Chocolate-Dusted Banana Cream Pie

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This week was a new experience for me, as I’ve never actually made a pie before. I’d actually been planning on making banana bread, or some type of banana cheesecake, but my wife encouraged me to keep trying something brand-new.

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First hiccup – when I’m using a new recipe, especially for something I’ve never attempted, I prefer more instructions, rather than less. As a warning to anyone who may want to use the linked recipe, it is not really beginner-friendly. Most of how to do this (stove heat, whisking time, etc) was found in the comments section.

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Aside from that, it went off without a hitch. I actually forgot to dip the bananas in lemon juice (though I believe that was intended more to prevent browning than anything else), but aside from that, it came out perfectly.  Rather than coconut, I ended up chopping up the last bit of dark chocolate from the truffles I made for Mother’s Day, and sprinkling them on the Cool Whip. It may seem silly to say, but (probably because I don’t usually eat pie) I was surprised by how sweet it was, though still quite delicious. I was actually worried, given that with my past experiments, I tried to use dark chocolate to offset the sweetness of whatever lay below, which did not happen here. There was a pleasant chocolate taste, yes, but for those with a sweet tooth, this will definitely fulfill it.

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Oreo Cupcakes

Cake

I’ve been trying to find more and more uses to use the icing tips, ever since the cake I made a few weeks back, and I decided on this. Though cupcakes are quite easy, there were still some new things to learn. Mainly that when the recipe was instructing me to mix apple cider vinegar and milk, that buttermilk (which could simply be bought in a store) was what they were looking for, and also, how to make buttercream icing.

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I was wary of the icing, as I’d made something similar before, though it turned out far too sweet for my liking. However, this tasted exactly how I’d hoped, and firmed up nicely in the fridge.

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The aggravating learning experiences with decorating the cupcakes were that I should give strong thought into purchasing the larger tips, and also the realization that I didn’t take into account the cookie bits that were mixed into it. More than once I had to change tips, or use a toothpick to dig out some stubborn bit of cookie, which make any attempt at designs misshapen at best.

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Some of the nicer-looking ones were managed once I did away with the tips altogether. Though they didn’t come out quite as pretty as I wanted, I am very pleased with the overall product.

Twix Cheesecake Bars

Sweets

I’ve loved Twix bars for my entire life, and was wondering what I wanted to do for my next baking experiment, when I remembered a set of mini-loaf pans my parents had given me a while back. I used this cheesecake recipe, and shortbread cookies for the crust.

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The crust turned out well, though I’d forgotten that the caramel I was using is very buttery. In the future, I’d definitely use a different caramel, most likely either a caramel sauce, or pre-wrapped caramels from a grocery store’s bulk food section.

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I’d left the caramel at room temperature for several hours to make sure it was nice and gooey. With a toothpick, I stirred a tablespoon or so into the batter, resulting in the above mini-cheesecakes.

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I’ll be honest – the pans, though a nice idea, didn’t work out how I’d hoped. It took some gentle prying to get them loose from the sides, and though they mostly kept their “bar” shape, the above photos are after cutting off the rough edges. The dark chocolate I’d melted and spread over them also didn’t turn out as smooth as I’d have liked.

This was certainly a learning experience. All in all, the taste was fine, if a little buttery. There was just the right amount of cheesecake, caramel, and chocolate that I could taste everything individually, without one thing overpowering the others. However, next time I’ll use a square pan, most likely lined with parchment paper, to help with getting it out of the pan. If I can’t start this in the morning, I’ll remember to make it a two-day project; I was excited to see how it’d turn out, so I did this in the space of an afternoon and evening, and had I let it cool overnight, it probably wouldn’t have broken so much when I was getting them out of the pans.

Chocolate Cherry Truffles

Sweets

This was the recipe I used for a Mother’s Day gift this year (2015). As it was the last time I made truffles, the biggest issue was more waiting for the chocolate to firm up to where I could roll it into balls. However, rather than the sprinkles I’d used last time, I melted dark, and milk chocolate to coat them. I drizzled it over the truffles with a spoon, though realized that I’d underestimated how much I would need; they didn’t get coated quite as uniformly as I’d been hoping for, but at least it’s a simple fix for the future.

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Vine Cake

Cake

I have a box of icing tips for decoration that I haven’t used in some time. I pipe icing for cookie decoration at Panera Bread, but not much else. The cake (simply from a mix) was an excuse to expand on that.

As for the design, given that it’s Spring (as of this post), I thought flowers and leafy branches would be appropriate. Also, the colors of the flowers are those that my wife and I chose for our wedding.

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