Banana Pudding with a Twist

Banana Pudding

I had a hankerin’ over the weekend for banana pudding and was excited to find a recipe in “Vegan Pie In The Sky.” I had most of the ingredients on hand already (a well-stocked pantry always helps). The problem? I could not find vegan vanilla wafer cookies at the supermarket up the street, and I didn’t want to have to drive across town to find some. But just as I was about to give up on my craving, my husband picked up a bag of ginger snaps that happened to be vegan. “What about these?” he said. I wasn’t sure how well the ginger would go with the bananas, but I thought, “Sure, why not?”

After all was said and done (and by “done,” I mean we finished off the entire 9 x 13 pan in less than two days), I have to say that ginger snaps may be my new, go-to banana pudding cookie. I was worried the cookies would be too hard for the dessert, but they soften just enough in the pudding and the crumbled cookies on top added just the right amount of crunch for texture. As for the rest of the recipe, it was extremely easy to put together and sets up fairly quickly (I really didn’t want to have to wait overnight to indulge my sweet tooth).

And, of course, while walking back from the grocery store, my husband and I couldn’t help but reference this sketch from “The State” (I think I’m showing my age here):

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Food and a Feature: Shortbread and ‘Downton Abbey’

What goes better with a rainy, cold day than back-to-back episodes of “Downton Abbey,” shortbread cookies and tea? That’s how I spent my Saturday and it was awesome.

The shortbread recipe I got from “Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar,” which, sadly, isn’t posted on the site. I’ve found sites that have the recipe posted on them, but I encourage you to buy the book if you haven’t already; you won’t regret it.

The recipe was super easy to follow and came together very quickly. The wedges of shortbread were buttery and dense without being too rich or too sweet. Next time I make it, per the book’s suggestion, I’d like to add rose water or lavender to the recipe. A cup of warm black tea with a touch of almond milk was the perfect finishing touch.

As far as the feature, I had heard wonderful things about the Masterpiece Classic series “Downton Abbey,” but never got around to watching it — that is, until yesterday. Netflix has the first season on Watch Instantly. I’ve gotten through the first three episodes and I’m hooked.

The series is set in the early part of the 20th century, right before World War I. It tells the story of the Crawley family and their servants, who all live the Edwardian country house of Downton Abbey. It’s primarily a drama, but there’s humor and suspense woven in with the characters and storyline. I can’t recommend it enough.