The Elvis


Why did Elvis Presley love the banana, peanut butter, and bacon sandwich that his mother used to make for him? “Because it’s delicious!” says executive chef Jason Paluska of The Lark in Santa Barbara. “I’ve always been enamored by the epic ridiculousness of the combination,” he says, citing its balance of salty and sweet flavors.


For his open-faced spin on Presley’s favorite sandwich, Paluska uses banana bread from chef Emilie Sandven of Helena Avenue Bakery in Santa Barbara, slicing it thick and topping it with peanut butter, black peppered bacon, and wildflower honey. Sandven’s recipe follows Paluska’s below.

View the Recipe

Makes 1 loaf




Makes 1 loaf

1 stick butter (4 ounces)
2–3 medium-sized bananas
(about 11⁄4 to 11⁄2 cups mashed)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 eggs
11⁄2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
13⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon baking powder
3⁄4 teaspoon baking soda


Preheat the oven to 350°F.


Melt butter in a small saucepan or microwave and set aside.


In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine bananas and sugar. Mix on low speed for about 5 minutes to mash them. Add eggs one by one with mixer running. Slowly pour in melted butter as mixer continues to run. Add vanilla extract and salt, and mix again. Scrape down sides of the mixing bowl.


In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda. Add dry ingredients to banana mixture and mix until combined.


Butter a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Pour batter into pan. Bake until banana bread is golden brown and internal temperature is 200°F (or an inserted toothpick comes out clean), about one hour. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.



The ultimate snack and super trendy right now is hummus.


We craft it in the traditional style. Perfect for dipping veggies, baguette slices, or the center of your crudité platter.

View the Recipe

Yield: Approximately 5 Cup




Chickpeas 2C dry
Lemon juice 1/4C (2oz)
Garlic roasted (puree) 1Tbsp
Tahini 1/2C
Cumin, ground 1 Tbsp
salt to taste
Za’atar for garnish
EVOO garnish


Soak chickpeas overnight in water.
Rinse chickpeas then place in a large pot and cover the beans with clean water at least a few inches.


Bring beans to boil, reduce heat and simmer until desired tenderness is achieved. You may need to add more water as the beans cook.


Strain the beans but keep the cooking liquid.
In a food processor combine chickpeas, Lemon juice, Garlic, Tahini, and Cumin. Process. Slowly add the cooking liquid until a smooth consistency is achieved.


Season with salt to taste. You may add more garlic and lemon juice at this point as well.


To serve, allow to cool to room temperature, sprinkle as much or as little Za’atar seasoning as you’d like and drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Chocolate Budino


A sweet and chocolately dessert or afternoon snack.


Impress family and friends with Helena Avenue Bakery’s Chocolate Boudino. A smooth and sweet treat, perfect for a family BBQ dessert or a friend’s afternoon baby shower.

View the Recipe

Makes 6-8 servings



7 oz bittersweet chocolate 

1 1/2 oz milk chocolate 

1/2 C whole milk 

6 egg yolks 

1/3 C granulated sugar 

2 C heavy cream 



Preheat oven to 300° Fahrenheit. Heat the water in a double boiler, add chocolate to upper pot and heat until melted, and remove from heat. In a separate pot, heat the milk. Place yolks and sugar into a mixing bowl and whisk until blended. Slowly whisk the mixture into the warmed milk. Strain milk mixture into chocolate and stir until combined. 


Heat 1 c of heavy cream until simmering and stir into chocolate mixture. Stir in remaining cup of cream. Pour into a baking pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil.  Place the pan into a larger baking pan and fill up with water until halfway up the pan.


Bake for 50 – 60 minutes until sides are set and center is loose and a bit runny. Whisk until smooth and strain again to make sure there are no lumps. Spoon into individual serving dishes and cool down in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Helena’s Pie Dough


Fall is Pie season!


We love pies because they can be served as the perfect afternoon snack or as a sweet ending to your holiday dinner. The secret to Helena’s Pie Dough is in the sake…..

View the Recipe



10 cups All Purpose Flour
3 tbls salt
3 lbs. unsalted butter
Iced sake (increments based on consistency)


Mix dry and work in butter by hand. Add iced sake in small amounts until dough comes together. Wrap and chill until ready to bake.


Bake: Mold evenly in pie tin about 1/4 inch thick. Pinch rim and fork-hole. Pre-bake with baking beans and parchment paper at 325 degrees F for 25 minutes. Rotate every 7 minutes as every oven is different so be cautious and watch carefully.

Stacked Gingerbread Cookie
Christmas Trees


Turn a holiday favorite into a forest of delight!

Helena Avenue Bakery’s Stephanie Vega takes gingerbread cookies to a whole new level!

View the Recipe


3/4 cup unsalted butter

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

3/4 cup molasses

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon allspice or cloves

1 large egg

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour



In a saucepan set over low heat, or in the microwave, melt butter, then stir in the brown sugar, molasses, salt, and spices.

Transfer the mixture to a medium-sized mixing bowl, let it cool to lukewarm, and beat in the egg.

Whisk the baking powder and soda into the flour, and then stir these dry ingredients into the molasses mixture.

Divide the dough in half, and pat each half into a thick rectangle. Wrap well, and refrigerate for 1 hour or longer. The dough may be sticky and hard to roll if not thoroughly chilled, so make sure it’s cold before continuing.

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Get out several baking sheets; there’s no need to grease them, though lining with parchment saves effort on cleanup.

Once the dough has chilled, take one piece of dough out of the refrigerator, and flour a clean work surface. Roll the dough 1/8″ to 1/4″ thick; the thinner you roll the dough, the crispier the cookies will be. Flour both the top and bottom of the dough if it starts to stick. Alternatively, place the dough on parchment, and put a sheet of plastic wrap over it as you roll, pulling the plastic to eliminate wrinkles as necessary when rolling; this will keep dough from sticking without the need for additional flour.

Cut out shapes with a floured cookie cutter, cutting them as close to one another as possible to minimize waste.

Transfer the cookies to ungreased cookie sheets (or, if you’ve rolled right onto the parchment, remove the dough scraps between the cookies). Bake the cookies just until they’re slightly brown around the edges 8 to 12 minutes, or until they feel firm. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for several minutes, or until they’re set. Transfer them to a rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Christmas Trees:

Stack decorated gingerbread cookies from largest to smallest (at top) while frosting is not quit set (it serves as the glue). Top with a star or angel shaped (or whatever you choose) gingerbread cookie.  Wow your friends and family.

Chocolate Dipped Churro Donut


This is a recipe for baked donuts (easier for the home cook) – you’ll need a muffin tin.

View the Recipe


2c AP Flour

1.5c sugar
2tsp baking powder
1tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg beaten
1 1/4 c Whole milk
2 Tbls unsalted butter – melted
1 vanilla bean
Mix all the dry ingredients and sift
Mix all wet ingredients
mix wet and dry together WELL
Fill muffin tins 3/4 full


Bake at 350f for 17 minutes rotating halfway through
Use a cake tester to see if the dough is cooked all the way through


1/2c sugar in the raw
1/4 c ground cinnamon
apply after doughnut comes out of tin and slightly hot


Chocolate Sauce
1c Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chip
1c heavy Cream
1/2 tsp Black Pepper ground
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon


In a medium mixing bowl add chocolate
Bring cream to simmer and pour over chocolate
Mix well
whisk in dry spices
Dip doughnut