I’ve finally settled into summer (and have let go of the maybe irrational fear that it is going to snow again). And it’s been busy. Every day my five year old asks me “What are we doing today?” and it is my job to come up with an answer that forms warm childhood memories while being good for her and educational. This is no small feat.
So it has taken me all week to make some new popsicles for my little blog here. And since last week I posted cucumber popsicles, I thought I’d go with something a little more crowd (and kid) friendly today. Because while frozen cucumber concoctions may not be everyone’s taste, chocolate sure is (and I’m very skeptical of people who claim it isn’t). I switched up half of the regular white sugar in this recipe for some dark brown sugar. I always like how brown sugar pairs with chocolate and gives it a little depth. These fudgsicles have a richness I don’t remember from the yellow box version i had as a kid, but it has been a while.
And on the subject of warm childhood memories, do you have any rituals/traditions from childhood you loved? What traditions would you recommend?
In a small saucepan, melt chocolate chips over low heat, stirring constantly. Add sugar, brown sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, whole milk, and salt. Bring heat up to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture combines and thickens, 5 to 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Allow chocolate mixture to cool a bit, then pour into your popsicle molds. Freeze for 1 hour, then add popsicle sticks. Freeze completely. Release popsicle from mold by running mold under hot water briefly.
Summertime for me is about indulgence, and this summer is no exception so far. I’ve eaten dozen of hot dogs, skipped housework to go to the beach, thieves could have made off with my yoga mat for all I know… Lately anytime I have a little angel/devil debate going on in my head, you should bet on the devil. It’s not even a fair fight.
In an attempt to balance my numerous sins, I have been making-and eating-a lot of fruit popsicles (you may have noticed). They feel like a treat when I’m slurping on them late at night while binge watching True Blood (another indulgence), but are actually fairly healthy. They tip way more towards the angel than devil side of the scale. These cucumber lime popsicles have a little more sugar than I normally put in popsicles since cucumbers are not as naturally sweet as, say, watermelon. And they do freeze to a grinch-y green color, which made my daughter suspicious. And the flavor is unusual. But after 3 licks I got really into them. So don’t let vegetables in your popsicles scare you off.
Cut cucumber into 1″ slices. Squeeze limes for juice. Put sliced cucumbers, lime juice, sugar and water into a blender and puree. Strain popsicle mixture through a fine mesh sieve and pour into popsicle molds. Let freeze 1 hour, then insert popsicle sticks. Freeze completely, then run mold under hot water briefly to release popsicles.
Shelley, from C Mom Cook is completely responsible for me posting cinnamon buns on the internet late at night. She is the our lovely hostess for June’s Daring Bakers’ challenge. She challenged us to cinnamon rolls (and suggested putting roasted bananas in the filling. The woman’s a genius).
The baking at night is my thing. With a husband that works nights, and a kid I usually get tucked away by nine, that leaves me with several hours of blissfully quiet “me” time. It would be a shame to waste it on television. Plus, solitude, or at least quiet, is required when you start baking beyond the box. At least for me. And the only time that happens at my house is at night.
Cinnamon buns have the added perk of being able to be made in stages. So you can proof your dough, make your filling, roll the whole thing together, slice them and stick them in the pan. Then pop the pan in the fridge til morning. Wake up in the morning, stick the pan in the oven, and by the time you’ve finished your second cup of coffee they’ll be ready to eat (make the glaze the night before to, and all you have to do is stir and pour). Breakfast genius-ness.
roasted banana pecan cinnamon buns
1 c. whole milk
1/3 c. sugar
5 tbl. unsalted butter
1 tbl. active dry yeast
4 c. (480 g.) flour, plus 1 c. if needed, plus extra for sprinkling counter top
1/2 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
2 tbl. vegetable oil
for roasted bananas:
3 very ripe bananas
2 tbl. brown sugar
2 tbl. butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 c. brown sugar
3/4 tsp. sugar
3/4 c. chopped pecans
4 tbl. unsalted butter, very softened
1 c. confectioner’s sugar, sifted
2-6 tbl. whole milk
Begin by making the dough. Combine milk, sugar, and butter in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 -10 minutes (you want your mixture to be 110-115°). Stir in yeast and let sit for 5 minutes until it gets foamy.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine flour and salt. Add in eggs, vegetable oil and yeast mixture. Using a dough hook, mix on low speed until dough starts to come together. Turn speed up to medium and mix for 5-7 minutes until dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl. If dough doesn’t pull away from bowl after first 2 minutes, slowly add more flour (up to 1 cup) until it does. (to mix dough by hand, combine all ingredients in a bowl, then turn out dough onto floured surface and knead for 10 minutes by hand).
Spray a large bowl lightly with non stick cooking spray, then turn out dough into bowl. Lightly coat a piece of plastic wrap with spray, then place on the surface of the dough. Allow dough to rise in a draft free spot for 1 hour, or until it doubles in size.
While dough is rising, make the roasted bananas. Preheat oven to 400°. Cut bananas into 1″ chunks and place in a baking dish. Sprinkle brown sugar on top of bananas and sprinkle butter pieces on top. Bake for 40 minutes, stirring after the first 20 minutes in the oven. Remove from oven and allow to cool a bit, then mash bananas with a potato masher. Mix together with brown sugar, white sugar, and cinnamon.
Once your dough and bananas are ready, use your hands to gently deflate the dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and use a rolling pin to shape into a rectangle. Spread softened butter on the dough, leaving a 1″ edge all around the dough. Spread banana mixture on top of the butter. Sprinkle pecans on top.
Starting at one long end, roll dough into a log. Cut log into 12 pieces and place pieces, cut side up, into a 9 x 13 baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes (or let rest overnight in the refrigerator. Take out of fridge 30 minutes before baking in the morning to come to room temperature).
Turn oven to 375°. Bake cinnamon buns for 25-30 minutes. Take from oven and let cool a bit before you make the glaze.
To make the glaze, whisk confectioner’s sugar and 2 tbl. of milk together in a medium bowl. Gradually add more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it is smooth and easily pourable. Pour over top of cinnamon buns in the pan. Remove buns from pan. Eat.
This is me. I don't usually look like this. I'm usually in yoga pants covered in boogies and chocolate. If you want to contact me, send an email to krista(at)eatknitanddiy(dot)com