Homemade Banana Bread

I have a really yummy banana bread recipe I posted back in 2014 that I made up one night before bed by looking at 3 or 4 old 'grandma' recipes and doing what feel right with those as the basis for my brainstorm.  (http://www.housewifebarbie.com/2014/09/)  This post is really just a "oh yeah" post for anyone who has bananas to use up - just make banana bread!  If you don't want to eat it now, just wrap it in plastic wrap and then foil and toss it into your freeze until you want to defrost and serve it.

Banana Bread

4 ripe bananas
1 c sugar or equivalent sweetener
1/2 c applesauce of choice
2 eggs
1 t baking soda
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
1 t vanilla
2 c flour
*optional:  chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees while you mash the bananas in a bowl with a mixer.  Stir in the sugar and let it stand for 15 minutes.  Add the applesauce and eggs.  Beat. Add the rest of the ingredients and pour into a 9X5" greased loaf pan.  Bake 45-55 minutes until the toothpick or sharp knife test into the center comes out clean.  Let it stand for 10 minutes in the pan before you remove and let cool completely.

OPTIONAL:  Nuts.  I love adding chopped walnuts in my banana bread - I have family members who hate nuts in theirs.  I make both.  If you add 1/2 cup or so of chopped nuts, be sure to sprinkle extra on top so you can tell which loaves have nuts and which don't.

You might also be interested in this related links to pans available through Amazon;

Wilton Perfect Results Large Nonstick Loaf Pan, 9.25 by 5.25-Inch
Farberware Nonstick Bakeware Bread and Meat Loaf Pan Set, 2-Piece, Gray
Rachael Ray Oven Lovin' Non-Stick Bakeware 9" x 5" Loaf Pan, Orange


Homemade Pudding Pops - Chocolate and Vanilla

I happen to be the very proud owner of vintage Tupperware popcicle molds - the exact ones my Mother owned back in the early 1970's.  But when I was shopping at my local Walmart a few weeks ago I came across these primary colored ice pop molds that were on clearance.  For a quarter (yes, a quarter!) I picked up 4 of them.

I wasn't in the mood for popcicles and we didn't have any 'littles' visiting us any time soon so I decided to make pudding pops as that was something I knew both my husband and I would eat!  We are old enough to recall the awesome Jello Pudding Pops of the 80's but obviously a copy-cat recipe of those would be very difficult to make.  In addition to that, we normally don't eat sugar so I wanted to make a sugar free version.

In the end, I used a cook-n-serve package of chocolate pudding; made with almond milk and I made homemade vanilla pudding from scratch.  I've made 'pudding pops' in the past using regular milk and no gelatin; but they were too icy and the water in the milk made them almost like a milk popcicle (yuck) so this time the almond milk and heavy cream, along with some unflavored gelatin, gave it a much creamier texture.

I'm assuming you can use instant pudding - I just don't care for the taste of it.  Also - feel free to use regular with-sugar pudding and use evaporated milk instead of almond milk/cream.

Pudding Pops

1 package cook and serve chocolate pudding
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (unflavored or vanilla)
1 cup evaporated milk, half and half or heavy cream
1 teaspoons vanilla (freezing the pops mellows the vanilla flavoring so I like to add a bit extra)
1 pkg. unflavored gelatin with a couple tablespoons of cold water to soften it

Sprinkle the dry unflavored gelatin over a couple tablespoons cold water.  Let it set to soften a couple minutes.  Mix the pudding mix according to directions but use a mixture of almond milk and heavy cream or half and half.  You can also use evaporated milk (this is the the kind without water in it; NOT the same as sweetened condensed milk). Whisk in the gelatin mixture and cook over medium heat according to directions on the pudding package.  Let it cool for 5-10 minutes while you get the molds ready.  Pour into the molds and freeze for 10-12 hours as the pudding mixture is so warm it will take longer to cool then freeze.  If you opt to use instant, it should freeze in 3-4 hours instead.

For the Vanilla versions I simply made homemade vanilla pudding, added the gelatin and repeated the instructions above by pouring and freezing.

1 c half and half or cream
1 c unsweetened almond milk
1/2 c natural granulated sweetener
2 t unflavored gelatin
3 egg yolks
3 T butter - real
4 t vanilla extract

Sprinkle the dry gelatin over a couple tablespoons of water or half and half.  Let it set. Combine the sweetener and milk(s) of choice in a pan on the stove.  Cook over medium heat until the sweetener is dissolved.  Beat the egg yolks in a bowl and slowly drizzle in about a cup of the hot milk(s) mixture in while whisking.  As soon as it's incorporated, pour this back into the pan with the milk/sweeteners.  Whisk in the gelatin and the vanilla.  After a couple minutes of cooking and whisking; Turn off the heat, add the butter.  Let this cool for 5-10 minutes while you get the molds ready.  When it's cooled a bit, pour and deep freeze for 10-12 hours.

Run hot water over the pop-ice molds for a minute to loosen the pudding pop from the mold so it slides out easily.

