweet cake) – it was one of the first times that I didn’t wish for something else to add (we did use pecans instead of almonds in the topping, however – they were on sale).  Is it blog-worthy just to put up someone else’s recipe and rave how good it is?  I have no idea – I put it here just so I can find the recipe more easily when it comes time to make it again.  Speaking of which: have we made it again (it’s been about a a month since we made it last)? Hell no.  Why not?  Because I’d eat it all by myself … in a single sitting … sorry g.

Written by afterdinnersneeze

28 August 2016 at 1:45am

olive oil chocolate mousse?

leave a comment »

t says: I came across this bizarre recipe.  Somebody try it out and tell me how it is!

Recipe courtesy of James Beard Foundation

Pastry chef turned Indian take-out queen Heather Carlucci-Rodriguez demonstrated how to make this rich, dairy-free chocolate mousse at her chocolate workshop at the Beard House. The recipe was inspired by her good friend, Teresa Barrenechea, author of The Basque Table (2005) and The Cuisine of Spain: Exploring Regional Home Cooking (2005) and chef/owner of Marichu restaurant in NYC. For the most delicate flavor, choose a sweet, subtle olive oil, such as those produced in the Lake Garda region of Italy.


6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup brewed espresso
2 tablespoons liqueur, such as blackberry brandy

Yield: 8 servings


Melt the chocolate over a double broiler and allow it to cool to room temperature.

Beat the egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer on high speed until light and lemon yellow in color. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream, as you would for a mayonnaise. Once the olive oil has been incorporated, add the melted chocolate, espresso, and liqueur. Mix on low speed until combined.

In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until they form medium peaks. Fold the whites thoroughly into the chocolate mixture and refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours.

Written by afterdinnersneeze

13 February 2014 at 12:47pm

the fruits of summer

leave a comment »

t says:  Ahhhh, summer.  I wish you’d never leave:


grilled peaches!  yay!  a light dusting of superfine sugar and some direct heat makes a brilliant accompaniment to some butter pecan ice cream …

(but don’t get me wrong, summer, peaches or not – I do wish you were a little cooler and less humid …)

Written by afterdinnersneeze

6 August 2013 at 10:00pm

Our Philly Diner en Blanc Primer

leave a comment »

t says:  Ah yes.  Diner en Blanc.  Pictures are everywhere.  We have some, too, but a lot of them have our mugs on ’em, so we’re not going to be able to show those off.  Instead, we’re going to treat this kind of like a “how g-&-t-&-a-&-v do Diner en Blanc”.  Hopefully this post will be helpful for our planning next year …

g and I easily sourced our table and chairs, but we had to decide what was going to go on the tabletop.  There were so many options of glasses and utensils that we needed to visualize it.  Fortunately, Dr. Moody (a gift from lc) was ready-willing-and-able to help out:

Dr. Moody lends a helping hand by modeling different dinnerwares …

Eventually, we did decide on our tabletop selections, and everything looked pretty darn spiffy:

our tabletop!

The ONLY regret we had was that our selections were damn-heavy.  The glasses: real glass.  The dishes: real porcelain (and there were two!).  The silverware: real metal.   That bottle our water was in: real glass.  g and I are not World’s-Strongest-Man material – we can say that by the time we got to the site, we were quite pooped.  And we can only imagine what a was going through, as his table was even heavier than ours!  Of course, part of why we were pooped was due to stupid-as-crap route they took us to go from 30th street to Logan Square, but that’s another rant …  (“To the Main Line!”)

The official g & t mascots of Diner en Blanc … hiding under the shrubbery … we should have won “best table” for them alone … nevermind the edited, classy display of properly placed utensils, a single vase, a single candle, real steak knives, antique cheese spreader-thingees, big wine glasses …

