If I had to guess, I probably spend about 75% of my waking hours thinking about, talking about, preparing and/or eating food, often times simultaneously. A big part of that is brainstorming ideas for new dishes. I find inspiration everywhere – magazines, pinterest, movies…the guy at the grocery store who kinda looked like Guy Fieri which then reminded me of his horrible frozen s’mores pizza that went viral which then inspired me to create a healthy version of s’mores.
Like I said, inspiration is everywhere.
The problem is, I never write my ideas down. You’d think I would have learned to bring a notepad with me by now. It makes me a little sad to think how many delicious dishes I’ve missed out on simply because I forgot about them.
I was first inspired to make these bites last November when I recreated po’e, a dense banana bread the hubs and I fell in love with on our honeymoon to Easter Island. When you say banana, I say let’s add peanut butter and chocolate. Sadly, this amazing idea fell victim to my short term memory.
These bites were surely meant to be because the same day I saw Deanna’s blog brulee recipe roundup featuring my po’e, I also saw The Recipe Redux’s newest monthly theme – Bars & Bites for Brown Bags. Something clicked and I instantly remembered my idea!
This recipe is all about bananas – it calls for a whopping eight of them! Although I don’t really enjoy snacking on bananas, I always have a bunch in my kitchen. Their creamy texture and higher sugar content make bananas one of the most versatile ingredients in cooking. Use them to thicken and naturally sweeten a smoothie or smoothie bowl, make the creamiest dairy-free ice cream or as a sugar and butter substitute in baking, like I did with my chocolate oat cookies. You can even blend them into a dairy free milk that’s much easier to make then homemade nut milk.
Bananas get a lot of undeserved hate. I’m sure you’ve seen the annoying pop up with the browning bananas, listing it as one of the “five foods to avoid for a flatter stomach.” Pffft! The main reason bananas get a bad reputation is due to their higher natural sugar content compared to other fruits. While added sugars are most certainly the biggest culprit when it comes to excess pounds, natural sugars are entirely different. Naturally occurring sugars are those that are found naturally in foods, like fructose in fruit, lactose in dairy and the very small amounts of sugar that are found in grains and some vegetables, like carrots. Because these sugars in these foods are paired with fiber (or in the case of dairy, fat and protein), the sugar does not spike your blood sugar and contribute to weight gain the same way that added sugars do. Still, there is a thing as too much natural sugar at once, so do try to keep your servings of fruit and dairy to approximately 1 cup in a sitting.
Of course, being a whole food, bananas contain hundreds of other nutrients. Everyone knows about their potassium content – bananas also contain vitamin C, manganese, copper, and biotin. Bananas are a particularly heart healthy food – the potassium helps lower blood pressure, acting almost like an anti-salt, and the plant stanol and soluble fiber content helps lower cholesterol. Bananas contain a type of fiber called pectin, and the concentration of pectin only increases as the fruit ripens. Pectin is especially great for digestion, easing constipation and possibly even stomach ulcers.
These bananas bites have a moist, almost custardy texture and are best served cold. So instead of packing it in a brown bag, maybe stash it in your vintage TMNT lunch tin with an ice pack. Cause you’ve got one of those too, right? Right??
- 4 cups mashed banana, from 6-8 bananas
- 1 cup oat flour
- ⅓ cup coconut sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
- ⅓ cup peanut butter
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a food processor, blend banana, oat flour, coconut sugar and vanilla extract until well combined. Mix in the chocolate. Pour half the mixture into an oiled baking dish. Drizzle the peanut butter over the mixture, then pour the rest of the mixture over the top.
- Bake 35-40 minutes until firm.
- Remove from oven, set aside and cool.
- Once cool, slice into cubes and serve room temperature or cold.