You might also be interested in these related products available through Amazon links;

Ozera Reusable Popsicle Molds Ice Pop Molds Maker - Set of 6 - With Silicone Funnel & Cleaning Brush - Green
Norpro Frozen Ice Pop Maker with 24 Wooden Sticks
Zoku Classic Pop Molds, 6 Easy-release Popsicle Molds With Sticks and Drip-guards, BPA-free
Popsicle Molds Set - BPA Free - 6 Ice Pop Makers + Silicone Funnel + Cleaning Brush + Ice Cream Recipes E-book - by Lebice


Chocolate Chip Cookie Stuffed Oreo Cookies - Two Cookies in One

I decided to make Mr. Husband homemade chocolate chip cookies sandwiched between an Oreo using the similar version of a sugar free chocolate sandwich cookies and natural sweeteners instead of the full sugar versions.

Guess what?  The two companies that used to make sugar free versions of an Oreo (chocolate sandwich cookies), no longer make them!  

My plans of making these with natural non-sugar sweeteners and sugar free versions of the Oreos; all those plans went out the window so in the end, regular Oreos were used.  I bought two packages; the lowest sugar count with a flavor I thought would go with chocolate chip cookies was the Oreo Peanut Butter flavor with 10 grams of sugar.  I went ahead and bought a package of regular as well (because it was a 2 for deal) had 13 grams of sugar.  Ouch!  But because I only buy Oreos about every 7 years, it was a splurge I don't have to feel too bad about.

I used my favorite homemade chocolate chip cookie dough, added a couple tablespoons peanut butter powder since I was going to use peanut butter Oreos.  In the end I used both flavors of Oreos.  If you don't want to use my chocolate chip cookie recipe, use whichever you wish but keep in mind it has to be a recipe that doesn't flatten out to a skinny, flat cookie.  You want one that has the correct amounts of brown sugar and flour or calls for a package of dry pudding mix in it (the starches help it stay thick and cake like).

Because I want to share any helpful hints I can I want to tell you that after I added peanut butter powder to my dough, I worried I needed just a touch more brown sugar to make up for the dry/unsweetened addition.  I added about 1/4 cup more brown sugar and that addition completely threw my tried-and-true chocolate chip cookie dough 'off' and the first batch flattened out like they never, ever do.  I added more flour to the rest of the dough in the bowl which helped.  Lesson learned; don't have too much sugar or the cookies will spread out and flatten too much and the Oreo sandwiching them is useless and looks silly. 

The peanut butter powder was NOT necessary or important; it's just an addition I made as I was planning to use Peanut Butter Oreos.

Chocolate Chip Stuffed Oreo Cookies

1/2 c butter
1 c packed brown sugar
3 T white sugar
1 large egg
2 t vanilla
1 3/4 c a/p flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
8 oz chocolate chips
1 package Oreos of your choice

In a bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugars until well blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. In another bowl, mix flour, baking soda, powder, and salt. Stir or beat into butter mixture until well incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips.

Carefully twist the sandwich cookies apart.  Use a scoop or spoon to scoop a mound of dough out and place it between the 2 cookies.  Gently place the two cookies back together, sandwiching in the dough and press to hold it in place.  I found the Oreos made today are oddly fragile.  Just gently twisting them and pulling them apart was enough to crack or break almost half of them.  Try NOT to crack them because it will ruin your final cookie.  See the notes below on what your cookies will look like if you accidentally crack or break them while pulling them apart. Only use whole cookies if you need them to look 'pretty'.

Bake 3 inches apart at 375° until cookies are lightly browned, about 12 minutes.  Bake them about 1-2 minutes longer if you think they may still be too soft in the center.  Let cook 2-3 minutes on the baking sheet before moving them to finish cooling on racks.

Sandwich chocolate chip cookie dough between an Oreo.

Ready for the oven.  Note I baked some on parchment first, but the rest were baked on the cookie sheet without parchment - which I liked better as it made the bottoms just a little more crisp.  Both worked.  Use what you wish.

In hindsight, I wish I had not added the extra brown sugar as it changed the final cookie. The ones I added more flour to make up for my sugar addition to turned out thicker and held together nicer.



Just gently twisting the cookie apart often caused it to crack.  I assumed it should be 'fine' and used many of them anyway.  I want to add these two photos to show you what happens to the finished cookie!  They still taste perfect, but if you want them to be 'pretty', don't use the cookies that break or crack. 

A cracked cookie......                                                                                 Bakes 'apart' and looks a bit goofy.

Sugar Free Cookies and Chocolate Chips:

You can usually find sugar free chocolate chips locally if you look hard enough.  My Publix does NOT carry them and out of the two Walmart Groceries near me only ONE of them carries them; the other does not.  But you can get them online if you wish.

Sugar free chocolate chips

Also, I did find these online on Amazon this morning when making this post - as Murray's no longer makes the sugar free versions (and believe it or not, the OREO brand made sugar free BRIEFLY a few years ago - but then stopped.) I've NEVER TRIED THIS ONE - but am posting it just in case it's important to someone else to try them.

ProtiWise - High Protein Diet Snack | Chocolate Sandwich Cookies | Low Calories, Low Fat, Sugar Free (14/Box)

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