Tag Archives: bananas

Chocolate Banana Streusel Muffins

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Maybe it is just me but in my kitchen bananas seem to go from inedible green to perfectly golden yellow then to brown in a matter of days. This leads to the never ending kitchen question is what to do with bananas that are beyond their eating prime. So what is a banana loving cook to do? Enter these tasty banana muffins from Food 52.

Now these aren’t your ordinary banana muffins. Using overly ripe bananas ensures that the muffins are sweet and filled with banana flavor. The batter is then spiced with both cinnamon and ginger but the best part of the muffin, in my opinion, is the streusel topping. Not only does it add a delicious crumbling topping to the muffin but it contains chocolate chips which add a sweetness all their own. So yes you can eat chocolate for breakfast. After all it is paired with bananas.

For the muffins:
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

cup mashed very ripe banana (about 2 medium bananas)

cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 

 

For the streusel:
1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips 

  • Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.
  • Stir in the egg, vanilla, and banana and mix well to combine.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, and ginger.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix just until combined.
  • Divide the batter into the prepared muffin tins.
  • In a small bowl, combine all the streusel ingredients except for the chocolate, mixing with a fork or your fingers until combined.
  • Add the chocolate and mix well.
  • Crumble the streusel topping over the muffins.
  • Bake for 18 to 25 minutes. The tops should feel just set and the edges of the muffin should be starting to turn golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan until cool enough to remove.

Yields 9 muffins

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Banana Bread

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Who doesn’t love banana bread? From a cook’s perspective it is a quick and easy way to use up all of those too ripe bananas.  From the dining perspective, there is nothing better than a warm slice of banana bread for breakfast or a snack with a cup of tea or coffee.

This recipe from Cambridge, Massachusetts’  Flour Bakery is indeed easy to make and always a crowd-pleaser.  The original recipe calls for the addition of ground cinnamon in the batter.  I also add an equal amount of ground nutmeg and have never heard a complaint. This bread has become my go-to bake sale item and I even get special requests to make extra.  Whenever I have extra bananas that need to be used up I’ll make a batch of bread in mini loaf pans and keep them in the freezer until needed.  They freeze beautifully and will fully defrost when left on the counter overnight.

 

FLOUR BAKERY’S FAMOUS BANANA BREAD

1 1/2 cups  all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons  sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream

3 1/2 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed

3/4 cup walnut halves, toasted and chopped (optional)

1)  Position rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 325 F.  Butter a 9 x 5 loaf pan.

2)  In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.

3)  Using a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat sugar and eggs on medium for 5 minutes,   or until light and fluffy.

4)  On low, slowly drizzle in oil.  Don’t pour it all in at once. You want to pour it in over 1 minute, to keep all the air you just beat into the egg-sugar mixture.  Add the mashed bananas, creme fraiche, and vanilla. Continue to mix on low just until combined.

5)  Using a spatula, fold in dry ingredients and nuts (if using) just until thoroughly combined. No flour streaks should be visible and the nuts evenly distributed.  Pour into the greased loaf pan and smooth top.

 6)  Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until golden on top and the center springs back when pressed.  Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes, then pop out of the pan to finish cooling.

The banana bread can be stored tightly wrapped in plastic wrap at room temp up to 3 days.  Or, it can be well wrapped and frozen up to 2 weeks.

Yield: one 9 x 5 loaf or 8 mini loaves

Twenty Five Days of Cookies: Monkey Cookies

 

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Christmas is fifteen days (gulp) away and what better way is there to countdown to the big event than to feature a cookie recipe each day? Think of it as a cookie recipe advent calendar. And to fill that advent calendar I’m featuring twenty five of my favorite holiday cookie recipes that are sure to fill your holidays with cheer. Bake them to fill your cookie trays, bring them to a cookie swap or eat them yourself; they are guaranteed to bring about holiday joy. And if you love baking as much as I do, making them is a fun filled gift unto itself. Enjoy!
When I was in college my alma mater had a cherished tradition of providing pre-bedtime snacks for the students every evening. Called “Milk and Cookies” or “M&Cs”, this 0930 pm ritual was an event we could set our watches to. As the witching hour approached we would anxiously wait outside of the kitchen doors to see what the evening’s snack would be. Sometimes they treats would veer towards the healthy-fresh vegetables and dip or fruit, but at least a couple of times a week M&Cs would be a baked treat. And one of my favorite treats of all time was something that was affectionately called “chipmunk cookies”. These cookies were thin and buttery, crisp and filled with chopped nuts. I thought they were really good at the time and they must have been since I still remember them after all of these years.
With these cookies in mind I set out to create my own, more adult version of my beloved chipmunk cookies. My cookies have the same chopped nuts as the original ones but I’ve added chocolate chips, a healthy dose of spices and bananas (because if they contain fruit they must be healthy, right?). And because of the bananas, I’ve renamed them monkey cookies. They aren’t nearly as crisp as the ones I remember and are more like a banana bread cookie. And to make them extra special, I’ve added a simple sugar glaze. And these cookies are good. So good in fact that they just might rival the originals.
So go ahead and bake up a batch yourself. But to make them a real M&C treat, don’t forget to enjoy them with a glass of cold milk. Wearing pajamas while eating them is optional……..
MONKEY COOKIES

