Banana Sweet Potato Bread

Banana Sweet Potato Bread 4
Some things you just get a gut feeling about. When you have too many bananas, and too many sweet potatoes and get that gut feeling about a sweet potato banana bread, you go with that feeling.
Banana Sweet Potato Bread
I had no reason to believe that this recipe would turn out even mediocre, because I was sort of making it up as I went, but it turned out marvelously! I love naturally sweetening by using sweet fruits and veggies. Nature has so many options. Sweet potatoes, apples, carrots, beets … the list goes on and on. Can’t wait to see where the next surplus of produce takes me.Banana Sweet Potato Bread 2
Banana Sweet Potato Bread
Recipe heavily adapted from The Minimalist Baker
Ingredients:
  • 2 large very ripe bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup oat bran
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 3/4 cup sweet potato puree (I just bake mine whole until tender and scoop out the flesh)
 Preparation:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease or spray a loaf pan with nonstick spray. I like to put a strip of parchment paper that extends above the top of the pan for an easier removal at the end.
  2. Mash bananas and add all of the ingredients except the oats and flour, whisking to thoroughly combine.
  3. Add flours, oats, bran and flax. Stir to combine.
  4. Pour batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top. I added chopped pecans on top. Feel free to do the same, or chocolate chips stirred in would be wonderful.
  5. Bake for about 1 hour, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool on a rack. Then slice and serve.

Banana Sweet Potato Bread 3

Tangerine Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

Tangerine Cake
For my Dad’s birthday, I didn’t want to make him the same ole’ tired yellow/white/chocolate cake that everyone has. I wanted to make something that I really thought he would like.
For as long as I can remember, my Dad has leaned towards the tart, had a fondness for the sour, an affinity for the tangy. While limes are a big deal in his universe, tangerines are too. As a kid, I distinctly remember my Dad ordering tangerine-flavored snow cones, which I always found bizarre because, who doesn’t want Tiger’s Blood? (If you don’t know snow cone flavors, then you won’t get this. I’m not a psycho, I swear, it’s a cherry/coconut-based flavor!)
Harkening back to memories of tangerines, which just happen to be in season right now, my gut told me to go with that. Now to find a suitable tangerine cake recipe …
Tangerine Cake 3
I really, really love recipes that embrace the whole fruit. I’ve made an orange cake before where you blanch and blend the citrus fruit whole, and it turned out wildly successful, so, why mess with success?
Tangerine Cake 2
(What is that pattern on the plate, you ask? Oh that’s just the impression my hungry fingers made in the chocolate when I swiped them with abandon through the excess ganache fallen on the plate. Worth it.)

Flourless Tangerine Cake

Recipe adapted from The View from Great Island
Ingredients:
  • 3 large tangerines (or tangelos), to make about 1 cup of puree
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 3 cups almond meal/flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Chocolate Ganache (recipe follows)

Instructions:

  • Set oven to 350F
  • This is the most time-consuming part of the cake. Wash your tangerines and put them in a saucepan covered with cold water. Boil for 15 minutes. Drain the pan, refill with cold water, and boil again for 15 minutes. Then one more time, drain the pan, refill with cold water, and boil for 15 minutes. This boiling process removes the bitterness in the citrus skin.
  • Rough chop the tangerines and remove any seeds. (Tip: Do this in a bowl so you don’t lose any juice.) Put the tangerines in a food processor and process until completely smooth. You will likely have to stop and scrape down the sides a few times. You will die over the aroma that rises from the processor.
  • Set aside the pureed citrus.
  • Beat the eggs and coconut sugar until light and creamy. Fold in the almond meal, citrus pulp, and baking powder. Mix until combined.
  • Pour the batter into a greased (with coconut oil) 9″ pan (can use spring-form or whatever you have – I used a pie pan).
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes, until lightly golden and a toothpick, when inserted in the center, comes out clean.
  • Cool the cake on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan to finish cooling.
  • At this point, you can dust the cake with confectioner’s sugar, decorate with some citrus zest, or pour a bowl of cascading ganache over the top as I did. (Tip: The last option is strongly recommended!)

