Black Bottom Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Pie

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Miss Fats calling it: pie is a breakfast item.

She’s being completely serious.  No eye rolling or outrage.  Pie belongs in the early morning hours.  Fruit pie?  Custard pie?  Cream pie?  Aren’t these all qualifiers associated with breakfast, anyway?  Is a flakey crust and tender fruit filling all that different from your standard danish?  (Well yes.  Miss Fats upholds they are different objects.  However conceptually they are closer than one thinks with regard to food genre.)  But can’t we replace those boring fruit parfaits with a silky banana cream?

The reality is that sweet breakfast treats are almost always glorified dessert items, hiding beneath a whole wheat flour or bran addition.  (Or even just parading its sweet self for all to see.  Miss Fats is talking to you, french toast.)  Miss Fats doesn’t understand why the donut should sit comfortably in the breakfast genre, while pie remains in evening hours.  If anything the deep-fried dough item, perfectly crafted to send you to bed, should be flip-flopped with a bright and tangy slice of fruit pie in early hours.

Why should all the round sliced food objects be confined to the second half one’s day? (Pizza?  Also breakfast.)  Their perfect portability and triangular shape make for an ideal nutrient delivery system during the hours when your brain is still waking up and struggling to organize yourself in the morning rush.  Sure, it’s not the healthiest of breakfasts, but if you’re going to reach for a sweet morning treat, pie at least holds the promise of breakfast flavors.  Plus a pie is almost always waiting for you.  No need to mess with flour or a pesky waffle maker first thing in the morning: a big slice of pie is just sitting there on the counter, waiting to be consumed.  Throw a big dollop of greek yogurt on that apple pie and you’ve basically got a power breakfast.

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Look: Miss Fats realizes she probably hasn’t convinced you of breakfast pie yet.  But she’s sure this recipe makes a strong enough case for itself.  Black Bottom Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Pie combines the chewy oatiness of a granola with the flavors of banana bread.  Welcome to layers of flakey pie crust, silky chocolate, gooey banana custard and toasty oatmeal top; a veritable stratum of flavors and textures.  This pie manages to straddle the line between granola bar and pecan pie: teetering deliciously between breakfast and dessert.  Perhaps it’s actually meant to be consumed at the end of a late night around 3 am: right between the two.  Miss Fats can get on board with that.

This pie started as Four and Twenty Blackbird’s Black Bottom Oatmeal Pie.  Blackbird’s “poor-man’s pecan pie,” received rave reviews from a group of Miss Fats’ dear friends.  The crazy-simple recipe made for the perfect game night pie on a Sunday night: no fuss, just good clean fun.  However, always looking to innovate, Miss Fats’ friend I, suggested a banana cream hybrid.  They all agreed the pie had an air of breakfast and would happily begin any day with a big slice and cup of coffee.  But I was interested in producing the ultimate breakfast pie object.  The custard center seemed to be begging to mate with a banana cream friend, so I tasked Miss Fats with the challenge of melding the two.

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Through some simple substitutions and modifications, Miss Fats created a breakfast dessert monster.  She also simplified the whole thing by throwing all the ingredients into a blender and allowing the machine to do all the work for her.  Reducing the sugar and adding bananas makes for a pie that holds all the power of a pie, banana bread, and granola bars. Topped with chocolate. The custard center is the real revelation here.  Miss Fats upped the salt (as she does)  to highlight the creamy, caramel-y flavor fruit to produce a homey richness akin to a beautifully simple slice of moist banana bread.  Pie crust creates a tender base, followed by a bit of bitter chocolate (again, perfectly salted), then comes the smooth banana custard-y center, topped off with a chewy layer of toasted oats.   The ultimate geological formation: the perfect stratification of discrete breakfast treats that come together in pure mouth harmony.  Morning bliss.

Black Bottom Banana Oatmeal Pie:
adapted from Four and Twenty Blackbird’s Black Bottom Oatmeal Pie

1 9-inch single pie crust (Miss Fats prefers this one from Smitten Kitchen)
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
3 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream divided
2 very ripe bananas
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup corn syrup
5 tbs melted butter
4 eggs
2 tbs cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ginger

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Par bake the crust, rolling out the dough, lining a 9 inch pie pan and crimping the sides.  Puncture the bottom to allow air to escape and line the crust with a piece of parchment or foil. Weigh down the center with beans or fancy pie weights, if you have them.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove weights and foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the bottom of the crust looks dry.  Set aside to cool. (Can easily be done in advance.)

