By contributor
updated 8/9/2010 1:41:06 PM ET 2010-08-09T17:41:06

Recipe test

Recipe: Chocolate, banana and graham cracker icebox cake (on this page)

Recipe: Chocolate, banana and graham cracker icebox cake

Image: Grill fire
Knox County, Tenn., Fire Prevent

In the South, we have a tradition of ushering recipes from era to era and family to family. Secret sauces are passed down from generation to generation. That’s certainly the case here. Our Barbecue Seasoning and Barbecue Sauce have evolved over time, and the versions that follow have benefited from the contributions of countless kin through the years.

Now that we are passing our family secrets along to you, it’s your job to share them with others. We enjoy changing up recipes and seeing what happens, and we encourage you to do the same. Who knows? You may come up with a secret sauce or rub that’s better than our own!

Of course, the keys to full flavored barbecue — indeed, one of the keys to any great tasting dish — are fresh ingredients and spices. Don’t be reaching in the back of the cupboard for some tired old tin of paprika. You want great ribs? Start with fresh spices.

Everyone down South knows that a good grill seasoning (or “dry rub,” as it’s called in Memphis) begins with paprika. We use the basic paprika that is not labeled “sweet” or “hot.” The flavor is subtly sweet, rich, and yet mild, so it blends beautifully with grilled meats. Sugar and onion powder provide a sweet and savory counterpoint.

Keep in mind that you will be cooking over charcoal and hickory (or your preferred wood), which will add tremendous flavor to the meat. For that reason, this seasoning blend is fairly simple and straightforward.

For the best flavor, marinate the spice-rubbed meats overnight in the refrigerator, so they can absorb and “breathe in” the flavors.

  • 15 ounces of milk chocolate, chopped
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • Salt
  • 3 cups of heavy cream
  • 20 graham cracker sheets
  • 4 or 5 ripe bananas, very thinly sliced lengthwise
  • Whipped cream

Line a 5-by-10-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Place yolks and a pinch of salt in another heatproof bowl.

Bring cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Slowly pour cream into bowl with yolks, whisking constantly.

Return mixture to saucepan and set over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 8 minutes.

Immediately strain through a fine sieve set over chocolate.

Stir until chocolate melts and is smooth. Refrigerate about 4 hours, stirring occasionally until thick.

Spread 1 cup of chocolate mixture evenly into bottom of loaf pan. Top with a layer of 4 graham crackers, trimmed to fit. Spread 1\2 cup of chocolate over top and cover with some bananas.

Spread 1\2 cup of chocolate over bananas and top with a later of 4 trimmed graham crackers.

Repeat with remaining chocolate, bananas and graham crackers until you reach the top of the plan. Finish with graham crackers.

Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.


Garnish with whipped cream and cut into slices.

Serving Size

Serves 8-10

Explainer: Twitter: You're doing it wrong!

  • Long gone are the novelty days of Twitter when filling 140 characters or less with random bits of inner monologue was perfectly acceptable. "Off to Chick-Fil-A to get mah chick’n fix" doesn’t make for a passable post anymore. Well, it shouldn’t, anyway.

    With Twitter hosting approximately 45,000 new tweets each minute, they can’t all be life savers, vital voices and world changers, but they can be small on words and big on substance.

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  • Thou shalt not kill

    While it remains technically impossible to take a life via a tweet (try as the "Avada Kadavra" killing-curse of the "Harry Potter" crowd might), Twitter's virtual body count is staggering. Miley Cyrus, Jeff Goldblum, Rick Astley, Tom Cruise and poor thrice-"killed" Bill Cosby are just a few of the high-profile victims.

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    Before relying on random-dude-you're-following for late-breaking celebrity death buzz, and then perpetuating the gruesome rumor yourself, do a Google search, visit a news site or just turn on the TV. Virtually any source would be more reliable than Twitter.

  • Thou shalt not be mundane

    The easiest way around the mundane Twitter trap is to employ self-control. Feel a "Going to the mall. W00t!" coming on? Just don't tweet it.

    Non-Twitter types tend to believe tweets are inane, play-by-play updates of each and every boring event a narcissist experiences. "Going to the bathroom, BRB," "I <3 doing yoga," "Mmm. Taco time," etc.

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    Image: Image: man in his underwear using a laptop on the couch
    Getty Images Stock
    There are some things that just don't belong on Twitter.
  • Thou shalt not MACROblog

    Image: Kevin Smith
    Matt Sayles  /  AP
    Kevin Smith

    "(5/5) You wanna enjoy movies again? Stop reading about them & just go to the movies," filmmaker Kevin Smith suggested in what could have been a great tweet. "It's improved film/movie appreciation immensely for me."

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  • Thou shalt not bombard followers with inspirational quotes

    Image: Paula Abdul
    Chris Pizzello  /  AP
    She's baaaaaack! OK, maybe not quite yet, but it's possible if producer Nigel Lythgoe returns to "American Idol."

    "'Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself," Paula Abdul recently began a double-offence, two-part tweet. "'And no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dream.' --Paulo Coelho"


    Remember those motivational posters, filled with apt quotes and encouragement, that were all the rage in the 1990s? They're frequently used as props for LOLcats now, because somewhere along the line, we all realized generic self-help blurbs are funnier than they are helpful.

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  • Thou shalt not skew the trending topics

    Want to know why Cedric Diggory, the "Harry Potter" character portrayed by "Twilight" star Robert Pattinson, is randomly topping Twitter's Trending Topics list? Good luck.

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    Sometimes the TT rundown is informative ("Bill Cosby's dead?") and sometimes it's interesting ("Bill Cosby's not dead"). But every now and then the trend isn't so clear. Eventually the only answer anyone can get without sifting through thousands of tweets is that Cedric Diggory is trending because Cedric Diggory is trending. Stop the madness.

    Warner Bros.
    Alas, there is no known spell for decoding Trending Topics.
  • Remember not #everywordbelongsbehindahashtag

    Image: whale
    Every time you abuse hashtags, you make the Fail Whale cry.

    Hashtags (or #) are the context-adding reference points that tie an individual's tweets to the larger community. That’s the idea. Every now and then they’re just the punchline that ends an otherwise boring entry: "Ow! My stomach! #chipotlesrevengeistotallyworthit." Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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  • Thou shalt not post tweetpeats

    Stop retweeting everything Roger Ebert types.

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  • Thou shalt not tweet annoying inside jokes

    Image: Oblivious texting
    Ariel Skelley  /  Getty Images stock
    Hey -- remember that one time I was tweeting you from my bike and ...

    You know what's hilarious? That thing you did that one time with your pal. You know who else thinks that's hilarious? Your pal.

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    "LOL! Guess who’s still at it?"

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    Inside jokes (along with Twitter-flirting, secrets and TMI): the reason direct messages were created.

  • You're (probably) not a doctor, so don't play one on Twitter

    Image: Demi Moore
    Evan Agostini  /  AP file
    Demi Moore reportedly uses blood-sucking leeches to optimize her health.

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  • Honor the exception to the rule

    For every rule, there's the exception that proves it. One-time Twitter hater and now power-posting newbie Kanye West proves them all.

    West teams his enthusiasm for the medium with his ego of magnificent proportions and comes away as the man who can post no wrong. Mundane, multi-part tweets paired with superfluous hashtags and a hefty dose of exclamation marks work for West (who, it seems, "might be having the best weekever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

    Just as important as knowing the rules is knowing when to break them.

    Ree Hines freely admits she’s a frequent Twitter sinner. Follow @ReeHines and behold as she fails to follow her own advice.


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