“Breakfast for Dessert” Sundae

It’s breakfast for dessert (sort of); it’s golden, caramelized bananas; it’s crunchy-sweet-salty nuggets of yum.  That’s what happens when your sweet tooth kicks in and you have a bag of honey-caramel krispies staring back at you. Most of the krispies made it to an ice cream social at 18 Reasons as a BYOT (bring your own topping ), but we strategically made sure to keep some “leftovers” around. And what didn’t end up being eaten in sneaky handfuls by every member of my family, ended up on these totally accidental, breakfast-inspired sundaes.  As for the bananas… my family lives by the rule that “everything is better with caramelized bananas”. I think we’ll put that one on a t-shirt!

In case you have any shred of doubt left, Luca’s happy face will tell you everything you need to know. Make this sundae!!

Honey-Caramel Rice Krispies

These will keep for a week in a tightly sealed container. In a pinch, I think you just might be able to get away with plain old rice krispies  right out of the box in place of these fancy honey-caramel ones. Or you could break up up some rice krispy treats next time you have some at hand. 

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 TBL unsalted butter
  • 3 TBL honey
  • big pinch of salt.
  • 1 3/4 rice krispies
  1. In a pan, combine sugar, butter, honey and salt. Give it a stir and then turn on the heat to medium. The trick from here is to not give into the temptation to stir the caramel as it’s melting. You can swirl the pan, but don’t stir with a spoon or your caramel can sieze up and crystallize. Don’t stir!
  2. You’ll see the butter and sugar melt and then start to turn golden and eventually amber. It takes some time (~20 minutes) so be patient.
  3. When you’ve achieved a beautiful caramel color, immediately remove from heat and drizzle the caramel over the rice krispies. Toss well with a spoon (use caution, it will be very hot so this is not a good project for kids). Spread the caramel on the krispies on a lightly greased cookie sheet (or on top of a silicone baking mat). When cool break apart.

Caramelized Bananas

  • Slice peeled bananas into quarters. Sprinkle the cut sides lightly with sugar.
  • Lightly butter a skillet and add the sugared bananas, cut side down. On medium-high heat, cook the bananas to warm them and caramelize the bottoms This should take about 5 minutes. And there’s no need to flip the bananas at all, just cook on the cut side.
  • The sugar can go from a lovely caramel to burned rather quickly, so check often by gently lifting a corner of a banana to see how they are coming along. They are perfect when their undersides turn a deep golden brown.

Clearly Luca is not the only ice cream fiend around here. Check out some of our other favorite ice cream delights:

New Year’s Eve Cake: Tartine’s Devil’s Food Cake with Caramel and Ganache

Happy 2011!

A little serendipity brought us a last minute dinner invitation and a babysitter for New Year’s Eve, so off we went for a grown-up dinner complete with fine china, wine and champagne. What a treat! No better excuse to make this Devil’s Food Cake from the Tartine cookbook (Tartine is a fabulous bakery here in San Francisco’s Mission District). If you haven’t haven’t seen it, this cookbook is absolutely drool-worthy. It’s got everything from pastry and dessert basics to breakfast recipes, tarts, cakes, creamy desserts and cookies. Some of the recipes may seem a bit involved at first glance, but they are well-written and surprisingly easy to follow. I can personally vouch for the quiche recipe — it’s outstanding. Best of all, Elizabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson share many techniques throughout the book that will improve your baking even beyond this set of recipes.

I’ve had my eye on the Devil’s Food Cake recipe for about a year, but no occasion to make it. The batter is velvety and the cake is filled with caramel sauce and a touch of bittersweet chocolate ganache. The whole thing is frosted with more ganache and then covered with cake crumbs that you make with your cake trimmings. As a special touch, I added a little edible gold (it was New Year’s Eve afterall!). I think the cake would be equally as good, and a touch less rich, with a just a simple sprinkling of powdered sugar and a dallop of vanilla whipped cream or ice cream.

You can make the caramel sauce and ganache while the cake bakes, so it comes together reasonably quickly, but you’ll want to set aside the better part of an afternoon to make it from start to finish. It’s best served at room temperature and covered with ganache, will hold for several days which makes it a good choice for a fancy party.

I used a technique to cut the layers which I remember seeing on Alton Brown’s show. He actually used a saw blade and some trim molding from the hardware store as a cutting guide. I used a long carving knife and one of my son’s blocks which happened to be the perfect size. It worked like a charm for getting nice even layers. I kept the knife flat on the block to keep it level and just kept cutting from the edge to the center until I had worked my way all around the cake. Easy peasy.

The dinner was lovely, the company great and the cake was the perfect end to the evening. Anyone who loves to dessert, definitely needs to check out this cookbook and better yet, visit the bakery next time you’re in San Francisco. The lines can be long (and the calorie count high!) but you’re sure to savor something memorable.

Here’s to a healthy, happy…. and yummy 2011 for us all!

But first, I think I’ll sneak a piece of  cake for my New Year’s Day breakfast. 🙂

[Photo of Tartine by tablehooper.net, Flickr Commons]