Strawberry-Banana Cheesecake Splits

It doesn’t happen very often, but once in a while, I love to eat dessert for dinner…especially when it comes to strawberries. There is nothing better than baking some fresh biscuits, and serving them hot with fresh strawberries and whipped cream… but let’s save that for another day when strawberries are in season…and instead, talk about this dessert… strawberry banana cheesecake splits…

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Sometimes it’s fate when things happen the way that they do…

And I’m going to be real here… it isn’t like this came to me in a dream…I didn’t have a vision… nor did I work long hours in the kitchen creating this recipe… it was a matter of a series of events that set the wheels in motion…

A Craving
Not Enough Ingredients
Pure Laziness (that kept me from running to the store for ingredients)

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I was in the mood for a banana split, but I was also in the mood for a piece of strawberry cheesecake. Neither of which, I had access to. I couldn’t have made them if I wanted to… I had bananas, but no ice cream…and I had strawberries, but only one package of cream cheese, not enough for a cheesecake.

Because I couldn’t have what I craved, but wanted SOMETHING sweet….my plan was to make a banana cream pie with a graham cracker crust, pastry cream, and bananas. That still sounds really good to me, but…in my true fashion…. I chopped when I should have sliced, I whisked when I should have folded… I added when I should have subtracted.. (well, not really subtracted…that was purely for lack of a better word!)

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And in the end came up with a banana cheesecake type of banana split…with banana cheesecake cream and toasted coconut…and strawberries….and chocolate cookie crumbles….and sprinkles….and a cherry on top.

It’s a big dessert…with big flavor…one that I’m not certain could be eaten after dinner…. But instead, should be eaten FOR dinner, which I did. Happily. Instant gratification… both cravings satisfied in one dessert!

Life is good…it’s an “instant gratification with strawberries and sprinkles and a cherry on top” kind of good…

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Strawberry-Banana Cheesecake Splits
Serves Four

Just a quick note: This is such a versatile dessert! You can change the cheesecake flavor to whatever you’d like it to be…. Strawberry cheesecake, coffee, toffee, chocolate…the list is endless! Change the cookie crumbles to vanilla cookies, ginger cookies, graham crackers…and the fruit…go crazy!  Cherries, plums, peaches… imagine how many different desserts this could actually be!!

But never…never…ever… change the sprinkles and the cherry on top!

I used a 15oz stemless wine glass for this, but any type of glass/cup will do!

3 bananas, sliced
2 cups strawberries, chopped
Whipped cream, about ½ cup
Sprinkles
4 Maraschino Cherries

The Cheesecake Cream
1 – 8oz package cream cheese, room temperature
¼ cup heavy cream
2 ripe bananas, crushed
3 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
½ cup coconut, toasted

To toast the coconut: Spread the coconut over a baking sheet, and place in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 7 minutes, or until lightly browned and toasted! Watch it carefully! It will go from lightly toasted to dark brown burned in a matter of seconds!!

Whip the cream cheese, heavy cream, bananas, powdered sugar, and vanilla together using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Stir in the toasted coconut. Refrigerate for ½ to 1 hour.

The Chocolate Cookie Crumbles
1 – 9oz package Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers, crushed
1 stick butter, melted
3 tbsp granulated sugar

Mix the crushed chocolate wafers, butter, and sugar in a medium size bowl. Stir until completely blended. Set aside.

Layer the Dessert:
Place about 3 tbsp chocolate cookie crumbles in the bottom of each glass. Spoon a generous amount of cheesecake cream on top of the crumbles. Layer bananas, and then strawberries on top of the cream. Add another layer of the chocolate cookie crumbles, another layer of the cheesecake, another layer of bananas and strawberries. Top the strawberries with about a tablespoon of cookie crumbles. Add a dollop of whipped cream on top, sprinkle with sprinkles, and plop a maraschino cherry on top!

Serve cold and Enjoy!!

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Cream Cheese Filled Bananas Foster Pancakes

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I had such a craving for bananas last week.  You know, weeks and weeks can go by, and I don’t give them a second thought, but then all of a sudden, one day, I need a banana. Who knows why that is, but it is.  I tend to do that with fruit. Don’t get me wrong…I do manage to get my daily servings of fruit in (or try to). Oranges, apples, bananas, grapes… sometimes I can’t get enough of them, and other times, I forget all about them until the craving strikes.

Except black cherries and nectarines.
They’re my favorites, and I’d eat them everyday if I could get my hands on them.

