I have yet to speak of my fondness for using bananas, avocados, applesauce and yogurt as fat replacements in baking recipes. Hungry Girl was my initial inspiration some six or seven years ago. Back then, I was working atop a Corner Bakery in Chicago. Every morning the smell of buttery muffins, sweet scones, and sinful croissants would seduce my senses and question my resolve. To be sure, there were days I made a B line for the bakery and not the office. But, thankfully, most days the smell of their rich offerings reminded me I’d be better off wearing the fragrance on my clothes rather than as an accessory in my cheeks and thighs.
I know what you’re thinking – baking is a science and there are some rules which need to be followed to achieve success. I make no claim that “healthier” recipes taste like the originals they aim to duplicate. They can’t. And I know there are critics out there who say, “just eat the ‘real’ darn thing – live a little!” (Or my husband’s tagline: “Don’t mess with perfection!”) I savor the “real” thing. But I can’t do it every day with a clear conscience. So I more than make do with the help of fruit, fat-free yogurt, and healthy fats. With their help, my made-over look- and smell-alikes are undeniably delectable and satisfying.
I’ll slowly commit my “cleaned-up” recipes to paper but, for now, here’s my favorite brown-banana-use-up recipe (modified from Baking Bites).
Banana Oatmeal Cookies (Cakes)
These little gems are crisp around the edges and bread-like in the center. Old-fashioned oats add a chewy, grainy texture that make the cookies a fairly sustantial snack. I’m feeling pretty full from the four I devoured while typing this post. FHE has a couple in his palm, too – looks like soccer practice didn’t go as intended…. or maybe it did.
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar (or 1/4 cup Splenda brown sugar blend)
1 medium ripe banana
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups oats (I used rolled oats. Quick oats work as well and give a slightly smoother texture.)
1 cup dark chocolate chips (or any mix-in)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl cream together butter and banana. Mix in the sugars, agave nectar and egg.
- On low speed mix in flour mixture. Finally, mix in oats and chocolate chips.
- Use ice cream scoop to drop dough on prepared baking sheet.
- Refrigerate the cookies while oven preheats to 350 degrees F. (This prevents the cookies from spreading too quickly.)
- Bake for 11-12 minutes until lightly browned around the edges. Cookies should puff slightly.
- Cool for about 5 minutes before transferring.