Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Three ways to use overripe bananas

With the hot summer weather, I'm often seeing my beautiful bananas turn from green to brown in a matter of (what seems like) hours.  I hate to throw them away, so this week I thought of some new--and vegan--dessert recipes that all use overripe bananas.  If you have this delightful banana problem, then keep reading!

The three recipes are for a Carmelized Banana Tart, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Whole Wheat Banana Bread.  When I first decided to eliminate eggs from some of my favorite dessert recipes, I've found that bananas make a great egg substitute and natural sweetener.  Depending on the other ingredients in the recipe and preparation methods, you can adjust the amount of banana flavor in the finished product.  Caramelized bananas in the tart deliver an deliciously sweet dessert that isn't overloaded with sugar.  Mashed bananas mixed with a little baking powder in the cookies function as an egg substitute, while the mashed bananas in the banana bread allow you to back off on the sugar content.  Here are the recipes:

Caramelized Banana Tart
Makes 1-8" tart; a perfect dessert to share

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. vegan margarine
1 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. water

2 Tbsp. non-dairy milk
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 banana, mashed

1 banana, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  1. In a medium bowl, mix the crust ingredients together until a moist dough forms, using your fingers if necessary.  Place dough in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a smaller bowl, beat the filling ingredients together until smooth. 
  3. When the crust is ready, roll the dough on a lightly floured surface and place into a lightly oiled 8" tart dish.  Bake for 15 minutes.  After fifteen minutes, remove the crust from the oven and spread the filling evenly on top of the crust.  Bake for 10 more minutes.
  4. While the crust and filling are baking, heat a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat.  Add the brown sugar and sliced bananas and cook for about five minutes.  When the tart is done baking, arrange the bananas on top.  Serve at room temperature or chilled.  Enjoy!
Chocolate Chip Banana Cookies
Makes 12 cookies

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 banana
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together the flours and the baking soda.
  2. In a medium bowl, mash the banana with the baking powder.  Mix in the sugar and oil. 
  3. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until well blended.  Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Spoon tablespoons of dough on to a lightly oiled cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown on the edges.  Enjoy!
Whole Wheat Banana Bread
Makes 1-9" loaf

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
3 Tbsp. oil
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, stir together the flours, baking powder, and cinnamon.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the mashed bananas, non-diary milk, oil, and sugar together and beat well. 
  3. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Pour batter into a lightly oiled 9" loaf pan.
  4. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing the bread and cooling on a wire rack.  Enjoy!

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