Several months ago I posted about the devastation of the vanilla bean crops and market right now, and resulting worldwide shortage and huge price increases. Shortly thereafter I was talking with the folks at Rodelle Kitchen - who are famous for their premium baking products and gourmet spices, and more specifically, a line of pure vanilla products that I have used and loved for years.
I know that many of you are VERY interested in natural and organic products - and I wanted to share with you that Rodelle does so much more behind the scenes in terms of sustaining and giving back to the vanilla growing regions. Who knew that they have quietly been involved with international support programs and environmental projects as well? Like my Mom taught me, quality ingredients make all the difference when baking and cooking - and given the chance to use both quality ingredients and support an ethical company? That is something that I can truly get behind!
You've probably also noticed that it is getting harder and harder to find quality ingredients at your local grocery store or market - they are downsizing both product selection and inventory - which means that it is harder to find not only specialty ingredients, but even those products that we use every day. I have new appreciation for my sweet friend Annie who lives in Saudi Arabia and pays unbelievable prices to ship American products to her "sandbox kitchen".
Many of the Rodelle products that I previously could regularly find on the Costco, Target, Walmart and Giant Eagle shelves are no longer being carried - they have flipped over to "store brand" products to increase their market share, so I do a little more advance planning now and order directly from Rodelle or Amazon.
While these are cooling down and my kitchen smells so wonderful, it's time to get the frosting started.
So thick and creamy, it spreads so easily on top of the cooled Banana Bars. You can twirl and swirl it to your hearts content! And then pop it in the refrigerator so that it chills and sets. These Banana Bars actually taste even better the day after you make them - it gives the flavors time to settle and meld together, and they are so moist and flavorful that it is worth the wait!
Every time that I make these, my kids ask why I don't make them more often, because they are their FAVORITE! (Of course, that's what they say about Krispie Bars and Brownies too!) I guess you just can't go wrong with simple recipes made with quality ingredients and love!