2. Toast the oats by spreading them evenly on a lined sheet pan and baking for 10-12 minutes.  Toss every few minutes.  Set aside to cool.  Reduce oven to 325 degrees.

3. Heat 1/4 cup of the heavy cream in the microwave for about 2 minutes or until scalded.  Pour the cream over the chocolate chips and throw in a big pinch of salt. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.  Whisk the chocolate and cream until smooth.  Pour into the bottom of the pie crust and spread evenly.  Allow to cool in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

4.  In a blender, throw in all the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.   Stir in the oats with a spoon.  Pour into the prepared pie crust.

5. Bake the pie for 1 hour, rotating once approximately 30 minutes into baking.  The pie is done when the edged have browned a bit and the center is set.  The center should be completely set but have a little give: imagine gently poking a fluffy cake.  Allow to cool fully: about 2-3 hours, or leave that guy sitting out over night to chow down on in the morning.

Miss Fats highly recommends consuming a big slice of this pie with a fresh cup of coffee.  She’s pretty sure a big dollop of full fat yogurt (or whipped cream.  She doesn’t judge early hour whipped cream consumption) would send this over the edge.  Waking up to a slice of this pie just might make you a morning person.  Watch out.

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recipe review: salted chocolate pecan pie

IMG_7626Miss Fats is going to share one of her biggest fears with you: pie.  Clearly she has a bit of a bias toward fluffy cake objects and their bready relatives, but this mainly stems from her crippling fear of pastry.  The simplicity and precision required to execute even the simplest of pastries requires a restraint and attention that Miss Fats rarely has.  She needs a bit more wiggle room.  Because she’s lazy.  And hates measuring.  As a result, she stays away pastry, hiding behind a defensive layer of language that suggests it’s “too fancy” or “fussy” for her taste.  This is a load of crap.  The reality is that Miss Fats just hasn’t been practicing and fears the perpetual disappointment that it can often create.  She hates nothing more than when a carefully labored pie crust, chilled and minimally handled, winds up too chewy or dense.  This may be because she believes that in order to be a truly great baker, one should have a grasp on a standard crust.  And when it comes down to it, Miss Fats just doesn’t.  And thanks to grad school logic: thus she is not a real baker.

Ok enough self-loathing and indulgent nonsense.  She knows the only way to really get past this hang up is to approach it like every other pastry novice: practice, practice, practice.  So in the spirit of the season, Miss Fats is taking pie on for reals this time.

Her resistance to pie primarily stems from not only this fear of pastry, but the number of flubbubs that can occur with any pie production.  Is the fruit too sweet?  Too moist?  Did I add enough flour this time?  Is it going to boil over and make a big sticky mess at the bottom of my oven?  Will my crust shrink in the pan?  Or will it absorb my filling and turn into a soggy mess? Ugh I cannot roll out pie dough.  Why is it so ugly? See: so many anxieties go into a pie.  Miss Fats is a such a coward.  Get over it.

So in order to ease her way into the pie game, she decided to go for a single crust, non-fruit pie in an attempt to eliminate as many potential problems as possible.  Since Thanksgiving is fast approaching and she loves herself some pecans, Miss Fats settled on a classic pecan pie: only naturally, this required the addition of chocolate and salt.  Duh.  The final pie ended up being a hybrid of Smitten Kitchen’s Foolproof Pie Dough and David Lebovitz’s Chocolate Pecan Pie for the filling.

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She ultimately stuck pretty close to the original recipes, particularly with the dough.  Miss Fats anxiously measured, pulsed that food processor exactly the right number of times, and carefully added the freezing cold liquids to the batch.  Reluctantly to even touch the dough with her hands, she scraped it into the plastic wrap, played a bit of hot potato with the disk and threw it in the fridge.  Miss Fats was pleasantly surprised to find that the dough rolled out with ease and didn’t crack or she wasn’t forced to stretch her gummy over-mixed mess like in past pie experiences.  Her pie vanity issues were rendered null thanks to her roommate’s beautiful pie pan complete with a wavy mold, that she gently pressed the dough into.  For the filling, she omitted the bourbon (only because she didn’t have any on hand), upped the salt content to a full teaspoon, and went with semi sweet chocolate chunks instead of chips.  She decided not to pre-bake the crust (out of laziness and lack of baking beans), and simply allowed the filling to fuse with buttery crust.  The finishing touch was brushing the crust with a little egg wash and sprinkling it with some raw sugar crystals before baking.  Then obviously, after cooling the topping got a heathy sprinkle of sea salt to add those perfect bites to cut the gooey sweetness of the pie filling.

