You’ve seen it on Pinterest.
I know you have… It’s everywhere.
Banana “ice cream” is a huge fad now, and for good reason – you can do pretty much anything with it, and it (basically) tastes like you’re eating soft serve ice cream. And I LOVE that, for a lot of reasons. Need I count the ways?
- It’s a great way to sneak in a serving of fruit, especially if you’re not a banana person. The cold temperature takes out most of the banana-y flavor. Take it from a person who’s not a fan of eating bananas by themselves.
- It’s naturally sweet. Just like meee! (…If it’s a Friday and I’ve eaten recently.)
- It’s dairy free, for all those sensitive tummies out there.
- No fancy equipment needed. There are some fun contraptions out there specifically designed for banana ice cream, but an electric OR manual food processor works just as well.
- It’s another way to use up those spotty, soft bananas.
- You can add anything you want into or on top of it. Healthy Coldstone? YES. PLEASE.
- My favorite part – it’s SINGLE SERVING. You use one frozen banana, and then don’t have to fight the irresistible pull of a carton.
After all this glorification of banana ice cream, I WOULD be lying to you if I said that it’s exactly the same as ice cream. Ice cream certainly has its special time and place – like, melting over the top of a warm slice of pie on Thanksgiving, or when the Mr. Softee truck comes by on July 4th. Or, when you and your friends want to cry together and watch movies based on Nicholas Sparks novels. (Ben and Jerry’s was a stereotypical post-breakup staple in college for our group of friends, second only to the Whole Foods salad bar… We weren’t very consistent.) For the other 99% of your life though, I promise that banana ice cream can perfectly satisfy your frozen dairy craving.
This recipe is so simple, I almost feel bad calling it a recipe. But I swear to you, it actually tastes like cookie dough ice cream. I ate this about 3 times last week, and regret absolutely nothing. So go forth, and go bananas.
- 1 banana, frozen in coins
- 1/3 date and cashew bar, chopped (I used a "Cashew Cookie" Larabar)
- 1 tbs. dark chocolate or carob chips
- ~1/2 tsp. almond milk or water, if needed for blending
- Add frozen banana, chocolate, and date bar to a food processor, blending on low until bananas are smooth. If the mixture is too crumbly, add almond milk or water to assist with blending. If you want chunkier mix ins, blend bananas first until almost smooth, then add the chocolate and date bar and pulse until broken up. Serve immediately.
- For easier blending, freeze the banana coins on a flat surface or spread out individually in a freezer-safe bag.
“By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by National Dairy Council and the Quaker Oats Center of Excellence and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”
I never quite understood the term “quick bread.”
I mean, I get it logically. You don’t have to add yeast. In theory, a good banana bread should take less time to complete than dough takes to rise. But if I may define my own idea of “quick bread” for you, it would be bread that’s prepared and out of the oven in less than a half hour. Or even more ideally, bread that appears out of thin air. If this whole music career thing gets tough (haha… if) I’m going to invent a device that dispenses fresh, warm, delicious loaves of bread instantly at the push of a button. “Carb-O-Matic.” Patent pending.
I already have a few recipes for “quick” breads in my arsenal, including this one, this one, and possibly this one (I think scones count). In my opinion, though, you can never really have too many – despite my impatience, quick breads really are quite convenient to put together. As a result, they’re great for brunches, gift-giving, and pot lucks, and can often be repurposed as a muffin recipe, and won’t take a big chunk out of your day. That was a HUGE requirement for me when creating this recipe in particular. If you follow me on Instagram, you may know that the past week and a half has been a bit of a crazy roller coaster ride. I packed up one apartment and moved into another, changed cities, and then packed up a day later to go away AGAIN with my family. I’m now enjoying some well-deserved R&R (aside from the placement exam and audition prep for graduate school), but before I left, I promised that I’d spend my last night at home whipping up a nice recipe for this month’s Recipe Redux challenge, hosted by Quaker Oats and the National Dairy Council.
This bread is delicious fresh, as is, or toasted, but I would recommend storing it in the refrigerator if you do not plan to eat it all immediately as it is very moist. Enjoy!
- 2 cups Quaker oats
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 5 oz. plain Greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup sparkling water
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1-2 tbs slivered almonds (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350˚F.
- In a food processor, grind oats into a very fine flour. Sift flour into a medium bowl.
- Add baking powder and salt, and mix to combine.
- Whisk eggs and yogurt together in a separate mixing bowl until smooth, then whisk in almond extract, honey, and sparkling water.
- Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir gently to combine - do not overmix.
- Gently fold in blueberries, and transfer batter to a greased loaf pan. If desired, sprinkle a few extra blueberries and some slivered almonds onto the batter before baking.
- Bake about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- For a sightly sweeter bread, increase the amount of honey.