Chocolate Ganache

  • 12 oz. semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli bittersweet)
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil

Place both ingredients in a bowl and microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring each time until smooth and fully melted. You can also melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Pour the ganache over the warm cake, spreading to cover the entire cake. Devour immediately.

Tangerine Cake 5

Strawberry-Banana Spelt Muffins

This is a guest post from a talented chef with a great recipe for a unique twist on banana muffins.

Banana Strawberry Spelt Muffins

From Chef Thomas:

“I love eating bananas raw, but I am very specific about my raw bananas. They have to be all yellow, or yellow and green; no spots! Once the brown spots start to form, I just don’t like the flavor. But I can’t throw spotty bananas away, so what should I do? I guess I could make some sort of baked good… *twist my arm!*

But baked goods typically have a ton of butter and sugar … what about my diet? I decided to take a basic banana bread recipe and try to put a healthy twist on it.

As I started to throw ingredients together, I became bored with the idea of just plain old banana bread. I started to think of things that are usually combined with bananas and it hit me. Strawberries!! My first go at it, I used almond flour, strawberries, bananas, maple syrup, honey, coconut oil, etc. I used the measurements from an online recipe I found. I had really high hopes. I put the mix in the oven for sixty minutes. I was so excited as I paced back and forth, waiting for the bread to be done. The buzzer went off and I strutted to the oven, confident I would find an amazing loaf of strawberry-banana bread! I swung the door open and was greeted by a goopy mess. Disheartened, I left the loaf in for several more minutes before giving up…for the day. I would make this work!

I told Maggie what had happened and we began to brainstorm about how to make this recipe work. She told me not to use only almond flour because it well make for a very wet bread. Maybe we could put some oatmeal in there to soak up some of that moisture. Maybe add a bit more flour. Sunday she came over and we began to put our recipe together. We added a bit of lemon zest and some oatmeal to the banana mixture. We  used two cups of spelt flour instead of a cup and a half of almond flour. We put some chopped cashews in there for some texture. The mixture looked great, we had high hopes. Then we started talking about how we would cook this mixture. While banana bread is great, it is not the most practical form of food for those of us on the go. We decided muffins would be perfect! We threw them in and enjoyed a beer while we waited. As we swung the oven door down we were met with an intoxicating smell and the sight of perfectly cooked muffins. We put the muffins on a cooling rack and they taunted us, daring us to take a bite …

The next thing I knew, our friend Ruth was taking a bite of one and her face said it all. Maggie and I joined Ruth in pure muffin bliss. We had done it! We came up with an amazing strawberry banana muffin recipe. I hope it brings you all the same amount of happiness that it brought us!”

Strawberry-Banana Spelt Muffins

Yield: 20 muffins 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 7 strawberries, diced
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 cup raw cashews (or any other nut you prefer)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease muffin tins.

In a small bowl, combine bananas, strawberries, lemon zest, and oatmeal. In a large bowl, combine coconut oil, honey, and pure maple syrup in a stand mixer and blend together for one minute, or until creamed. Mix in eggs, salt, vanilla, and then add oatmeal mixture. Slowly, add dry ingredients into the wet ingredient, mixing only until combined. Fold in cashews.

Pour batter into greased muffin tins, about 3/4 way full. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 mins, but keep an eye on them. The muffins are done when the tops spring back when touched.

Banana Nut Granola

Banana Nut Granola

Well, I found out this weekend that I cannot handle being alone with a bowl of granola. Or a box of cereal, or a bag of popcorn kernels … you get the idea. Let’s just say, this granola never saw me coming. Poor thing was gone in less than 24 hours.

This recipe was kind of an experiment, but it came out surprisingly well! I’ve never made a granola with actual fruit blended and cooked with it before. It added a nice level of sweetness and actually sort of made granola clusters. It really did taste like a delicious deconstructed banana nut bread with raisins.

This is the kind of recipe you can adapt easily based on what you like. Next time I might try pumpkin instead of banana and chocolate chips or cranberries instead of raisins. You can use whatever nuts you like, whatever spices you like, even add ingredients like shredded coconut or seeds. Enjoy!

