Kick-the-can, bonfires, hotdish potlucks…growing up in a traditional small town in Minnesota summertime block parties were a regular occurrence – an opportunity to bond with our small community of neighbors.
Living in San Francisco, although a very friendly place, we never got to know, and actually hardly ever saw, other residents of the weird little alley we all call home.
Last year, Mike had the brilliant idea to host a get together and so the Genoa Place block party was born.
After a successful first year, we held 2nd annual event two Saturdays ago.
I am never sure what people are going to bring (we should probably encourage sign-ups on the FB event page next year!) so I made sure to have some hot dogs, a side dish, appetizer and of course dessert. Turns out I had nothing to worry about. Our friends and neighbors pulled out all the stops.
In addition to providing the delicious brews for the event, Mike is also the expert on the grill.
Look at that spread!
Block Party Feast!
Highlights included stuffed strawberries, goat cheese and pecan salad, fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies and a berry trifle.
Expectations are high whenever I make dessert, so the heat was on. I had originally planned to test run a cupcake recipe I wanted to make for my sister’s graduation AND I was also obsessing over a cherry hand pie recipe from one of my favorite blogs. But after the local jam I had purchased during my work trip to Portland earlier that week was confiscated by airport security (dude, jam is totally a solid and regardless it’s use in cherry hand pies should make it exempt) I abandoned ship and came up with two new ideas (cherry hand pies: you are dead to me).
#1: Lemon cookies: featuring lemons from my HR manager’s tree. These were just ok. If you are interested, here is the recipe.
#2: Incorporating the nostalgia of Midwest block parties I selected a banana, peanut butter and honey whoopie pie recipe from a Wisconsin based-blog I follow. Extending the theme even further, I used honey made in Wisconsin by the father of my good friend Emily.
With all that midwest love, the recipe was sure to be a winner. And that it was.
Peanut Butter, Banana & Wisconsin Honey Whoopie Pies
Secret ingredient: homemade Wisconsin honey
- 2 C flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 C butter
- 1/4 C shortening
- 1/2 C brown sugar
- 1/2 C sugar
- 2 overripe bananas
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 C milk
- 1 tsp lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. In a glass measuring cup, measure milk and add lemon juice. Mixture will curdle slightly. In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter, shortening and sugars until fluffy. Beat in bananas and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating well. Next, alternately beat in dry mixture and milk until well combined.
Scoop 1 inch balls of dough onto a baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Peanut Butter-Honey Frosting
- 1/2 C butter, softened
- 2 1/4 C powdered sugar
- 1/2 C peanut butter
- 3 tsp honey
- 1 Tbsp half & half or milk
In a large bowl, beat together butter and powdered sugar until creamy. Beat in peanut butter until smooth and well combined. Beat in honey. Pipe or spread frosting onto bottom of one banana pie and top with second pie.