The four of us also brought our own home-made food.  There were others who did the take-out thing with some classy-looking foods (table next to us had some sliders, I saw some Italian take-out elsewhere).  I saw there were a lot of people there trying to be “unique” by bringing sushi, but that ultimately ended up being as “unique” as getting a butterfly tramp stamp <re-read this sentence and play the effect at for full effect>.  Ultimately, v and g took it upon themselves to craft a meal that was built especially for DeB.  The food needed to be able to be served at room/outdoor temperature.  It needed to be transportable.  It needed to be light.  It needed to be filling.  It needed minimal number of components (i.e. minimal number of gladware).  It needed to lack any sauces that would dribble everywhere or leak in our picnic basket.  It needed to be pair-able with wine.  It needed to be shareable in case we got friendly with neighbors.  It needed to be eaten with fork and knife (after all, this is a classy event …)  This is what they came up with …

quinoa salad

v made a quinoa salad and it was scrumptious.  v said that it was based on a recipe she found here – except no gouda and a different vinegar; it turned out to be a feast for the eyes as well as the mouth.  We paired it with a rose that a picked out from the PLCB and we were in heaven (seriously, this may have been the best rose I’ve had all year … it’s been such a tough year of roses for me – nothing like a legit Bandol to really show the world how to do a proper rose).  I could not think of a more fitting start to an outdoor summer meal.

“g surprise”

g whipped up a pasta dish inspired by something her mom crafted the other day.  The main idea was pasta and cheese and chorizo and wilted spinach and multi-colored bell peppers for some crunch.  g’s still got it!  And, of course, we microplaned some more cheese at the table.  For this course, a pulled out a delightful red he found at Moore Bros.  I was worried at first that it was going to overtake the summery pasta, but the tango was pleasant (there was a good amount of cheese in the pasta, so there was some richness and flavors in there to compete with the red).  The pairing probably wasn’t “perfect”, but of course a also had no idea what was going to be in the pasta, either (we literally called it “g surprise” when we made up the sample menu).

cheese plate

For the cheese plate, we had some Pecorino Fulvi, a triple creme goat/cow blend from GTC, and garrotxa.  This was accompanied by garlic dulce de leche (not pictured), some pistachios, prosciutto, and fig.  It was a very interesting assortment of mild cheeses – fun to mix-and-match with accompaniments and wine.  By now, we moved on to Erath “Le Jour Magique” White Pinot Noir … it rocked my socks again.

dessert …

We finished with an apple tart that v made (recipe here).  It was beautiful (and somehow we managed to transport it still intact).  I topped it with some crushed heath bar, and we would have had some diced cherries had I not forgotten them at home (my one actual regret!)  Nevertheless, the tart was bold enough to stand on its own, proudly proclaiming its appleness and showing off a crust that kept me coming back for more.  The dessert, combined with a Vouvray bubbly (NV Francois Pinon Brut, of NYT fame) was a solid outdoor sparking wine (not that I could drink the bubbly … but I’m told!).  I heard so many positive things that I bought another bottle!

In all, DeB was a great time.  We liked our food choices.  We liked our wine choices.  The “lows” of the evening were probably the lugging of our stuff to Logan Circle/Square and trying to manage a cracked cork without spilling red wine everywhere (I hope a’s official DeB attire is ok!).  The people around us were nice enough.  Fun was had by all.  Can’t wait for next year!

Written by afterdinnersneeze

31 August 2012 at 12:39am

w’s bash

leave a comment »

 t says:  w’s thoughtful and loving fiance threw her quite a party in celebration of a milestone in her career.  I have to admit that I was pretty tired that evening (i.e. I was working that weekend), so I wondered whether I could find a gracious way to bow out – sleep was very desirable.  Boy am I glad I did no such thing … cuz then I would have missed this:

Lord of the Flies, anyone?

w’s fiance wasn’t kidding when he said he would supply “lots of meat”.  g and I were thinking, “charcuterie platter?”  No – this was WAY better.  And it didn’t just have shock value – it was a damned tasty pig.  Super-succulent.  And it also had a gallon of what I can only imagine are pig drippings in case you wanted to have some jus on the side.  (Speaking of which: kp, did you freeze that stuff?).  This was perhaps one of the most brilliant moves I’ve ever seen at a potluck-y celebration – so much so that I will certainly steal it.  If anyone knows where the pig came from, comment on the bottom and I’ll add it.

There was a LOT of other food there – and it was all spectacular.  g whipped up her nana’s potato salad, which seemed like it had some pretty fervent supporters.  Stay tuned for a post in the recipe section for more details on how to make it.

