Frozen Peanut Butter Banana Treats

Hi friends. It’s been somewhat rainy and gray here but I’m sharing a summer treat anyway. This is one of my favorite easy snacks and childhood memories all rolled into one. I’m not sure how often we actually had these as kids, but I remember it being a lot and them being awesome. I still make them semi regularly since they keep in the freezer pretty well.

Frozen Peanut Butter Banana Treats {{Baking Bytes}}

Peanut butter mixed with honey makes for a sweet flavor without being terribly unhealthy. Plus bananas! Bananas are healthy. Graham crackers aren’t terrible for you, probably, so all in all it’s a pretty solid choice. Protein and fruit, can’t go wrong. The freezer makes these into a fabulous summer snack for a hot day when you don’t want ice cream. Or your parents won’t let you have ice cream, whatever the case may be.

Even though I set my own dessert rules now, I still like these as a healthier alternative without feeling like I’m depriving myself of deliciousness. Nice and cold on a hot day and perfect for satiating a sweet tooth. Yum.

Frozen Peanut Butter Banana Treats {{Baking Bytes}}

This is a super simple recipe so really there’s not much more to say…other than I suppose if you’re not a peanut butter fan (weirdo) you could use some other kind of nut butter, or I guess Nutella (gross) if you’re into that sort of thing. I typically use roughly a 1-to-1 ratio of peanut butter and honey but it doesn’t really matter that much so long as you end up with about a half cup total, otherwise you won’t have enough for all your crackers. My mom, for example, uses more like a 4-to-1 ratio, so really just go with whatever suits you.

Prepare for hot, lazy days and stick some of these in the freezer now, then later applaud yourself for being so forward-thinking.

Frozen Peanut Butter Banana Treats {{Baking Bytes}}

PS – If you think of a better name for these, let me know. I was not feeling creative.

Frozen Peanut Butter Banana Treats

Adapted from childhood
Makes about 8 treats

Ingredients

1 package (8-9 sheets) Graham crackers

1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup peanut butter

2 small (narrow) ripe bananas

Directions

  1. Carefully break Graham crackers into squares. I like to gently press a knife along the perforation to do this cleanly.
  2. Mix honey and peanut butter together until smooth. Feel free to adjust the proportions!
  3. Spread honey mixture on one side of all crackers.
  4. Slice bananas into approximately 1/4″ pieces.
  5. Top half of the crackers with banana slices and place another cracker on top (peanut butter side down, of course.)
  6. Carefully wrap each sandwich in aluminum foiland place in the freezer several hours, or overnight.2
  7. Enjoy straight out of the freezer on a hot day.

Notes

For my British friends, Digestives work great also. Since they are a little thicker, you may want to use more of the honey mixture per cracker biscuit.

Or use plastic wrap and put them all in a freezer Ziploc.

Choose Your Own Adventure Scones

Blackberry Dark Chocolate Chip Scones {{Baking Bytes}}Welcome to May, my lovely readers. Apologies for the April hiatus, I got busy and blah blah all the usual excuses. However, I’ve been working on some new recipes for the summer and I’m excited to share them with you over the coming months.

Raspberry White Chocolate Chip Scones {{Baking Bytes}}

In the meantime, I’ve been craving scones lately and wanted to get some berry action given the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having here in Montana. I hopped over to Pastry Affair since I was pretty sure she’d have a great recipe, and boy was I right. Incredibly moist, bursting with berries, and boasting the added delight of white chocolate chips, these scones were exactly what I was looking for. Perfect for dessert, breakfast, or snack, they’re delicious at any time of day. Serve them solo with coffee as the main event, or in conjunction with eggs and sausage for a fuller breakfast.

Blackberry Dark Chocolate Chip Scones {{Baking Bytes}}

As fragile as raspberries are, even my frozen ones became somewhat muddled in the dough, but I think this only adds to the aesthetic as well as resulting in a perfect raspberry flavor in every bite. (The lovely pink color would make them extra adorable for Valentine’s Day, if you’re in to that sort of thing.) The dough was annoyingly sticky, I’ll admit, but an extra hand washing is well worth it in the end. In fact, I enjoyed them so much that the next day I made another batch with blackberries and dark chocolate chips. I think they’d be awesome with many combinations of berries and baking chips, so play around with the flavors and report back with your favorites.