Banana Nut Granola 2

Banana Nut Granola

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rolled oats (I used a rolled grain blend with all kinds a good stuff)
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup honey or pure maple syrup
  • 1 banana
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup raisins

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Place banana in a bowl and microwave for 3 minutes. Sounds bizarre I know, but I learned this trick from America’s Test Kitchen, my absolute favorite PBS show. Cooking the banana releases sugar and juices and helps it infuse even more sweetness into what you’re baking. It also softens the banana so it can be easily blended with the other wet ingredients.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the softened banana, coconut oil, honey or syrup, and vanilla extract. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, pecans, spices, and salt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and toss to coat until everything is well saturated.

Pour the granola onto the prepared pan and spread out to make an even layer. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the granola is dried out and toasty. Every 10 minutes take the pan out and toss the granola so it doesn’t burn. Toss hot granola with raisins so they plump a bit.

Banana Nut Granola 3

Lemon Chia Seed Muffins: 2 Ways

My brother is spoiled rotten. He gets treats every dang time I visit him. As much as he enjoys getting edible gifts, I enjoy giving them. So I guess it all works out.

This time, it was cotton candy cookies (per his request) and lemon chia seed muffins. I’m not a big fan of the cotton candy flavor, accomplished with help from Duncan Hines flavor packets, but the muffins … my god, the muffins.

Lemon Chia Seed Muffin

I’ve always loved lemon poppyseed muffins, but since I’ve discovered chia, it just makes sense to swap in the nutrient powerhouse that is the chia seed. I’ve mentioned before how terrible my oven is, but for whatever reason, these muffins always come out perfect. They have a sort of buttery brown and slightly crisp exterior, while the inside is soft and delicate. Both versions of this recipe, the healthy and … less-healthy, turned out beautiful. 

I think there is some sort of chemical reaction at play between the lemon juice, yogurt and baking soda, because the batter literally fluffs and foams up when you’re mixing at the very end. It almost reminds me of a soft and fluffy tempura batter. These muffins are an absolute must-bake. They’re nice for a grab-and-go breakfast or snack. I’m a purist myself, but I bet these would also be great with blueberries or walnuts if you so desire. 

I made regular ole’ sugar and butter muffins for my brother, because he’s a growing boy. I made a healthier version, sans frosting, for myself. I added in Greek yogurt, fiber-rich whole-wheat, flax meal, coconut sugar and coconut oil. Both were delicious in their own ways. I love that rich and nutty flavor and texture you get from using whole wheat, so the healthy muffins were right up my alley. My brother is a sweet-buttery-delicate cake kinda guy, so these were right up his … 

Lemon Chia Seed Muffin 3

Lemon Chia Seed Muffins

Recipe adapted from Pinch of Yum

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 large lemons (yielding ¼ cup zest and ⅓ cup juice)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • ¼ cup milk or cream
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice 
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine lemon zest and sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Rub together with your fingers to release flavor from the zest. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the lemon juice, vanilla, eggs, oil, butter, milk, and chia seeds. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir until just combined.
  3. Pour batter into greased muffin tins; you should be able to get 12 muffins. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the tops spring back when touched.
  4. For the glaze, whisk the powdered sugar and juice together until smooth. Heat the butter over medium heat until melted; add the glaze mixture and stir until bubbling and warm, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and glaze muffins immediately by dipping muffins upside down into the glaze saucepan or spooning the glaze over the tops. Glaze should set quickly.

Lemon Chia Seed Muffin 4

Healthy Lemon Chia Seed Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 large lemons (yielding ¼ cup zest and ⅓ cup juice)
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine lemon zest and sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Rub together with your fingers to release flavor from the zest. Add the flour, flax, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the lemon juice, vanilla, eggs, oil, yogurt, milk, and chia seeds. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir until just combined.
  3. Pour batter into greased muffin tins; you should be able to get 12 muffins. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the tops spring back when touched.

Lemon Chia Seed Muffin 5

 If you’re trying to decide which to bake, I say, when in doubt, frost yo-self!