There are MANY dining establishments I will miss after I officially move out of Philadelphia on Thursday. My go-to food trucks that have been there for years will suddenly no longer be up the street, and my favorite places downtown will now be down in a different town. Also, did I mention that they are FINALLY opening a Chipotle down the block from my old place? I knew they’d try to pull that stunt AFTER I left… Now, I know that I’m much better off in my New York neighborhood (it’s really unbeatably awesome) and it’ll be super easy to become a regular at new and interesting places. However, one Philly location will be truly difficult to replace, and that is a magical place called Cuba Libre.
At this magical place called Cuba Libre, there exists a wondrous invention known as “All You Can Eat Brunch,” where you eat cornmeal pancakes with mango butter, vanilla custard french toast with plantains, crab cakes benedict, and then some. A LOT of some. I have frequented CL’s brunch several times, and left each time without a drop of shame. Not even that one time, when I had to excuse myself mid-meal to go partially unzip the back of the dress I was wearing. I mean, you couldn’t tell, because I was wearing a cardigan. I also then continued to eat, against all better judgment. But yup, not even that time.
There was another visit to Cuba Libre though, that I recall may have been a bit classier. That time, I also happened to order a grilled pineapple mojito. Clearly, that visit ended better for me because I was well hydrated… With rum. Right? No? That’s not how that works?
Anyway, while I was in Houston and looking for recipes to add to my queue, I thought of this. An homage to the great Cuba Libre grilled pineapple mojito, in sorbet form. Coincidentally, right after I returned from Texas, I learned that the Recipe Redux theme for July would be cooking with liquor. Uhh, PERFECT. I briefly thought about doing a beer braised meat dish, or maybe a pulled pork sandwich with a boozy barbecue sauce. Which I might still do, because that’s making my mouth water right now. But as my mind kept wandering back to that perfect mojito, I just couldn’t bear to part with my original idea.
So, here we are. I told you that I would be finding more ways to incorporate grilled fruit into my posts this summer, and I always keep my promises. My recipe includes just enough rum to give the recipe “punch,” but not enough to make you silly (or overpower the delicious, fresh flavors). But, if you’re looking to get a little silly at your next BBQ, you can add another ounce or two (or three) of rum, and make this palate cleanser just a bit boozier. But, whatever you do, don’t skip grilling the pineapple. The fruit’s own juices will caramelize without any added sugar, making the fruit super sweet. So worth it.
- 2 pineapples
- 2 cups plain sparkling water
- 4 oz. silver rum
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2/3 cup mint leaves (about 4 tbs. very finely chopped)
- Honey to taste (~3-4 tbs, optional)
- Slice the pineapple. Begin by slicing off the leaves and the bottom of the fruit. Remove all skin and hard brown bits with a knife.
- When left only with yellow flesh, cut vertically around the core to create four pieces. Cut close to the core (but not into it) to get as much flesh as possible.
- Slice the four pieces into thick spears, and continue with the next pineapple.
- Place all spears on a medium-low heat grill, and keep the spears on each side for about 4-5 minutes, or until grill marks form.
- Transfer grilled spears to a blender. Let cool, then purée until smooth.
- Transfer the purée to a large mixing bowl and chill until colder than room temperature.
- Add sparkling water, rum, lime juice, chopped mint, and honey. Stir lightly to combine.
- Transfer mixture to an ice cream maker and follow directions.
“Ew, Sarah, why would you EVER put sea salt and bananas together?” – You
What can I say, I’m good at reading minds. But you know what I was slightly less good at until recently? Baking banana bread. It has literally (and I mean literally, not figuratively…there is, in fact a difference) taken me YEARS to come up with the perfect banana bread recipe. I posted one back in my Tumblr-blogging days that I’m pretty sure consisted mostly of chia seeds. Not to hate on chia seeds (they have their time and place), but this recipe is tastier for sure, and just as healthy. Now, to address your sea salt inquiry, it’s pretty much universal knowledge these days that sea salt and dark chocolate are the new power couple. Caramel tries to make it a love triangle, but I am definitely on Team Chocolate. And lately, I have been putting dark chocolate in and on everything I can get my hands on.
Well, I’m celebrating, because (Spoiler: if you follow me on Instagram, then neither of the following things are going to be “big news” to you) after a whirlwind year of suddenly changing plans and deciding NOT to take a year off, I took graduate auditions and was accepted to everywhere I applied! I’m going to be pursuing my Master’s degree next year at the conservatory of my dreams in New York City, and I couldn’t be more excited. I also gave my senior recital a few weeks ago to a lot of positive feedback, which means I officially CAN graduate and go to New York City. Also, I thought the performance went well had a lot of fun giving it, which for self-doubting and perpetually unsatisfied me was kind of big.
So, yeah… I’m declaring that I now deserve to put chocolate in everything. You can judge me or whatever, but you’re going to be thanking my little chocolate binge when you taste this banana bread. Notice I said when, not if, because that’s how sure I am that you need to make it immediately.
