Over the past few weeks, ABC7's Hungry Hound introduced cookies from Argentina and a decadent chocolate cake from the Ritz-Carlton. But now, he's indulging his sweet tooth and heading up to the North Shore to check out a delicious treat.
Sometimes businesses happen by accident. After a mid-life career change and the birth of her daughter, Cindy Kienzle was asked to bake her famous chocolate chip banana bread for a fundraiser.
"And I said, 'Sure, I would do it.' And things sold out in two days in a row and I thought, 'Oh, maybe I do have something here,'" said Kienzle.
What she had was the birth of the Hungry Monkey Baking Company and a new mission.
"I think it says no matter how late in life, no matter how long it takes, that you can always live your passion," Kienzle said.
Her batter contains lots of eggs, vanilla, buttermilk, sugar and slightly ripe bananas.
"I don't like to use bananas that are too ripe," said Kienzle. "I like to use them when they're just spotted."
She purees them so that they're completely incorporated into the bread. Another trick: she coats chocolate chips in flour.
"It helps them so they don't fall to the bottom of your cake," Kienzle said.
Her other big seller is also carrot cake, which includes eggs, buttermilk, oil, cinnamon, flour and chopped pineapple. Several cups of shredded carrots are added with grated coconut and some walnuts. The batter is scooped and poured into individual baking molds and then topped with a few more walnuts. After it's baked, she pours over a buttermilk caramel glaze that seeps into the crevices.
Her third major product is a triple chocolate brownie that would make any chocoholic swoon.
Kienzle says it's hard to believe, but she actually found her calling after the age of 50.
"I'm just so excited that I was finally able to do, sort of live my dream. I've always wanted to do this, and it's never too late," she said.
Kienzle works out of a commercial kitchen in Highland Park, but her baked goods are sold at the Potash Brothers Market on State Street, Sunset Foods stores, and at the following farmers markets:
Northfield Farmer's Market
7 Happ Road, Northfield, IL
Every Saturday from 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Highwood Gourmet Festival Market
17 Highwood Avenue, Highwood, IL
Every Wednesday from 3-8 p.m.