For the cookies:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

1/4 unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cup mashed ripe banana (the riper, the better)

3/4 cup chopped pecans

3/4 cup miniature chocolate chips

For the icing:

3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons milk

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two large cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream shortening and butter together using an electric mixer; add the brown sugar, beating well until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
  • Add eggs and banana to the butter mixture and beat well.
  • Add the flour mixture into batter, stirring well until combined.
  • Fold the pecans and chocolate chips into the batter.
  • Drop the dough by rounded tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. 
  • Bake for 12 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool.
  • To make the icing, combine the confectioner’s sugar with the melted butter, vanilla extract and milk, stirring until smooth.
  • Once the cookies have cooled, drizzle with the icing.

Yields: 36 cookies

Brown Sugar Banana Crepes

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Our trip to Paris this past spring inspired me to perfect my crepe making skills. These simple thin pancakes are just as likely to be sold in upscale restaurants and neighborhood cafes as they are from street vendors.  They can be sweet or savory, plain or filled with meats, cheeses, jams, chocolate or fruit.  I like to think of a crepe as a blank slate on which to build a masterpiece.

Making a proper crepe takes some practice and patience.  Pour too much batter into the pan and you end up with a thick and gloppy mess.  Too little and the edges are too crisp and they are too fragile to flip without breaking them.  A heaping gravy ladle is usually the right amount of batter to fill a 6 inch crepe pan.  I pour the batter into the center of the pan then using circular motions to distribute the batter evenly over the bottom of the pan.  Work quickly though since the batter begins to set immediately.  Use the pan itself to turn the crepes over using a flipping motion.  A spatula or a pair of tongs are unnecessary and only cause the crepes to tear.  Take some time to practice your technique and soon you will be flipping crepes like a pro.

This recipe makes a lot of crepes so feel free to cut it in half.  The first one or two crepes of each batch are usually “throw away” ones for me as I adjust the heat and perfect my technique to plan accordingly.

BROWN SUGAR BANANA CREPES

For the crepes:

1 cup cold water

1 cup milk

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

4 eggs, slightly beaten

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

  • Place all of the ingredients in a blender and puree for 1 minutes.  Alternatively, place all of the ingredients in a large deep bowl and use a stick blender to puree for 1 minute.
  • Cover and allow to sit for at least two hours or overnight.
  • When you are ready to cook the crepes, pre-heat a 6″ crepe pan over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes.  When the pan is hot, lightly spray it with cooking spray.
  • Lift the pan off of the direct heat.  Using a small ladle (a gravy ladle is perfect) place a heaping spoonful of batter in the center of the pan and swirl to evenly coat the bottom of the pan.
  • Return the pan to the stove and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the edges of the crepe begin to curl and small bubbles form on the top of the crepe.
  • Lift the pan off of the heat again and give the pan a firm shake to release the crepe. If it sticks return the pan to the heat again for a few more seconds.
  • Gently flip the crepe with the shake of your wrist.  Return the pan to the heat and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  • Turn the pan upside down over a plate to remove the crepe and repeat the process until all of the batter has been used.

Yields 25-30 6 inch crepes (you will have plenty left over)

For the banana filling

2 ripe but firm bananas (the skin should have some brown spots but be mostly yellow)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • Cut the bananas in thirds then slice lengthwise.  You should get 9 banana slices out of each banana.  Set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a large skillet set over medium-high heat.  Once the butter has melted, add the bananas and saute for 2 minutes per side.
  • In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Sprinkle over the top of the banana-butter mixture and gently stir to combine. Saute for an additional 1 minute.
  • To assemble the crepes, place a crepe on a plate.  Spoon 2-3 banana pieces onto the center of the crepe and fold in the top and bottom.  Gently turn the crepe over so the seam is facing the plate.  Repeat the process with each crepe.
  • Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

Serves 4

Banana Snickerdoodles

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What is better than a snickerdoodle cookie? A banana snickerdoodle! I have fallen in love with these banana infused cookies from my childhood. This recipe, courtesy of the Noble Pig is just as easy as the original recipe. And since it is filled with ripe banana, it is yet another way to use up those ripe bananas you have sitting around. But best of all, it is delicious. So delicious that these cookies have become the new favorite in my house and I need to make a double batch since a single one just isn’t enough.