Blackberry Dark Chocolate Chip Scones {{Baking Bytes}}

Scones are something I never much enjoyed until I went to Scotland in 2009, and it was shortly after that when I found my go to recipe for cinnamon sugar scones. I love that recipe because it’s simple and super quick, but this one will definitely be added to the repertoire for a “berrylicious” alternative.

Raspberry White Chocolate Chip Scones {{Baking Bytes}}

As you are likely aware, Mother’s Day is this coming Sunday. As I eat these scones, and write this post, I think about my mom and how much she has molded me and helped me throughout my life. Even now, she graciously proofreads all my posts and offers her own opinions and tweaks when she tries the recipes. I am so grateful for her being such an amazing person in my life and I wish I could bring her some of these scones to start off a day of celebrating her. But since we’ll be about a thousand miles apart this weekend, I guess a phone call will have to do.

Blackberry Dark Chocolate Chip Scones {{Baking Bytes}}

Thanks Mom. =)

Raspberry White Chocolate Chip Scones {{Baking Bytes}}

Choose Your Own Adventure Scones

Borrowed from Pastry Affair
Makes 8 scones

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

6 Tbsp butter, softened

1 rounded cup frozen berries (do not thaw)1
1/2 cup baking chips (white chocolate, chocolate, etc)2

1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 large egg

raw or granulated sugar for topping

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with a silicon mat and lightly dust with flour. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Use your fingers to mix in butter until well distributed and texture is like fluffy but damp sand.
  4. Gently stir in berries and chips. Set aside.
  5. Whisk together remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Pour over dry mixture and gently mix until combined. You will likely need to use your hands and it will be very sticky – this is annoying, but normal and oh so worth it.
  6. On your lightly floured silicon mat, flatten dough into a circle about one inch thick. If you like, sprinkle on some raw sugar.
  7. Cut into eight wedges (I like to use a pizza cutter) and gently spread to at least one inch apart on the baking sheet using a spatula dipped in flour. Wipe up extraneous flour if there’s a lot of extra.
  8. Bake 25-30 minutes. Scones should no longer look wet and the bottoms will be lightly browned. Cool at least a few minutes before serving; they are also delightful at room temperature.
  9. Store covered but unsealed at room temperature. (If you seal them they will get sticky. I promise they will stay moist overnight. If you have pets or bugs you can cover them with a cloth or lid – just not anything airtight.)

Notes

Raspberries and blackberries have both been awesome. I cut some of the larger blackberries in half but that’s not strictly necessary. Blueberries or cranberries would also be great.

The full half cup makes the scones quite sweet, so feel free to use a smaller amount (or leave them out entirely) if you don’t want quite as much sugar.

Blueberry Boy Bait (two ways)

Spring has definitely sprung over here with a high of 72 yesterday (followed by a couple inches of snow this morning), and the warm weather has gotten me thinking about the berry pies and lemony goodness that become more popular in the coming season. I decided something blueberry was definitely in order and perused my bookmarks and Pinterest boards in hopes of seeing something that piqued my interest.

Blueberry Boy Bait {{Baking Bytes}}

It didn’t work (ha) but I did ultimately remember a fabulous blueberry dish I made at home several years ago called Blueberry Boy Bait. The name has always made me giggle and the dish is amazing. A quick Google search brought me right to the lovely post from Smitten Kitchen I so fondly recalled.

Before we get much further, please bear in mind there is absolutely nothing healthy about this. It’s cake. I know there’s no frosting, but it’s like 90% butter (slight exaggeration) and 100% delicious and you should definitely make some. Just know that this is not a health food, and if you’re looking for one of those you should bake some Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins instead.

Blueberry Boy Bait {{Baking Bytes}}

Still here? Excellent. Rich and buttery, fluffy and moist, brimming with blueberries, and topped with a cinnamon & sugar coating I always adore, it’s hard to have just one piece. After making it again, I’m honestly not sure why I waited so long and it will definitely be put in a more regular baking rotation. It pairs equally well with a cup of coffee for breakfast or snack, and a glass of milk for dessert. Or a handful straight from the cooling rack to your mouth because you “accidentally” didn’t grease the pan well enough and had to hide the evidence.