So, last week I went a bought a bunch of bananas; and I ate a couple of them a day for about three or four days until I had my fill of them.  It seems that the rest of the family did not share my craving, because this morning I noticed that there were still three of them sitting on the counter, and they were in pretty rough shape.  I came really close to just tossing them, when the idea hit me…  Banana pancakes.

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I was just about to make breakfast anyway… which was going to be breakfast sandwiches, but now I had a change in menu. I started to gather all of the ingredients, and knew that I had half of a bag of pecans leftover from Christmas cookies. I thought that they would be really good in the pancakes too.  I opened the fridge to grab some eggs, and noticed a container of leftover whipped cream. With the pecans on my brain, and the whipped cream… another idea hit me… Bananas Foster pancakes.

Ok, so the plan was to make plain pancakes, and serve them with Bananas Foster drizzled on top with a dollop of whipped cream.  Sounds really good, doesn’t it?

Well…as I was digging through the fridge, I found a block of cream cheese. And of course, yet another idea hit me.  Stuff the pancakes with a cream cheese filling, Bananas Foster on top, and a dollop of whipped cream.

Perfect.
And they were.
And Delicious.

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Since I wanted to stuff the pancakes, I wanted them to be on the thinner side.  But not so much a crepe, because I still wanted the fluffy cake of the pancake, so I used my regular pancake recipe..and reduced the flour to two cups. I didn’t want the cream cheese filling too sweet, so that the pancake, along with the filling, helped to balance the sweetness of the bananas.  It all worked perfectly.

I just know you’ll love these pancakes, not only for their wonderful taste, but for the ease of preparation!

Cream Cheese Filled Bananas Foster Pancakes

The Pancakes
Makes 8 pancakes

Just a quick note…  Since these pancakes spread out in the pan, I used a larger frying pan, and cooked one pancake at a time.

There were four of us this morning, and I figured two pancakes per person.  Wrong.  One pancake per person is more than enough.  Well, for the normal eater, that is.  For a big eater, then I’d figure on two pancakes.

2 cups cake flour
2 eggs
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 ½ cups milk
¼ cup vegetable oil
Vegetable oil for greasing pan

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, eggs, sugar, baking powder, salt, milk and vegetable oil just until the ingredients are moistened and blended.

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Grease the frying pan with a little bit of vegetable oil, and heat over medium-low heat. It’s ready when a drop of water dances when splashed onto the pan. For each pancake, add 1/3 cup pancake batter to the pan. When the top of the pancake begins to bubble, it’s ready to flip. Cook for about another minute and a half. Remove from the frying pan to a dish. Repeat until the batter is gone.

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The Cream Cheese Filling
1 8 oz block cream cheese
1 cup whipped cream
½ cup powdered sugar

In a small mixing bowl, cream together the cream cheese, whipped cream, and powdered sugar until light and fluffy.  Set aside.

Bananas Foster
I kind of winged it with the Bananas Foster, so I’m not even certain this can be called authentic. I know that whipped cream in the mixture sounds unusual, but I had so much leftover, I wanted to use it up.  Honestly?  It made the sauce on the creamy caramel side, and it really worked.  If you don’t have whipped cream, then use heavy cream.  I think it would work just was well.  It’s a pretty basic recipe, and you really can’t go wrong with the butter and brown sugar measurements. If you want a little more butter, go for it.  If you want it a little more caramelly, then add more brown sugar. The measurements in this recipe made the sauce a little on the thick side.

3 bananas, your preferred slice
½ stick butter
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup whipped cream, or heavy cream
3/4 cup chopped pecans, walnuts, or even hazelnuts
1 tsp vanilla paste (extract will be just fine too)
½ tsp salt
¼ cup dark rum

Melt the butter in a large frying pan. Add the brown sugar and cook on low heat until the sugar melts into a caramel sauce.  Add the pecans, vanilla, salt, and whipped cream.  Simmer on low for about three minutes. Add the bananas and cook for about a minute.  Stir in the rum, and then CAREFULLY with a kitchen torch, ignite the sauce.  It will flame for about 45 seconds or so, and then will go out on it’s own.  I couldn’t get my camera to capture the flame, and that’s so sad, because it’s so pretty when it’s flaming.  Remove from heat.  Serve immediately on the pancakes (or ice cream, or French toast, or waffles, or on a spoon directly to the mouth… )

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Assembling the Pancakes
Fill each pancake with about 1/3 cup cream cheese filling, and fold in half.  Top with Bananas Foster. Add a dollop of whipped cream to the top, and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Enjoy!

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