Thursday, 9 September 2010

Spotty bananas– a healthier way!

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First off, let me assuage your fears: no, I am not on a health kick, and no, this blog is not becoming weight-conscious or health-obsessed.  I just got back to London (don't get me started on the welcoming deluge) from a month in San Francisco– land of the latest organic/vegan/macrobiotic craze– with my crazy, points-counting family, so I've got health on the brain.  But don't worry, I'll be back to my buttery, sugary self in no time.

Now that we've got that out of the way, lets talk about what awaited me upon my return to the UK (besides the aforementioned rain): piles of books/clothes/general boy stuff on every surface in the flat; a closet full to bursting, into which I was hoping to unpack my stuffed suitcase; a fridge full of random meats and not much else; and bananas.  Spotty, old, fragrant bananas.

Now, normally I'd make my famous banana bread.  But we didn't have any sour cream and I really didn't feel like going out to get any, and besides the travel had made me feel way too gross to want to eat anything heavy.

I'd faced the spotted-bananas dilemma in SF, too, where banana bread is also kind of a no-go (ironically, because my family likes my banana bread too much.  My mom calls it a 'trigger food'), and I did a quick search on Allrecipes for ideas.  I came up with this recipe, which I altered a little based on what we had in the house, and the result was pretty pleasing.

Basically, we ended up with banana granola bar type things, which were a bit softer and moister than I would have liked but which tasted awesome.  And at only 69 calories and .8g of fat per bar, we were all happy to trade crunch for guiltless snacking!

So I decided to give it another go over here across the pond, but this time I thought I'd drop spoonfuls of the dough/stuff onto baking sheets, in the hope that they'd crisp up a bit more on the bottom.  I also exchanged the applesauce for 1/2 cup of oil, because we didn't have any applesauce and I thought maybe oil would make the cookies less dense...

As it turned out, the oil didn't make the cookies less dense, it just oozed out onto the sheet (in retrospect, 1/2c was way too much) and bubbled there.  And the cookie shapes didn't come out much crisper than the bars, just a bit harder to pick up and eat.  BUT they did come out delicious!  Even more so than the last ones, which is probably due to the addition of a pinch of salt.

So, in the end, I managed to use up our spotty bananas without making myself any more bloated, and I decided that this recipe is a keeper, but I'll probably stick to bar form from now on.  The bf agrees.  If you're big on texture, I don't recommend these cookies (although the bf says he likes cakey cookies better than chewy or crisp (NUTTER) so he's pleased with the texture), but if you don't mind too much and you're looking for something sweet, easy, and healthy, give em a shot!  If nothing else, it's a great recipe for fiddling with.

And anyway, what else are you going to do with all those spotty bananas?*

Healthy Banana Oat Bars:
     Serves 12

Preheat oven to 325F/160C.

Chuck in a bowl and stir together:
     2 bananas
     1 tbsp honey
     1 tbsp cinnamon
     .25 tsp nutmeg
     .25 tsp salt
     1 tbsp vanilla
     1.5 c oats
     applesauce snack pack (1/2c?) or 1/4 cup oil
Pat into 8x8 pan or drop onto cookie sheets (I recommend the pan) and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown on top.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 43 g (1/12th of recipe)
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 69
Calories from Fat: 7
Total Fat: 0.8g
Dietary Fiber: 1.7g

*No, seriously.  If you have ideas, throw 'em my way!


  1. peel. cut em up. freeze them. make ice cream (really works).

  2. Hi Miri,
    I've seen that idea around the blogosphere and I'm totally digging it! You do seem to need a food processor or blender, though, neither of which I have... But next time I'm at home in SF maybe I'll give it a go!

  3. Just made these, they're yummy :) Are the nutrition facts for the ones with applesauce or with oil?

  4. Hi Anon,

    The nutrition facts refer to the applesauce recipe. If you use oil, the calories go up to 105, and the fat goes up to 5 grams.

    Good catch!



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