Blueberry Boy Bait {{Baking Bytes}}

The blueberries do always sink to the bottom for me, but I consider this a feature rather than a problem, as it results in a perfectly proportioned cake-to-blueberry ratio with every bite. The cake is somewhat fragile, so be careful removing it from the pan. If you’re concerned about presentation, you could bake them in a muffin tin with paper liners instead, but I have not personally tried this.

Blueberry Boy Bait - Lemon {{Baking Bytes}}

Since spring was in the air, I tried a lemony version as well. I definitely prefer the original, but this is a nice alternative if you’re in the mood for it.

Blueberry Boy Bait

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes 8×8″ dish

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar

1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

1 cup whole milk (2% worked great)

1/4 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (do not thaw)
1 Tbsp flour

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (do not thaw)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8×8″ baking dish and line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease the paper too.
  2. Add butter and sugars to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for about two minutes on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
  4. Add eggs to butter mixture one at a time, mixing until just incorporated and scraping the bowl between each one.
  5. Alternate adding flour (1/3 at a time) and milk, starting and ending with flour.
  6. Toss 1/4 cup blueberries with remaining one tablespoon flour and fold into batter. (It won’t look like enough, but I promise it doesn’t need more.)
  7. Spread into prepared pan and sprinkle additional 1/4 cup blueberries onto the batter. Mix together sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle about half over the top.
  8. Bake about 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the top doesn’t look super wet.
  9. Immediately sprinkle with additional cinnamon & sugar topping (optional but recommended). Cool at least 20 minutes in the pan before serving.
  10. Attempt to not eat the entire pan in one sitting, but fail deliciously.

Blueberry Boy Bait - Lemon {{Baking Bytes}}

Lemon Blueberry Boy Bait

Make as above except substitute 3 tablespoons of milk with lemon juice. Omit cinnamon sugar topping. Whisk 3/4 cup powdered sugar with 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice and use to lightly glaze cooled cake.

Mint Grasshopper Brownies

For my first two years of college I lived on campus, which meant living off dining hall food. For the most part this was just fine because we had unlimited eating and entries, and a pretty wide variety of things to eat. I’ll admit some things were less edible than others and the menu got very repetitive after a while, but overall it was great. There are definitely days where I wish someone else was in charge of what I eat for dinner. (Excepting dessert I am a pretty lazy cook, if you’re new here.)

Grasshopper Brownies {{Baking Bytes}}In any case, one thing they did great was dessert. In particular, mint brownies. These were hands down the favorite of M and he used to watch the menu for Mint Brownie Day (as he called it) so he could be sure to have as many as possible. I will admit they were quite delicious even though I’m not normally a fan of frosted brownies.

I have since tried several recipes in an attempt to recreate them, and while I’ve not been 100% successful, this recipe is pretty dang good. Chocolatey brownie, creamy mint, shiny ganache, and best of all: no melting anything on the stove. I’m very lazy when it comes to brownies because there’s really nothing that beats the Ghirardelli box mixes in taste, texture, or convenience. But I decided to do the from-scratch thing on a whim because it’s good to remind myself I can actually make brownies for real.

Grasshopper Brownies {{Baking Bytes}}The first recipe I tried was kind of a pain in the butt. All three pieces required melting chocolate and/or butter on the stove and, well, ain’t nobody got time for that. The mint filling was also a bit less dense than I was looking for so I decided to try a new recipe. (The brownie portion was, however, extremely delicious when frozen so if you’re in a mood for melting chocolate, head on over to Love and Olive Oil.)

Grasshopper Brownies {{Baking Bytes}}Two weeks later, after searching Pinterest high and low, I Frankensteined together my own recipe from three separate ones. Dense chocolatey brownie, creamy mint frosting, and that same shiny ganache come together in a delightful combination with no stove required. The lazy baker in me is thrilled about that last bit.

Below find the recipes for each layer with my adaptations. These freeze great so make a batch, pop in the freezer, and enjoy at your leisure. They are pretty rich so likely they’ll last you awhile, but I certainly won’t judge you if they don’t.

