this weekend was bananas. b! a! n! a! nas! ok, sorry. a little ode to gwen stefani. i'm not a fan of bananas. if, and i stress if, i eat one, it has to be at my definition of perfectly ripe. it can't have an ounce of green on it and if there is brown on it, lightly speckled will only do. it's not worth the hassle to try and find that perfect banana. however, my husband and son, are completely different stories. my husband will only eat banana pancakes and will eat banana breads, banana muffins, banana cookies (are there such things), by the bucket loads. my 17 month old son, has a morning routine where he walks straight into the kitchen, points to the corner where our fruit basket sits and says, "nanana, nanana, nanana" (you get my drift), until i pick the banana out of the basket and peel it for him. in which he then tries to shove the whole thing into his mouth. the rest of the day, he wanders into the kitchen, and the whole scenario repeats itself again.....
needless to say, i buy bananas in bulk. whenever i'm at the store, i pick up a bunch. i can't keep them in stock in my house. this past week, though, the bunch that i bought seemed to ripen really quickly. they were solid brown before i knew it. what do i do with all these bananas? wait a few more days until the weekend and make banana pancakes for the boys? i can't, the smell of overly ripe bananas makes me gag. another loaf of banana bread? nah. seems to elementary. a banana cake? hmmm, now we're getting somewhere. banana cheesecake? bingo! i may not be a fan of bananas, but the one thing i am a fan of, is cheesecake!
i instantly googled banana cheesecake recipes and stumbled across a version of the one below from one of my favorite food blogs, vanilla sugar blog. it called for a topping of caramel rum sauce, which sounds amazing, but i just didn't have the time to make it. instead i bought the caramel sauce for sundaes and drizzled that on top. it was fabulous. my father in law, who is very particular about "his cheesecake" told me i should package it up and sell it.
mama says: also bought in bulk in my house are graham crackers for my son. instead of using graham cracker crumbs, i coarsely ground whole graham crackers. the thick chunks of graham crackers mixed in with some fine crumbs was divine.
along with the store bought caramel sauce, i cut a banana in thick chunks and placed it on top. oh, and of course, some homemade whipped cream.
mama's drink: uh, hello?!? bailey's irish cream! or any coffee based drink will do too.
from Vanilla Sugar Blog
INGREDIENTS for CHEESECAKE
24 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
4 mashed bananas, really ripe
2 t. vanilla extract
1 t. fresh lemon juice
INGREDIENTS for CRUST
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 T. dark brown sugar (i used light brown sugar and it tasted fine)
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
a pinch of kosher salt
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9" springform pan.
2. In a small bowl, mash the ripe bananas and sprinkle the teaspoon of lemon juice on top of them.
3. Mix all ingredients for the crust in the bottom of springform pan. Firmly pat the ingredients into the bottom of pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
4. In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one a time, beating well after each addition. Then add bananas and vanilla extract. Mix well.
5. Pour into crust. Bake for 1 hour or until center is not jiggly.
6. Cool in oven for 1-2 hours. Remove from oven. Chill in refrigerator for at least 3 hours.