And finally, there was a ton of great homemade desserts.  The one that caught my tongue the most was this one:

[a melting] key lime pie

It’s totally not fair to say that this was “the best” dessert – but I am a sucker for key lime (really – I love key lime pie) and I’m also the one behind the keyboard, so bam! I just did it.  It was made by an adsz-lurker (and I mean “lurker” as in “person who reads but doesn’t make their presence be known”, not “super-creeper-we-need-to-get-a-restraining-order”) who confesses that it was a particularly easy pie to make.  I don’t know if it was how refreshingly zipping it was in comparison to the unctuous pig I had just eaten?  Or maybe it was its light creaminess that I liked on a warm summer night?  Whatever it was – if she sends up the recipe, I’ll surely post it here.

Written by afterdinnersneeze

29 August 2012 at 8:18am

g’s mom conquers bacon-chocolate cupcakes!

with one comment

t says:  g and I visited her mom a few days ago, who proceeded to surprise us/me with cupcakes!  And not just any ol’ cupcaktes … bacon-chocolate cupcakes!

homemade bacon chocolate cupcakes

I think she said she was inspired by the latest donut post.  Behold the power of suggestion!

Now, I don’t care if people are now “over” bacon, because I’m sure not!  It’s no surprise then, that these were obviously awesome.  Maybe she’ll point to the recipe she used so that all of you can share in the bacony chocolatey goodness.  I recall her admitting that it wasn’t an easy recipe (requiring espresso, coffee, bacon, etc), but I feel like the steps were worth it, as these were probably the moist-est cupcakes I’ve ever had – blowing away anything from a box.  Furthermore, they survived for days in the fridge with losing only the slightest, if any, moisture (which, in retrospect, is actually kind of weird?! But why complain about not-rock-hard cupcakes?).  The bacon did get chewy by day 3-4, so I’m glad I employed the help of friends to consume them – people seemed more impressed with the cupcake than the bacon.  Oh well.  I liked ’em!

Great job g’s mom!

Written by afterdinnersneeze

25 April 2012 at 6:45pm

Crack Chex

leave a comment »

t says: a pointed out that perhaps I’ve been posting too much about desserts, accusing me of having a sweet tooth.  Well, it’s true.  I do have quite the sweet tooth, especially as stress levels rise (e.g. little is more comforting at midnight-1-2-am than a handful of Swedish Fish … or a Crunch bar … or  Twix).  Things have been more stressful recently, as exams approached, meaning that I have a few more posts about some sweet encounters coming up … sorry a.

The first is a recipe.  It’s not my recipe – and I’m not changing anything about it, so I’ll link you to the original: Crack Chex.  As you can see, it’s not actually called “Crack Chex” … but it should be.  Basically, you melt down chocolate, peanut butter, and butter … toss some cereal in it … and then toss with powdered sugar.  And that’s it.  The end result isn’t exactly “beautiful”, but it tastes awesome!

Crack Chex ain't pretty ... but you're not making it to look at it.

Here are some tips/tricks:

1)  Personally, I use dark chocolate chips – but you might have to cut back a little on how much you use because it can easily overwhelm peanut butter.

2)  As you can see in the pic, there are some other non-Chex shapes in there.  That’s because I replace some of the volume allotted to cereal with some trail mix and/or some of those mixes of dried fruit and nuts – it really punches up the eating experience with different textures and tastes.  I recommend this tactic because without this substitution, the flavors/textures might get a bit monotonous, meaning that you might actually be able to stop eating it at a certain point.  If you do it my way, you break up the monotony so you can easily polish off an entire bowl in a single movie (especially if you get one with dried fruit).  Oh wow.  I just thought that maybe I should do this to popcorn.  That sounds amazing.  I have to try it …

3)  There is genius in this recipe.  And it’s the powdered sugar.  The powdered sugar’s purpose is not just to add sugar – it’s to make it so that you can consume a chocolate-covered snack without getting chocolate all over your fingers.  And the powdered sugar usually sticks to the treat and not to your fingers (unless you’re one of those freaks with really warm hands).

4)  It’s gluten free!!!  So that means that just so long as you coat gluten-free snacks with this chocolate-peanut-butter-sugar concoction, you and your celiac disease suffering friends can enjoy a sinfully sugary snack together.  And the kingdom will rejoice.  Yay!  Ironically, I have no idea if Rice Chex itself is gluten free or not – so before you accidentally cause a lot of horrible GI distress upon your gluten-sensitive friends, check that first!!!

Written by afterdinnersneeze

27 March 2011 at 7:36pm