When I was little, and still had to ask permission to leave the dinner table, I would coyly ask my mom if it was okay to go next door to Aunt Laura’s until bed time.
With an “okay” from my mom, my little brother quick on my heels, I would clear my dishes and race through the dining room, down the hall, in to the studio and out the door.
Her front door glowed and the flashes of light through her window let us know that the tv was on and waiting for us. As we knocked and opened the door, she would greet us with such warmth it was like we had not been over the night before.
If I was alone, free from my pesky little brother, she would turn the tv channel to AMC.
Both hoping, as the channel changed, that one of our favorite old movies would be on. If the screen turned black and white, if glamorous ladies with impossibly tiny waists in magnificent ball gowns waltzed, if champagne bubbled away in crystal coupes- we were content. If it turned out to have a musical number- our eyes sparkled like the diamonds around Audrey Hepburn’s neck.
But the younger Anna had another slightly self-serving reason to pop next door for the rest of the night- dessert.
Glass jars of frosted animal cookies, Neapolitan wafers and Oreos were landmarks I could always count on to see on her counter. Never empty, always comfortingly full.
Sometimes she would make me a deal in exchange for an ice cream bar. Or up the ante with a root beer float.
And then on the rare occasion she would make these.
It wasn’t often. I mean look at that decadance. And on a week night no less! But just sometimes she would be in the kitchen as we stormed through her front door, ingredients laid out, waiting for us to make Fried Banana and Chocolate Egg Rolls.
The funny thing is I don’t even know if that is what we called them. One day she just made them and the moment the gooey chocolate and the warm banana touched our tongue we were sold.
Sometimes we would pile ice cream on and watch it melt into puddles around the golden, crispy egg roll wrapper. Sometimes we would smirk and giggle naughtily as she would go to the fridge for a can of whipped cream.
Lately I have been craving these a lot. It has been 12 years since I have lived home next to Aunt Laura. It probably has been longer since I burnt my tongue on the incredibly hot and perfectly delicious filling of a Fried Banana and Chocolate Egg Roll.
That craving has been satisfied. I think the making of them was the part I craved more than the delicious aftermath. Sharing them with J, telling him the story I just told you.
A story about an aunt who would entertain her niece and nephew on so many weeknights when she didn’t have to, letting them commandeer her remote, disrupt her quiet and making sure they always had a sweet note to end the day on.
It never occurred to me that she was probably tired some of those nights. She was probably grumpy some nights and some nights she probably came home after a horrid day at work and a worse commute.
But she never turned us away from her cookie jars or a root beer float. She always ushered us on to her comfy couch- tucking us under as many blankets as she could. Wrapping us up just like the wrapper around the banana and Hershey’s chocolate bar- corners tucked in snug.
Fancy recipes and obscure baking knowledge does not a rememberable bake make.
Sometimes there isn’t even a recipe. Sometimes it is just three ingredients you have in the fridge that you throw together.
But always, it is the sharing and the caring that comes from baking something for someone else. The twinkle in their eyes when you set the plate down in front of them. The simple, naive notion that you can pause the bad and make some good.
A sweet note that lasts much longer than after you lick the chocolate from your plate, put it in the dishwasher and hear your mom walk in to tell you it is time to go to bed.
Here is the recipe for my Aunt Laura’s Fried Banana and Chocolate Egg Rolls. It isn’t much of a recipe and more of an idea, make it your own.
I hope it nudges you to find time one night to end the day on a sweet note with someone you love.
This is a long over due ode to my dear Aunt Laura. My childhood would never have been as sweet as it was if I hadn’t been lucky enough to have her live next door.
Fried Chocolate Banana Rolls
4 egg roll wrappers
- Cut each banana in half
- Place two pieces of chocolate on a wonton wrapper (or spread with Nutella). Place banana on top of the chocolate.
- Wrap the banana and chocolate with the egg roll wrapper like a burrito- sealing ends with water.
- Spray rolls with canola spray.
- Air-fry the banana rolls at 390 for 5 minutes on each side.
- If using oil, follow the instructions on the egg roller wrapper and fry the banana rolls.
- Cut rolls in half and serve with powdered sugar, whipped cream and chocolate drizzle!