Sometimes, I wonder if the only reason my sister is willing to go with the rest of my family on our annual August trek to Cornell to drop me off is so that she can make a trip to Wegmans.
I’m only kidding (I think), but there’s no doubt in my mind that my first Wegmans run of the semester each year makes it worthwhile for my sister having to wake up at 3 a.m. for the ten-hour Michigan-to-upstate-New-York trek. After I’ve picked up some dorm snacks, I often have to hunt down my fellow foodie and baking partner-in-crime and drag her away from the baking aisle or the prepared foods section. My family then gets to spend the next ten minutes listening to my sister’s little tirade, I mean, impassioned speech on why we need to have Wegmans in Michigan. Every. Year.
(‘Manda, it’s not going to happen anytime soon.)
During our trip last August, my sister was ecstatic because she found some Biscoff cookie spread — the new Nutella — and some organic Wegmans whole-grain animal cookies. After just one bite of a lion-shaped cookie, she tried to convince my parents to go back to the store so she could stock up for the next few months.
Sadly, when it came time for my family to leave, the Biscoff cookie spread and animal cookies failed to make it out of my dorm room.
Ever the drama queen, my sister bemoaned her loss when I showed her the neglected snacks during our first Skype session. From that point on, I always teased her about leaving her precious Wegmans snacks behind and “complained” about having to be the one to eat them. (After all, it would have been a shame for them to go to waste.) And she’d always ask me about going back to Wegmans to buy another box of animal cookies.
This week’s recipe is in belated honor of my sister’s fourteenth birthday (a.k.a. the birthday that made me realize that she’ll be starting high school in a few months and confirmed that yes, I am getting old). It combines my sister’s forgotten, yet beloved Biscoff spread and Wegmans’ animal cookies with one of her baking specialties: banana bread. This version is no ordinary banana spread: laced with the caramelized flavor of the Biscoff spread and topped with a crunchy streusel made of Biscoff cookies and animal cookies.
While my sister’s neglect of her Wegmans snacks was a minor and fairly ordinary incident, I have a feeling that I’ll still tease her for years to come because, well, that’s just what sisters are for: teasing and bringing a box of Wegmans organic animal cookies in your carry-on whenever you go home for break.
(The ironic thing is, as much as I tease my sister about her forgetfulness, I was the one who, in the middle of the banana-bread-baking process, realized that I didn’t have any eggs on hand. Luckily, I’ve learned to always have a few key baking ingredient substitutions on hand and have included my favorite egg substitution in the recipe.)
Biscoff Banana Bread with Biscoff Cookie and Animal Cracker Streusel
(Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod.)
1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
3 medium bananas, mashed (The riper the bananas are, the better.)
½ cup smooth Biscoff Spread
¼ cup vegetable oil
**Note: Substitution for 1 large egg: ¼ cup applesauce plus ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup dark brown sugar
For the streusel:
1/3 cup Biscoff cookies, roughly broken into small pieces
¼ cup animal crackers (Specifically, Wegmans Organic Whole-Grain Animal Cookies)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ cup dark brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Nonstick baking spray
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 9” by 5” loaf pan with the nonstick baking spray and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, use a spoon or spatula to stir together the bananas, Biscoff Spread, vegetable oil, egg substitute (the applesauce and additional baking powder), vanilla, granulated sugar and dark brown sugar.
4. Add the dry ingredient mixture to your wet ingredient mixture and stir until just combined. Do not over-mix; the batter should still be a little lumpy.
5. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and spread evenly.
6. For the streusel: In a small bowl, combine the Biscoff cookie pieces, animal cracker pieces, flour brown sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. (Don’t worry about the animal crackers disintegrating into the butter and sugar; the pieces contribute to making bigger streusel crumbles.) Stir together until the ingredients are combined.
7. Sprinkle the streusel over the batter in the loaf pan, making sure to distribute the streusel evenly.
8. Bake bread for about 55-60 minutes (mine took about 58 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
9. Allow the bread to cool in the pan for ten minutes. Use a butter knife to loosen the edges of the pan and remove bread from the loaf pan.
10. Place the bread on a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely (my definition of “completely” is about 10-15 minutes) before cutting it into slices.
Original Author: Elizabeth Young