Monday, April 16, 2012

The Tax Refund Party: Bananas Foster Cookies

All good bakeathons must come in threes (See Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter and Housewarming). For my final sugary trick, I decided to attempt to transform a typical cookie into a thrilling homage to the greatest thing to come out of New Orleans aside from Bounce Rap- Bananas Foster (I must figure out how to make a bounce rap dessert or I will consider my life a failure.). Previously, I converted the brown sugar and cinnamon packed alcoholic banana dessert into cupcakes and créme brûlée, so really cookies were the final frontier (Ok. that and pie!). Would my guests approve of my take on a beloved treat, or would they throw their plates on the ground in protest?

Bananas Foster Cookies
Servings: 12
Time: 35 minutes (including making caramel)

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 tbsp milk
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp bourbon
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Vanilla bean ice cream
Bourbon caramel sauce (recipe follows)

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F.
  2. Cream the butter and sugars together in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
  3. Mix in the bananas until well incorporated then add the milk, vanilla and bourbon.
  4. Add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon and blend well. Note: the banana will dull the cinnamon flavor somewhat, so you might want to add more to balance it out.
  5. Place tbsp sized amounts of batter on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 10-14 minutes or until the bottoms start to lightly brown.
  6. Remove from the oven and let rest on the baking sheet for two minutes then cool them on wire racks.
  7. Prior to serving, heat up in a microwave (10-15 seconds) then top with a scoop of ice cream and a drizzle of bourbon caramel.
The hardest part about making banana cookies is always getting the texture right. I decided to use my snickerdoodle with some slight alterations in hopes that it would hit that perfect crispy texture I was looking for. In order to do this, I added some bourbon and replaced sour cream with bananas while relying on the brown sugar and cinnamon goodness that already existed in the cookies. Opening the oven resulted in the most ridiculously amazing aroma as the bananas and bourbon immediately lit up my nose. The cookie itself had an outstanding banana and cinnamon flavor, but wasn't crispy like I had hoped it would be (one day I'll figure this banana thing out). This shortcoming actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the soft cookie served to replicate the delicate banana from a traditional bananas foster dessert.

Bourbon Caramel Sauce
Servings: More than enough for double the cookies
Time: 15 minutes

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup bourbon

The portion of this charred on my stove is not as appetizing looking (nor does it smell as amazing).
  1. Bring the sugar, water and corn syrup to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Once the sugar is dissolved, periodically swirl (but do not stir) until an amber color forms (about 10 minutes).
  2. Remove from heat and carefully stir in the cream in a slow, steady stream (be careful a lot of steam will be given off). 
  3. Let cool for 1 minute then stir in the bourbon. 
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook over moderate heat for 1 minute while stirring.
  5. Freak out that the mixture has boiled over and is now sticking to your stovetop. Spend the next 30 minutes frantically trying and failing to remove it.
  6. Breathe a sigh of relief when you realize it still tastes quite delicious (what's in the pot not what's stuck to the stove. That just tastes kind of burnt.).
  7. Transfer the sauce to a bowl. When ready to serve, you can heat it up by microwaving it over medium power in 30 second increments.
The caramel sauce was far more liquidy than I would have imagined when I think of caramel, but it worked nicely for a lighter finish to the dessert than a thick, super-rich caramel would have. The bourbon really comes through to produce a sauce that could easy go on other desserts like bread pudding.
Cafe TH owner, Minh, eats dessert like he cooks (read: like a total boss). Whoopie pies and bananas foster cookies at the same time!
What started out as a wild shot in the dark turned into one fantastic dish that came closer to my favorite New Orleans dessert than I ever could have imagined. The hot, cold, hot combination of the cookie, ice cream and bourbon caramel was something that would have easily fit in at an actual restaurant (and produced one of my favorite pictures yet. Although, I think a banana chip garnish would make it even more awesome.). The real star of this decadent cookie was the bourbon/vanilla combo that permeated throughout each component. The true entertainment, however, came from me turning super serious as I tried to prep each dessert when requested by my guests. Presentation was key, and I was determined not to fall short (as disappointment would likely lead to my banishment from Cafe TH and subsequently starving to death). I am extremely proud of how this dessert turned out, and it was another fantastic and unique addition to go along with the Fiery Red Hot Red Velvet Cupcakes and Strawberry Whoopie Pies. Fortunately, all the calories were completely negated by the copious amounts of Kinect dancing we did at the party (Yup, I'm pretty sure that's how nutrition works.).

1 comment:

  1. Terry, you should be proud because they were delicious! I don't think that starving from Cafe TH will ever be an issue! Minh