The pie was a freaking miracle.  Somehow the damn thing turned out and it looked good.  Miss Fats couldn’t have dreamt of a better outcome given her inexperience.  The crust’s mixture of butter and shortening gave it both a chewy and flakey texture.  It remained crisp on the bottom but managed to soak up some of that caramel-y filling, creating a nice contrast with the decadent insides.  Next time Miss Fats makes this pie, however, she’ll be using bittersweet chunks instead of semi-sweet.  She actually found it to be just every-so-slightly too sweet for her taste: she’s pretty sure a hit of darker, bitter chocolate is just what this pie needs to send it over the edge.  Overall the pie was not perfect, but well beyond expectations and enough to keep Miss Fats’ hopes up and baking until Thanksgiving.  She feels restored and ready to take on these scary dessert objects.  Just you wait: soon cake pans may be exchanged for rolling pins… though who is she kidding?  Probably not.  (There’s just more options for peanut butter with cake…though maybe not?)

spiced chocolate and peanut butter dulce de leche cupcakes

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Okay. Miss Fats will admit this is a bit of a weird combination.  On paper.  However, in practice, these flavors (cinnamon, peanut butter and dulce de leche) come together in a the form of a moist cupcake filled with oozing peanut butter and topped with a rich caramel-y frosting.  This is a flavor punch.  One that shouldn’t really work, but like that ugly/pretty girl you keep staring at, becomes something you can resist paying attention to.  What is it about the sticky sweet weight of peanut butter and dulce de leche that makes you both hate and love yourself?  Miss Fats likes to think that even as the thick peanut butter filling coats your mouth hole, all you want to do is linger in cupcake weirdness because the sugar-salt-spice rush breaks your brain a little.

This combo has emerged as Miss Fats’ go-to cake to pair with tacos. It last made the appearance as a decadent layer cake for an epic taco birthday bash last fall.  However for this taco housewarming, she felt the cake should be able to be consumed with a drink in the other hand.  (Or even better: double fist those cupcakes.)  What emerged is a mixed baby of mexican flavors and salty peanut goodness.  This cupcake features a cinnamon and cayenne spiced chocolate cupcake stuffed with peanut butter filling and topped with a dulce de leche frosting: a whole delightful spectrum of brown.  The odd addition of peanut butter creates that salt-sweet balance with the candy-sweet dulce de leche, and the cake brings a little spicy to the mix: salt-sweet-heat.

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The taco menu was not the only reason Miss Fats decided on this bizarre cupcake.  The dessert was in celebration of an incredible housewarming hosted by the coolest couple she’s ever known, in the craziest apartment known to man.  Team Miss Fats likes to refer to their magical game nights with them as stepping into the “hottest club in Chicago.”  She’s talking craft cocktails, multi-course meals and a space that Miss Fats is convinced isn’t real.  They used to attend game nights in the most outrageous studio/loft apartment that featured floor to ceiling windows, an amazing collection of handmade art that literally scaled the entire space, beautiful hand-built furniture, and proper entertaining dishware (oh hey, salad plate and dessert fork).  This list completely fails to capture the experience of Club A & D, which is probably akin to drinking from Willy Wonka’s chocolate river in magical candy land.  Miss Fats wants to stress that this was their OLD apartment.  She’s completely out of words for their new space.  She’d like you to fantasize about this studio/game night and then cube it: then you’ve maybe approached an idea of the Club A & D experience.

So the real question was: how can Miss Fats make a dessert that lives up this party?  Well the answer is: she can’t.  Nor should she really try, because it’s doomed to failure.  Miss Fats can’t bake flying unicorns, after all.  She decided to move forward with an indulgent cupcake that embraced the kooky mix of flavors that were as rich and celebratory as the evening itself.  Naturally this started with a base of chocolate.  Normally, a taco party would seem to demand something on the coconut-flan-y spectrum; and Miss Fats seriously struggled with herself on this.  She was so close to attempting a tres leches cake, but just could not seem to get herself out of the chocolate mind set.  Sticking to her guns, she decided to go with her weird flavor bomb from last fall and add a little heat to the mix.  Miss Fats paid homage to the mexican flavors by adding cinnamon and cayenne to her usual chocolate cake batter, to create a secret mouth fiesta and cut through the decadence of the rich peanut butter and dulce de leche.