Just in case you’re not convinced yet and need a REALLY compelling reason to make it (other than that it’s chocolate banana bread and because I said so), it will use up your ugly, mushy, seemingly inedible bananas. I bet you’ve thrown out some spotty/browning bananas in your time, thinking they were unusable. Think again, my friend – your banana-wasting days have passed, because for this recipe and banana bread in general, the spottier the better! (Unless they’re actually rotten and wrinkled… Then you probably shouldn’t cook with them. :P)
Also, this bread came out super moist, and has just the right texture! You could also omit the chocolate chips or walnuts (or both) and the base recipe would come out fine. I will definitely be keeping this as my go-to banana bread recipe!
- 3-4 overripe medium bananas
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 egg + 1 egg white
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup unbleached whole wheat flour + 1/2 cup oat flour (may do 1 and 1/2 cups oat flour for gluten free alternative)
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/3 cup 60% dark chocolate chips, plus 1 tbs. for melting
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- Sea Salt
- Preheat oven to 350˚F.
- In a mixing bowl, mash peeled bananas thoroughly until mostly smooth. Some small lumps of fruit will remain, that's ok!
- Mix in melted coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla, and then add the egg/egg white (adding the egg and coconut oil too closely together may cause the egg to cook in the hot oil).
- In a separate bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients (except for the 1 tbs. of chocolate chips for melting), and then slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet.
- Pour batter into a greased loaf pan.*
- Melt the remaining chocolate chips, pour onto the batter, and swirl with a fork. Sprinkle the top lightly with sea salt, and bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- *I recommend using coconut oil spray, which I swear by for baking, roasting, and sauteeing! So flavorful, and so much better for you than most non-stick sprays.
Well, friends, I have officially reached the home stretch. My graduate auditions start on Sunday in New York, and things are starting to feel very, very real. Until they’re over, my days will be filled with a lot of mental preparation, meditation, and positive thinking (not to mention, lots of practicing). When all that eventually proves exhausting (which it will), this chocolate cake should be a pretty decent substitute. This recipe was created on an impulse yesterday, when my teacher called me at 2:45 to ask why I wasn’t at my lesson. I had misheard her and written my lesson time down for 3:30, but she had actually told me 2:30. Although it was an honest mistake and I’ve never done that before, I was really frustrated at myself and the situation. Since I was already having a pretty bad day to begin with, I turned to the only remedy I could think of – chocolate. For a chocoholic, bad day + bad luck + chocolate = good day. Always.
For those of you who don’t already know, I am also a tea-holic. I gave up coffee over a year ago, and have found that I’m now so detoxed from caffeine that I’m essentially unable to drink it without feeling sick (you may use your one complimentary eye-roll now). I occasionally have tea in the morning, but I almost always have a cup before bed because I just reeeeeally really love tea. If you’re having a hard time visualizing my obsession, my roommate bought a next-to-the-Keurig organizer for our living room over winter break, and its contents are 90% my tea boxes and 10% K-Cups. Oops. I’ve also been buying teas faster than I can actually use them, so I figured it was time to start using my tea stash creatively.
The last element that went into the creation of this beautiful cake was the container of coconut cream I had in my fridge waiting to be used. Coconut cream is the delectable layer of dense, rich, creamy, coconutty deliciousness that can be found when a can of coconut milk is left to separate in the refrigerator. With a little bit of cocoa powder, maple syrup, and a lot of lactic acid (thanks, biceps!) I turned the cream into a smooth and fluffy mousse, and the Chocolate Chai Mousse Cake was born.
I used a fancy pan that I bought from Ikea to make this cake, because I’ve had it for months and it was just begging to be broken in with something delicious. However, you don’t have to be fancy, and could even make this into a thin layer cake by dividing the batter into two round pans and then putting the mousse in the middle instead. Since you won’t get to see how awesome this pan is in any pictures of the decorated cake, heres a picture of it pre-decorated in all its beauty:
- 1 and 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
- 1/4 cup cacao powder
- 3/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup (8 oz.) boiling water
- 1 bag of chai tea (I used Spiced Rooibos Chai from Trader Joe's)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Cream from one can of full-fat coconut milk (leave can in refrigerator upside down for a day or two, then open right side up and scoop out the cream)
- 1/2 tbs cacao powder
- 1 tbs. maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 350˚F.
- In a mixing bowl, stir together whole wheat pastry flour, cacao, coconut sugar, and baking soda.
- Bring 8 oz of water to a boil (I just microwaved a mug with 8 oz. of water for 3 minutes) and let your tea bag steep for 5-10 minutes, depending on the intensity of flavor you want. Once steeped to your liking, remove your tea bag and drop the coconut oil into the hot tea to melt it.
- Once completely melted, pour the tea/oil mixture into your dry ingredients, mix to combine, and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk egg and vanilla and then stir into the cake batter.
- Pour batter into a cake pan and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the mixture is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool.
- Combine the coconut cream, cacao, and maple syrup, whisking heavily until fluffy and completely combined.
- If your coconut cream is very solid and you're having a hard time mixing, you may choose to gradually add some of the leftover coconut milk from your can until the mousse is at a satisfactory consistency. Do not put the mousse on the cake until it has cooled completely! Decorate with sprinkles or dust with a little bit of cocoa.