BANANA SNICKERDOODLES

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tablespoon cream of tarter

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup vegetable shortening

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 medium banana, very ripe

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the coating:

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup sugar

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.
  • In a large bowl cream together the shortening and sugar until well blended.
  • Add in the eggs, banana and vanilla extract, mixing well.
  • Add flour mixture and mix until just blended.
  • Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a shallow bowl.
  • Using a tablespoon sized scoop, form balls with the dough and drop them into the cinnamon and sugar mixture, using your hands to roll the balls until coated. The dough will be very soft but the sugar coating will firm it up.
  • Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
  • Bake for 9 minutes or until the cookies are set and the edges are just beginning to brown.
  • Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to sit for 2 minutes before moving the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yields: 3 dozen cookies

Monkey Cookies

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When I was in college my alma mater had a cherished tradition of providing pre-bedtime snacks for the students every evening. Called “Milk and Cookies” or “M&Cs”, this 0930 pm ritual was an event we could set our watches to. As the witching hour approached we would anxiously wait outside of the kitchen doors to see what the evening’s snack would be. Sometimes they treats would veer towards the healthy-fresh vegetables and dip or fruit, but at least a couple of times a week M&Cs would be a baked treat. And one of my favorite treats of all time was something that was affectionately called “chipmunk cookies”. These cookies were thin and buttery, crisp and filled with chopped nuts. I thought they were really good at the time and they must have been since I still remember them after all of these years.
With these cookies in mind I set out to create my own, more adult version of my beloved chipmunk cookies. My cookies have the same chopped nuts as the original ones but I’ve added chocolate chips, a healthy dose of spices and bananas (because if they contain fruit they must be healthy, right?). And because of the bananas, I’ve renamed them monkey cookies. They aren’t nearly as crisp as the ones I remember and are more like a banana bread cookie. And to make them extra special, I’ve added a simple sugar glaze. And these cookies are good. So good in fact that they just might rival the originals.
So go ahead and bake up a batch yourself. But to make them a real M&C treat, don’t forget to enjoy them with a glass of cold milk. Wearing pajamas while eating them is optional……..
MONKEY COOKIES

For the cookies:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

1/4 unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cup mashed ripe banana (the riper, the better)

3/4 cup chopped pecans

3/4 cup miniature chocolate chips

For the icing:

3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons milk

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two large cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream shortening and butter together using an electric mixer; add the brown sugar, beating well until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
  • Add eggs and banana to the butter mixture and beat well.
  • Add the flour mixture into batter, stirring well until combined.
  • Fold the pecans and chocolate chips into the batter.
  • Drop the dough by rounded tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. 
  • Bake for 12 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool.
  • To make the icing, combine the confectioner’s sugar with the melted butter, vanilla extract and milk, stirring until smooth.
  • Once the cookies have cooled, drizzle with the icing.

Yields: 36 cookies

 

Chocolate Banana Muffins

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What do you do with your bananas that are past their prime? My usual go-to recipe is banana bread since simply put, it is just so good. But sometimes you want something different. Like chocolate. And because chocolate and bananas are a natural pairing why not make chocolate banana muffins?

These muffins, adapted from mainetoday.com are slightly sweet, moist and yes, chocolatey. Because the recipe doesn’t use a lot of sugar these are definitely more muffin than cake. And if you use really ripe bananas, the fruit will add sweetness as well. So how can you go wrong with these? There is even fruit in them!

CHOCOLATE BANANA MUFFINS

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3 medium bananas, mashed
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips
Granulated sugar for sprinkling (optional)

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Coat a 12 cup muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, beat the egg until slightly foamy. Add the mashed bananas, oil, yogurt and vanilla; combine well.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Mix in the chocolate chips.
  • Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full. Sprinkle the tops with sugar, if using, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until muffins are puffed up and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few crumbs attached.
  • Cool slightly on a wire rack before eating.

Yields: 12 muffins

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