Grasshopper Brownies {{Baking Bytes}}Grasshopper Brownies

Adapted from Your Cup of Cake (brownie), How Sweet Eats (mint filling), and Love and Olive Oil (ganache)
Makes 16 brownies (8×8 pan)

Ingredients

Brownies
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

Mint Filling
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 Tbsp Crème de menthe

Chocolate Ganache
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup unsalted butter

Directions

  1. For the brownies: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8×8″ pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Combine butter, sugar, cocoa, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir together on low until well combined.
  3. Add eggs one at a time and mix well after each one. Mixture should be pretty smooth.
  4. Add flour and salt and mix until just incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips, if desired.
  5. Spread evenly into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes, checking a few minutes early to make sure they don’t over bake. A toothpick should come out a teensy bit wet.
  6. Let brownies cool completely before frosting.
  7. For the mint filling: In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla. Mix until completely combined and fluffy.
  8. Add desired amount of Creme de menthe, mixing well on high speed each time. Filling should be fluffy and somewhat lightened in color when it’s ready (this will take a minute or two).
  9. Spread on top of cooled brownies and place in the freezer while you make the chocolate ganache.
  10. For the ganache: Put chocolate chips and butter in a microwave-safe bowl, heat for 30 seconds, stir, and repeat 3x or until mixture is completely smooth.
  11. Pour chocolate topping over the mint frosting and gently tilt the dish to coat entirely. Let sit on the counter (or in the freezer) until chocolate has set. Cut and serve immediately or cover and return to the freezer for storage.
  12. For pretty slices: Gently cut forward and back until you are through the ganache, then press firmly down, wiping off the knife if anything sticks to it. This will prevent the chocolate from cracking. Photography tip: Pick up from the sides to avoid fingerprints.

Chocolate Irish Car Bomb Sundae

Oh yeah, you read that title right. Irish Car Bomb Sundae. Mixing alcohol and ice cream like a pro. If you’ve been reading awhile, you know that alcoholic ice cream isn’t a new thing here (Baileys and chocolate ‎Kahlúa have both made appearances) but this, this takes it to a whole new level. Note: if you don’t want the whole back story, skip the next four paragraphs.

Whilst planning my baking adventures Sunday morning, I realized we were getting quite close to St. Patrick’s Day. And due to this planning fail, I also realized yesterday was my last usual posting day before the holiday. The mint brownies I had planned would work, true, but I wanted something a bit more festive, a bit less overdone. In my head, Guinness is the most quintessential St. Patty’s Day beverage, making the Irish Car Bomb the most quintessential (although not very politically correct) cocktail of the day. Personally I’m not a fan of Guinness, and anything that curdles while you’re drinking just sounds like a terrible idea, but I’d seen ICB-inspired desserts before that sounded awesome, like cake and donuts. That’s when it hit me: ice cream!

Guinness Chocolate Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Two years ago a delightful coworker and friend made the team Guinness chocolate milkshakes. (At work. Before 11am. It was awesome.) Even as someone who doesn’t care for Guinness, I found them delicious. And so, the chocolate ICB sundae began to take shape. Guinness chocolate ice cream, of course, Baileys whipped cream, of course, but how to work in the whiskey? It was a terrible dilemma to be sure. Coincidentally, an entirely different friend posted recently about making whiskey dulce de leche. Whiskey caramel it is!

Whiskey Caramel Sauce {{Baking Bytes}}

Unfortunately, it was after 11am on Sunday when I had this revelation and so there was not enough time to create this concoction before my usual Monday post schedule. Be that as it may, I made the brownies, walked to the store for Guinness (twice, due to forgetting my ID the first time), and began the journey towards bliss.

Modifying my chocolate ice cream recipe was easy enough, so I got that into the freezer between brownie layers and cleaning and searching for whiskey caramel recipes. Having never actually made caramel before I was a bit nervous, but figured now was as good a time as any to give it a try. After finding a recipe and checking my cupboards for the ingredients (we only had Scottish whisky but…shhh. I’m sorry Colby.), I filed it away to make the next day. Normally I rarely do blog things after work, because I’m tired and hungry and just generally more of a mid-afternoon baker. However, my sheer excitement about this recipe resulted not only in making the remaining layers, but photographing everything and writing this post all in the same evening. Phew. But it’s worth it, oh so worth it.

