It was the summer of 1998. Bill Clinton was in the White House in the midst of his now notorious scandal, Apple had just released its original “Bondi Blue” iMac G3 and as for me, I was an awkward 15-year-old.
That summer brought a much needed intermission from my life as student at a Catholic high school. It granted me months to discard my staid school uniform, composed of lifeless oxford shirts and abrasive gray pleated skirts that despite continuous washing would never quite become cozy and yielding, even after a good 3 more years of wear. It meant my days which were ordinarily filled with a generous amount of homework and a full roster of activities, could have instead given way to a life of leisure, if it wasn’t for one little thing – I had taken on my first part-time job.
Sure I’d had short stints with baby sitting and other ad hoc work over the years, but that summer brought my first legitimate and significant introduction to the working world. I’d gotten it into my head that all the cool teenagers worked at Dairy Queen so when ‘Now hiring.’ graced the sign of the restaurant nearest to my grandparents’ house I submitted my paper application immediately.
Despite my obvious inexperience, I somehow got the job and for the rest of the summer I manned the drive through window, made various ice cream treats, and attended to other various tasks around the restaurant, which included less glamorous things like keeping the dining room and parking lot tidy.
I learned that there was a lot of precision and practice necessary to make perfect Dairy Queen cone and to get the consistency of a Blizzard just right. But mostly I learned that I hated that job. I’ve never quite put my finger on why my dislike was so strong, but to say that I was thrilled when the summer ended was an understatement. It’s probably telling that I never had a foodservice job again and that to this day, my cravings for Dairy Queen are substantially less frequent than before I worked there.
But on occasion, I do find myself with a hankering for one of my longtime favorite Dairy Queen treats – the Banana Split Blizzard. But recently rather than succumbing to the urge to get one, I decided to use it as inspiration for a homemade sweet treat – behold my Banana Split Biscotti.
These crunchy cookies channel the essence of what I love about the original. I take my banana biscotti base and stir chocolate chips as well as dried strawberries, dried pineapple, and dried bananas.
Yields about 2 dozen small biscotti
-1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/2 cup mashed ripe banana
-1 tablespoon canola oil
-1 large egg
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1/4 cup chopped dried pineapple
-1/4 cup chopped dried (sometimes called flattened) bananas
-1/4 cup chopped dried strawberries
-1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
-Melted chocolate, for drizzling (optional)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine banana, oil, egg and vanilla, and mix until well blended. Add the flour mixture, dried fruits, and chocolate chips and stir just until combined. If the mixture seems dry, use your hands to mix.
Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough in half and shape each piece into an 8 inch log. If you’re having a hard time working with the dough I recommend coating your hands with a neutral flavored vegetable oil to help you work with the dough. Place the logs 2-3 inches apart on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray and flatten each into a rectangle that is about 3 inches wide.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until firm. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Reduce your oven temperature to 275 degrees F.
Place the logs on a cutting board, trim the ends and cut each diagonally into 1/2″ to 3/4″ thick slices. Place biscotti cut side down on the cookie sheet. Return them to the oven for 20 minutes, then flip them over and bake for another 20 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack and cool. After biscotti have cooled drizzle them with melted chocolate if desired.