Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

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I hate doing the same things over and over again.

Repeating myself because you didn’t listen to me the first time I said that awesome thing I said. Getting up after just having sat down because I forgot my water on the counter. Painting my nails AGAIN because I always seem to paint them when I am the most antsy I could ever possibly be. Laundry. Hearing the same commercial on three different radio stations, play some tunes man!

But, there are exceptions.

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Playing my song obsession of the moment twice in a row. Or three times, who’s counting? Finding an adorable outfit and wearing it twice in the same week. Rewinding a part in a movie that made you laugh so hard you almost peed just so you can almost pee again! Playing that level of Angry Birds until you get all three stars.

And most importantly, making a recipe that you just LOVE over and over again. And in my kitchen, that’s a pretty big deal. Recipes rarely get a repeat performance. So many recipes, so little time.

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But once in a while I make something delicious that I can’t stop thinking about. Like these bars.

Soft and chewy oatmeal bars with a great hit of banana flavor, speckled with chocolate chips, baked and served warm. Don’t let the oatmeal fool you, these are breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert, if you ask me! Customize them to your liking: add peanut butter cups/chips, toss in some nuts, top with ice cream, whatever you like!

Make these and eat them. Then make them again. Then eat them again. Again. What a lovely vicious cycle.

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Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
Yield about 12-16 servings

Ingredients:

1 very ripe banana (mine was 115 g)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup all purpose flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
2/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8″ glass baking dish with foil and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

In a large bowl, mash the banana with a fork and then add the oil and brown sugar. With a whisk, mix well until there are no sugar lumps left.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and oats until combined. Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients with a rubber spatula until combined. Fold in chocolate chips until evenly distributed.

Pat batter down evenly into the prepared pan with the rubber spatula. Bake for 25 minutes, or until edges are golden and the center looks set. Let cool before cutting into squares. Or throw caution to the wind and eat them warm straight from the pan. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from Eat, Live Run

Crazytown Peanut Butter Banana Bread

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Let me clarify a point: when I say ‘crazytown’ I mean ‘holy cow, there is so much good stuff in this bread and my impatience doesn’t allow me to list it all.’ I DO NOT mean Crazytown the band that sang that maddeningly catchy song ‘Butterfly’ way back in the day.

But I won’t lie, I liked them. I thought Shifty was cute (for like a week HA!) I know every word to the entire song.

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I used to have problems. Don’t verify that with my hubby, he’ll tell you I still have problems. He calls it issues, I call it awesome!!

There is a whole lot of awesome going on in this bread: peanut butter banana bread studded with mini peanut butter cups, snickers, chocolate chips AND caramel. I added some whole wheat pastry flour, you know… to make it “healthy.” I told you, crazytown!!

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And I just couldn’t help myself, I never can leave well enough alone, I drizzled the top with melted bittersweet chocolate. Crazytown.

Come my lady, come come my lady. You’re my butterfly, sugar baby. Oh gosh…

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Crazytown Peanut Butter Banana Bread
Yields one 8×4″ loaf

Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or more AP flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil (you can also use canola)
1 large egg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 oz mini peanut butter cups (I used these)
8 mini snickers, chopped
2 oz milk chocolate chips
8 caramels, chopped

Note: I used an 8×4″ pan but you can use a standard 9×5″ you loaf will be slightly thinner and will bake faster, so keep an eye on it! Also, go nuts with the mix-ins: add toffee bits, different candy bars, nuts, toasted coconut, etc.

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350F. Generously grease your loaf pan  with butter or spray with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together your flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until combined, set aside.

In a large bowl stir together your bananas, peanut butter, oil, egg, sugars and vanilla extract. Whisk vigorously for about 30 seconds to ensure that everything is thoroughly combined. The batter will be a bit lumpy because of the bananas, that’s ok!

Pour your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients and, with a rubber spatula, fold everything together until just combined (the flour JUST disappears.)

Fold in your mini peanut butter cups, snickers and chocolate chips. Spread half of the batter into your prepared pan. Sprinkle the chopped caramels over the batter and give them a light press with your hand. Top with the rest of your batter and smooth the top with your spatula.

Bake for approx 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached (always check your baked goods early, every oven is different and there’s nothing worse than a rock-solid loaf).

Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then loosen the edges of the pan with a plastic knife and remove from loaf pan, transferring bread to a cooling rack. Cool completely, or don’t, just don’t burn your tongue. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from Cookies & Cups

Banana Bread Pancakes

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When I was in high school, I was not your typical sleeps-til-noon teenager. Nope, not me. I spent every weekday morning getting out of bed at 5am to be able to get up, shower, beautify, collect my things and be out the door on time to catch the bus. So when the weekend came, sleeping in meant 8am.

Now, being an adult, I seem to have found my love for sleep. I usually wake up no earlier than 10am on my days off (unless certain circumstances arise) and sometimes I can even sleep until noon, depending on how late I stayed up baking the night before.

This newly found adoration for my comfy bed and warm blankie sadly interferes with the other love of my life: pancakes for breakfast.

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After staring at the clock in disbelief (and other various distractions), I’m usually ready to decide what to make for breakfast around noon. Then I get distracted some more and I either end up skipping breakfast all together or having pancakes at 1:30pm.

It’s National Pancake Day, don’t be like me: start your day off right, enjoy your pancakes for breakfast :)

These pancakes taste like you whipped up banana bread dough and accidentally spilled it in your skillet. It tastes exactly like banana bread; but with the whole wheat flour, small amounts of sugar and butter, you can feel good about piling 4 onto your plate. They are fluffy, thick and full of delicious flavor.

