If you saw my original ‘pork chop’ post, the first half of this one will look familiar to you. The recipe is different, you’ll notice, because when I went to submit the pork chop recipe, the Golden Girl Granola Blogger’s Challenge clearly stated they wanted dessert recipes. Oy. Bear with me, folks. It’s summer and I live in Vacationland which means my priorities may or may not be in order.
Lobster Banana puddin’ picnic on the beach, anyone?!
Granola. It’s an adjective I’ve used to describe myself ever since I figured out who “me” was years ago. For giggles, I looked it up in Urban Dictionary, and here’s the definition [I highly recommend reading in David Attenborough’s voice]:
An adjective used to describe people who are environmentally aware, open-minded, left-winged, socially aware and active, queer or queer-positive, anti-oppressive/discriminatory with an organic and natural emphasis on living, [limiting] consumption of what he or she does consume, as granola people are usually concerned about wasting resources. Usually buy only fair-trade goods and refrain from buying from large corporations, as most exploit the environment as well as their workers, which goes against granola core values. The choice of not removing body hair (see amazon) [is] not a characteristic that define granola people, and people, regardless of granola status, may or may not partake in said activities. This definition is sometimes confused with hippy.
hehe. My favorite is “The choice of not removing body hair (see amazon) is not a characteristic that define granola people, and regardless of granola status, may or may not partake in said activities. This definition is sometimes confused with hippy.” I’m hair-positive, people. I rejoice when the long-johns come out only because I don’t have to shave my legs. Why else have I spent the last 7 years of my life in the great white North?! It’s not snow or cold or cute coats. It’s because I don’t have to shave my legs! TMI?
What took me down this road?! Yes, granola! The real stuff. The positively tasty stuff. Up in my neck of the woods (New England), there’s a company called Golden Girl Granola. They hand make each batch of their granola with high-quality, non-GMO local products. As a participant in the 2016 Blogger’s Challenge, they sent me a bag of their Forest Maple Granola for me to play with. Reading more about the company’s mission and its alignment with my personal food philosophies (see definition above), I knew it was a
batch match made in heaven!
When it arrived, I dove right in to the bag (I have to test my ingredients, yes?!) and it was The. Best. Granola. I. Have. Ever. Eaten. And I LOVE granola. It was super crunchy and each ingredient was separate from the rest. There was no clumping, and in turn, no risk of cracked teeth. There was a generous mix of slivered almonds in the bag, and each one was flecked with actual spices, not glazed with artificial flavors. It was lightly sweetened and lightly salted, and did I mention it was crunchy?!
I toyed with the idea of making a Maple Cheesecake with a Granola Pie Crust, but that seemed too safe. Then, I bought all the ingredients to make a Sausage and Maple Ris-Oat-O, but that seemed too trendy (I’m seeing ris-oat-o recipes pop up everywhere).
So I went back to the drawing board and came up with a stuffed pork chop with apples, extra sharp cheddar cheese, onion, thyme, and maple granola stuffing. If you saw the original post, you saw I made the pork chop. And it was amazing (have no fear, I’ll post it in the fall). But I went to submit it to this challenge and saw the call was for DESSERT recipes! Yeesh. Way to read the fine print….and I was an ENGLISH TEACHER in a past life. I blame it on summer and all the to-dos.
I had a smidge of granola left, so I went back to the dessert drawing board and came up with an equally delicious recipe. I made a homemade banana pudding and instead of vanilla wafers, I made a maple granola shortbread cookie to go in the banana pudding. These cookies are phenomenal on their own. Or smothered under bananas, pudding, and meringue. I should mention that banana pudding epitomizes summer in my memory. It’s as much a part of my personal history as the physical town where I grew up because it was a mainstay on every table, every summer, of every family gathering (and being from the South, there were a lot of gatherings).
If you try this recipe at home, I highly recommend using a limited ingredient granola because not only is whole granola folded into the cookie batter, but about a quarter of the flour is oat flour made from ground granola. I used Golden Girl Granola’s Forest Maple Granola and it made a perfect cookie.
- For the cookies (makes about 2 dozen):
- 2 sticks of butter, room temperature
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 cup granola flour *see note above
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ¾ cup maple granola
- For the pudding
- 3 heaping Tbsp. of cornstarch
- ½ cup sugar
- pinch of salt
- 4 cups whole milk
- 2 extra ripe bananas, cut into ½ inch pieces
- 4 eggs, whites and yolks separated (whites reserved for meringue)
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 4-6 ripe bananas, sliced
- Meringue to top
- Using a stand or hand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until creamed together.
- Add the egg, maple syrup, and vanilla to the bowl and mix until well combined.
- In a separate bowl, combine the granola flour, all purpose flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt. Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mix well on medium speed. Add remaining dry ingredients, mixing until the dough just starts to form. Add granola and mix until the granola is just incorporated.
- With floured hands, remove dough from bowl and shape into a fat log. Wrap completely in a piece of plastic wrap and using the heels of your hands, roll against the counter to form a long log, about 2 inches in diameter. If the dough is too soft to shape, place in the fridge for about 30 minutes or until the dough has set slightly.
- Once you've formed a log, place wrapped dough in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (the cookie dough will stay good for 2 days in the fridge and indefinitely in the freezer).
- When ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Slice the log of cookie dough into ¼ inch slices. Place on a prepared cookie sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes or until the edges are browned and the center has set. Place on a cooling rack to cool.
- For the Pudding:
- In a large saucepan, mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Pour in milk gradually, stirring constantly until well combined. Place on burner and cook over medium heat. Add ripened bananas once everything has dissolved and liquid is smooth. Continue cooking stirring constantly for about 3-4 minutes or until mixture starts to boil and thicken.
- Meanwhile, slightly beat the egg yolks in a spouted bowl or large measuring cup.
- Once the milk mixture has thickened, remove the bananas with a slotted spoon and discard. Add about 2 cups of the hot milk mixture to egg yolks, stirring constantly making sure the eggs don't cook. Once well-combined, add egg yolks back to the large saucepan, stirring constantly for about a minute or two more.
- Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Let sit to cool slightly.
- To assemble the pudding:
- Line the bottom (and sides if you'd like) of a round 2 qt. casserole dish with baked granola cookies ( I used about 14).
- Layer cookies with 4-6 thinly sliced bananas.
- Pour hot pudding mixture over bananas and spread evenly with a spatula. Top pudding with meringue (recipe below) making sure the meringue completely covers pudding. Mold/decorate meringue to your liking.
- Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Serve warm (preferable) or cold.
- For the meringue:
- In a large bowl, add 4 room temperature egg whites, ½ tsp cream of tartar, and 1 tsp. vanilla. With an electric mixer, beat on medium heat or until soft peaks form. Adding 1 Tbsp at a time, add a total of ½ cup ultra fine sugar to the mixture, beating constantly until stiff peaks form, Spread over hot pudding.