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This recipe follows Miss Fats’ method of a three-part stuffed cupcake, that is incredibly easy.  Three bowls, three components, and about an hour of your time (outside of cooling and bake time that is).  As usual, these little guys can be broken down into two days: cakes baked off day one, and all the other ooey-gooey stuff on day two.

Spiced Chocolate and Peanut Butter Dulce De Leche Cupcakes
makes approximately 18 cupcakes
cake adapted from The Kitchn’s Dark Chocolate Cake

cake:
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup oil
1 cup hot coffee

filling:
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup dulce de leche
1-2 tbs milk
1 tbs oil (optional depending upon your peanut butter)

frosting:
1 stick butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup dulce de leche (or essentially, the remaining can)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt

1. Make the cakes: preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare cupcake tins.  In a large bowl, mix together sugar, cocoa powder, flour, baking soda and powder, salt, and spices.  Whisk in eggs, oil and butter milk.  Mix vigorously for approximately 2 minutes.  Pour in hot coffee and mix until fully combined.  Divide batter among cupcake trays. Bake for approximately 18-20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Allow to fully cool.

2. Filling: In a small bowl, mix the peanut butter and dulce de leche.  Add approximately 1 tbs of milk and oil.  This will depend on the consistency of your peanut butter.  Natural peanut butters will likely require more oil for a smoother consistency.  You’re looking for a filling that approximates the gooey-ness of a freshly mixed jar of natural peanut butter.

3. Frosting: In a stand mixer (or using a hand-held one), beat the butter, cream cheese and dulce de leche on high until light and fluffy (approximately 2 minutes).  Add the salt and vanilla and mix until combined.  Sift in the powdered sugar and beat until combined.

4. Assembly: Using a small spoon, scoop out a hole in each cupcake.  Spoon in approximately 1 tbs of the filling.  Finally, spread the frosting over top, or swirl using a pastry bag (or gallon ziplock bag with the tip cut off).

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Now Miss Fats can’t claim that these cupcakes objectify her amazing friends, but she hopes they in the very least approach the endlessly creative, fun and surprising times at Club A & D.  The salt-sweet-heat of these little guys can only account for a fraction of the flavors of the club: they are full force-flavor kind of people.  Miss Fats can only dream of creating a mouth party of that scale.  For now, she’ll leave the remaining flavors to D, who turned it out with the crazy taco bar.  She just hopes they enjoyed these dessert delights as they danced and drank the night away.

super sweet bowl

IMG_1699As icat said, Miss Fats has had a bit of a bad weekend.  However today was Super Bowl Sunday and Miss Fats was determined to buck up an celebrate the ultimate day of bad binge snacking with a playful and inventive dessert.

The challenge: use only what she had on hand.  What did this mean??
ULTIMATE BREAKFAST CUPCAKE ADVENTURE   

This monstrosity consists of a bottom layer of banana bread, followed by creamy baked french toast, topped with granola streusel and a maple syrup drizzle.  Sweet breakfast bomb.

It ended up being quite delicious: just imagine all your sweet breakfast breads on a plate covered in maple syrup.

Unfortunately Miss Fats doesn’t have a recipe for this one (mostly because she had no idea what the hell she was doing), but promises to make some tweaks (add bacon! more butter!), and share later. For now, just imagine some ooey gooey french toast and moist banana bread all up in your mouth.

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fro-yo done right

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Not everyone here at Miss Fats eats froyo that looks like healthy breakfast.  Gaze upon the splendor of a mountain built from original tart, carrot cake + brooklyn cheesecake yogurt – and the delicious tragedy of the terrible topping avalanche which occurred, burying the poor froyo with mango boba, strawberry boba, mochi, blueberries, gummi bears, strawberries, coconut, rainbow sprinkles and a blob of hot marshmallow gloop. #thisishowwedoit

fro-yo-yo

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Miss Fats took on fro-yo last night.  (Forever Yogurt, Chicago, IL)

First serving: neapolitan reinvented featuring plain, cookie dough and carrot cake.  Each little section featured its own toppings- carrot cake with peanuts and chocolate covered pretzels; plain with blackberries, strawberries and almonds; cookie dough with oreo and chocolate fudge.

If only that had been enough.  Feeling unsatisfied, Miss Fats went back for more. Double-yo.

Second serving: raspberry with blueberries, strawberries, almonds and crushed graham crackers; cookie dough with oreos, chocolate fudge, waffle cone, and andes mints.

Who needs dinner when you have a plethora of frozen yogurt options?