Chocolate Irish Car Bomb Sundae {{Baking Bytes}}

Smooth and creamy chocolate ice cream accented by the unmistakable flavor of Guinness beer, topped with a relatively light Baileys whipped cream, and drizzled with a caramel brilliantly highlighted with whiskey. None of the flavors are individually overwhelming and they all combine together in sundae perfection. Not a dessert for the fainthearted, a small portion goes a long way. I wouldn’t personally eat the amount shown in my photos, for what it’s worth.

All three recipes are easy-peasy and come together quickly, minus chilling time. Very beginner friendly but fun for an experienced cook as well, and also extremely delicious. Which, let’s face it, that’s really the important aspect here. They are also easy to adjust to taste. Feel free to adjust the cocoa powder or Guinness a bit, and use more or less Baileys in the whipped cream. I can’t vouch for how adjusting the whiskey in the caramel would work, but I expect it would be just fine to add a little more or less. It is not super pronounced, which I felt was perfect. I made only a half batch of the original caramel recipe, so double mine if you want lots of leftovers or you’re feeding a crowd.

Chocolate Irish Car Bomb Sundae {{Baking Bytes}}

Need I say more? Really, the photos speak for themselves. I’m not even sure why you’re still reading instead of out shopping for ingredients.

Chocolate Irish Car Bomb Sundae {{Baking Bytes}}

If you’re looking to impress yourself (or I guess some other people) for a St. Patrick’s Day party this year, look no further. Below, find the recipes for Guinness chocolate ice cream, Baileys whipped cream, whiskey caramel sauce, and instructions for the Irish Car Bomb sundae. Make one, make them all. Anything here is a great addition to any evening, but the trifecta is sure to wow.

And if you’re curious, the mint brownies will be up here next Monday, March 16th.

Guinness Chocolate Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Guinness Chocolate Ice Cream

Makes about 5 cups

Ingredients

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup Guinness beer
1/2 cup half & half
1 cup sugar
1/4 – 1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until well combined and smooth.
  2. Place mixture in the fridge until completely chilled (temp should be less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.)
  3. Chill a glass or other freezer-safe, lidded bowl in the freezer while you churn the ice cream according to your ice cream maker’s directions.
  4. Transfer ice cream to bowl and return to the freezer for at least 4 hours before serving. (Freezer time is not optional with this recipe.)

Baileys Whipped Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Baileys Whipped Cream

Adapted from The Cupcake Project
Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp Baileys Irish cream liqueur

Directions

  1. Using an electric mixer (whisk attachment for a stand mixer) beat the cream and sugar until very soft peaks form.
  2. Gently stir in the Baileys until just incorporated.
  3. Continue beating the cream until soft-medium peaks form (or whatever consistency you like).
  4. Serve immediately, storing leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge.

Whiskey Caramel Sauce {{Baking Bytes}}

Whiskey Caramel Sauce

Borrowed from Epicurious
Makes about 1/2 cup

Ingredients

1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp water

3 Tbsp Irish whiskey
2 Tbsp heavy cream
1/8 tsp salt

Directions

  1. In a small or medium heavy saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.
  2. Boil without stirring until syrup begins to look golden, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Continue to boil, stirring occasionally, until color deepens to a rich caramel color. (It make crystallize somewhat during steps 2-3, that’s normal.)
  4. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients. Mixture will splatter so be careful! If the caramel has hardened, return to heat briefly.
  5. Stir caramel until it is smooth and of even color, allowing to cool for a few minutes before serving. Store any leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge and reheat in the microwave in very small time increments – it is quick to boil over.

Chocolate Irish Car Bomb Sundae {{Baking Bytes}}

Chocolate Irish Car Bomb Sundae

Ingredients

Guinness Chocolate Ice Cream
Baileys Whipped Cream
Whiskey Caramel Sauce

Directions

  1. Swirl caramel sauce on the inside of a glass or bowl. (optional)
  2. Scoop in desired amount of ice cream, top with whipped cream, and swirl additional caramel sauce over the whole shebang.
  3. Enjoy immediately and try not to enter a sugar coma.