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Banana Bread Pancakes
adapted from How Sweet Eats

makes 4 pancakes

Ingredients:

2/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
4 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large ripe banana, mashed
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Instructions:

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg, whisking until combined. In a meauring cup, measure out the milk and vanilla extract and give it a quick stir. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir with a rubber spatula. At this point, the mixture will still be dry. Add in mashed banana and mix thoroughly. Add melted butter and stir until batter is somewhat smooth.

Heat a skillet over medium heat. When hot, spritz with non-stick cooking spray and using a 1/3 cup measure, spoon batter into rounds and cook until bubbles form on top and the pancake looks set around the edges – about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for a minute or two more. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve hot with butter and syrup, or however you wish.

Note: If you don’t have whole wheat pastry flour, you can use 1 cup of regular whole wheat + 1 cup of all purpose. Or 2 cups of all purpose.

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Classic Banana Bundt Cake – TWD (Rewind)

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I know, I know. This isn’t what you came to see.

It’s Monday night and I finally remember the impending TWD. I quickly consult my lovely Blackberry Memo clearly marked “Baking (TWD)” and find that I don’t have everything that I need and let’s face it, I’m not going out. I’m lazy, see? So instead I become as resourceful as I can, grab the bible…erm book and flip through it looking for great recipes that I previously missed out on, telling myself it’s ok to miss a recipe once in a while.

My intentions are good, cross my heart. As long as I’m virtually feeding you SOMETHING delicious, I get a free pass… right?

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So instead of this week’s TWD pick you get to hear about the black bananas I found in the back of my fridge (that I’m almost certain have been there for a month) and see this beautiful mini bundt instead of the caramel pots de creme you came to see. Let’s pretend it’s a fair trade. :)

I halved the recipe, used greek yogurt (which may explain the thickness of the batter) and baked in a 6 cup bundt pan.  This bundt cake is dense and tender. It comes together like a dream! You mash your bananas and everything else is toss in and mix. Dorie says to rap the pan against your counter to release some of the bubbles and to even the batter but my cake batter was so thick and heavy (think: a thick muffin batter) that it was impossible and unnecessary to do so. I leveled it off with my spatula, popped it in the oven, said a mini prayer and baked it up. It baked up beautifully golden brown and smelled amazing. The cake is delicious on its own but I just couldn’t stop myself from adding some honey glaze all over it! Sue me. But I did forget the ceremonious chocolate chunks. Sadness.

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For the honey glaze I whisked together 3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons of honey and a light splash of heavy cream until uniform. If it’s too thick to pour add a small bit more cream.

For the recipe to this fab cake, click here.

If you love banana, try this one. I bet it would be great baked up in a square pan topped with cream cheese frosting, caramel drizzle, or even a peanut butter buttercream. Then served right out of the pan to friends with forks in hand.

Picture 122 copyFor the caramel pots de creme, head on over to Peggy the Baker for the recipe. I’ll be making it soon. But I’m sunburnt. And lazy. End excuses.

 

 

Chocolate Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Caramel Buttercream

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And now, a haiku dedicated to my black bananas:

Unloved and hiding.
Begging for a second life,
In batter they go.

That’s my attempt at something cute at 10:30pm after a tough run, a tortilla for dinner, a headache, and a fitful night of sleep. Leave me be.

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I saw these on Tracey’s blog a while ago and I was overwhelmed by the cuteness of them and promptly remembered two black straggling bananas that needed a new home as their stay in my fridge was coming to an end. You see, they party loudly late at night and it keeps me awake. So they had to go.

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Chocolate and nanners are a great match. Nanners? I don’t think I’ll be saying that again. Next time I’ll toss in some peanut butter chips and drizzle with melty peanut butter just to mix things up. The cake portion was very soft and moist, chocolatey and banana-y, perfectly balanced. Topped off with this super easy peanut butter caramel frosting, a drizzle of chocolate or caramel (or both ;P) and you’re good to go! Add a chocolate covered espresso bean, if you’re fancy.

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Chocolate Banana Cupcakes
adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

1/2 cup heavy cream (recipe states coconut milk but this is what I had on hand)
1/2 cup ripe banana, mashed (about 1 banana, although I used 2 bananas)
1/3 cup vegetable oil (recipe states canola oil, again use what you have)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder (I subbed black cocoa for 2 TBSP of the regular cocoa)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

To make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

(A semi-helpful tip to quickly mash your bananas: break up bananas into a mixer bowl and whiz them around on med-high speed until they resemble barely chunky baby food. You can achieve this with a bowl and a hand mixer, but this creates more dishes ;P)

In a medium bowl, whisk the mashed banana, heavy cream, sugar, oil and vanilla until well combined. The mixture won’t be completely smooth, but mix vigorously to get out as many of the large lumps as possible. In a second medium bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. (Sift your cocoa into this mixture if it appears clumpy). Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients and gently whisk (or fold with a rubber spatula) until flour just disappears.

Distribute the batter evenly among the liners, filling each about 1/2 – 2/3 full (an ice cream scoop works great for this). Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the cupcakes spring back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the muffin pan to a wire rack. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes then transfer them to the wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 12 cupcakes

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Peanut Butter Caramel Buttercream
from Cook’s Illustrated

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (not natural)
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
pinch table salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon caramel sauce

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (I used the paddle because I’m a rebel. Or I don’t read the recipe well enough), beat butter and peanut butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about a minute. Add the confectioners’ sugar and salt to the bowl and beat at low speed just until the sugar is moistened, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat the mixture on med-high until fully combined. You’ll notice it taking on a lighter color and a more uniform texture, this is perfect. Finally, mix in the vanilla and caramel sauce and beat on med-high to incorporate. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again then beat on medium speed until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and garnish with caramel drizzle, melted chocolate or anything your heart desires.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups (enough to frost 10-12 cupcakes)

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