Death by Chocolate Banana Bread

I’m going to get real deep here for a second.  I’m going to ask a question(s) that most females ask at least once in their life.  Where do all the bobby pins, hair ties, chapsticks, and mismatched socks of the world end up??!?!?

Death by Chocolate Banana Bread

No. But seriously… I am convinced that there is a lost and found of just these items.  Not that I would want someone else’s hair accessory or used socks.  Or would I?  I always wonder about these misplaced items and then think to myself, “not this time little bobby pin, I will not lose you.”  Without fail, fast forward to me purchasing another package of bobby pins :/

Death by Chocolate Banana Bread

Now with food, I wonder what do people do with the overly ripe produce?  I grew up NEVER being allowed to waste food.   I am thankful that my parents made me appreciate and respect the food that we had in our kitchen.  There are starving individuals around the world and I think too many people look at their produce drawer or fruit bowl and toss the food out.  Unless you have been living under a rock, you have enjoyed a slice of warm banana bread or a banana nut muffin of sorts.  This is what the world has decided the fate of overly ripe bananas should be.

Death by Chocolate Banana Bread

I am not here to argue fate.  But I think I might have just created a pretty fancy-fanc twist on banana bread.  My thought process:

I love chocolate.
I love brownies.
I love banana bread.   …

Whoa, I can make super chocolatey banana bread.  Per the usual, I tried to justify eating not one, but three different types of chocolate.  I decided, if I am eating chocolate, I should probably use healthy fats, unprocessed sugars, and limit the cereal grains.  The bananas bring a lot of moisture and natural sweetness to this bread and you really do not notice that coconut flour or coconut oil are substituting the usual butter and flour.

Death by Chocolate Banana Bread

Baked goods you can feel a little less guilty about.  That is my kind of treat!  Now that I have found yet another use of my brown bananas, I guess I should work on a solution for the other lost items ;)

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Servings: 16 bars

The Players: 

3 ripe bananas
1 egg
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 C coconut oil, melted
1/4 C light agave syrup (alternatively honey or maple syrup)

Dry ingredients
1/2 C coconut flour
1/2 C hemp seeds (alternatively hemp hearts)
1/2 C dark cocoa powder
1 t baking soda
1 C dark chocolate chips
1/4 C cocoa nibs

The Rules: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease 9×9 baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine bananas, egg, vanilla, coconut oil, and agave syrup using a hand/stand mixer.
  3. Add dry ingredients, except cocoa nibs, to the bowl and incorporate into wet ingredients.  Do not over-mix.
  4. Pour batter into baking pan and spread evenly with spatula.  Sprinkle cocoa nibs over batter and press down gently with hand.  Bake at 350F for 30 minutes, then turn off oven and continue baking for 5 additional minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before slicing.

3-Ingredient Coconut Macaroons

 

 

 

Yesterday was one of “those” days… you all know what I’m talking about.  The days you come home from work and you don’t want to talk to anyone.  The days where you find yourself looking forward to a nice glass of wine.  The days when you need chocolate therapy.  

3 Ingredient Coconut Macaroons

Lucky for you guys, when I have a bad day I spin that negative energy into creativity with cooking or baking.  Seriously, some of my favorite and best recipes are a result of “those” days.  Also, wine helps everything.  So I came home, took Teek on a long walk, poured myself a glass of wine, and decided to bake an Easter-friendly treat.  What do you do to turn the switch?

3 Ingredient Coconut Macaroons

My thought was not April Fools, but Easter desserts.  We are going to a friend’s place for an Italian-inspired Easter dinner.  Of course, since I love to cook, I want to bring something to share.  I already volunteered to bring a cocktail, but I also thought how fun would it be to make a Holiday-themed treat.  My girlfriend is already making a bunny butt cake (how cute is that idea?!?!), so I figured why not bring the bunny tails?

3 Ingredient Coconut Macaroons

These macaroons are simple, require only 3-ingredients (if you don’t count the dark chocolate bottoms), and most importantly they are delicious.  I whip the egg whites until they form soft peaks, which makes the macaroons wonderfully light and chewy.  No additional sugar in this macaroon recipe, since the sweetened shredded coconut is sweet enough for my taste.  I make the macaroons bite size, that way I can justify eating a handful….right ;)

3 Ingredient Coconut Macaroons

 

Oh and the chocolate bottoms…well that’s just the perfect finishing touch.  It gives a great presentation to the macaroon and gives me an excuse to dip fruit, pretzels, and my fingers in the left over melted chocolate.  Too much information?  Oops.

3-Ingredient Coconut Macaroons

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: ~25 mini macaroons

The Players: 

2 egg whites
1 t pure vanilla bourbon extract
2 C shredded sweetened coconut

optional: 1 C dark chocolate chips or chunks for dipping macaroons in

The Rules: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
  2. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat together egg whites and vanilla extract until soft peaks form.
  3. Fold in shredded coconut, until well incorporated.
  4. Drop macaroons onto your baking sheet, using a cupcake corer, cookie scoop, or teaspoon.  (Note: You want the macaroons to be dense and formed in the shape you desire, they will not expand while they bake)
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to cool ~10 minutes.
  6. Optional Dark Chocolate Coated Bottoms: In a microwave-safe dish, melt chocolate chips by microwaving for 45-60 seconds and stirring every 15 seconds.  Dip bottom of macaroons in chocolate and place bottom-side up on your cookie sheet.  Place in freezer for 10 minutes to allow chocolate to harden.  Store macaroons in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Chocolate-Covered Peanut and Date Truffles

Words of wisdom from Mama Hot, “No matter how old you are, always make time for your girlfriends and yourself.”  I am very fortunate to have an amazing mama.  She has always given me the best life advice and is my best friend.

Chocolate-Covered Peanut and Date Truffles

When I had my first serious relationship in college, I remember my mom giving me that advice.  She wanted to be sure that no matter how happy I was in my relationship, I always had a balance and took time for the other important people in life.

Chocolate-Covered Peanut and Date Truffles

I whole-heartedly agree with that piece of advice and now that I live with Andrew, I really do try and make a point of making time for my girlfriends.  It doesn’t have to be a big event.  I equally enjoy a night in with wine, movies, snacks, sweats and  a night out dolled up, cocktails, and dancing with my girlfriends.  Either is good for the soul and your relationship.  This weekend I dedicated both nights to my ladies and my inner Spice-Girl is oh-so happy.

Chocolate-Covered Peanut and Date Truffles

So I dedicate these chocolate-covered, peanut and date truffles to my ladies.  Because what girl doesn’t love dessert, especially when it is covered in chocolate?!?!  And since these truffles are loaded with peanuts and peanut butter they are a filling little treat.  Another perk (not that one is needed) is not having to bake this dessert.  I love no-bake treats as it starts to get warmer out, because I don’t have to heat up the apartment having the oven on.  I hope you enjoy these truffles as much as I do…oh and take a minute to plan your next girls night, you won’t regret it ;)

Chocolate-Covered Peanut and Date Truffles

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 60 minutes
Cook time: not applicable
Servings: ~20 truffles

The Players:

15 medjool dates, pitted
3/4 C crunchy, natural peanut butter
1 C unsalted peanuts
4 graham cracker pieces (~1/2 C graham cracker crumbs)
1/4 C ground flaxseed
2 C dark chocolate chunks or chips
Optional: fleur de sel or graham cracker crumbs for sprinkling on top of truffles

The Rules:

  1. Place dates in a bowl and cover with water.  Allow to soak for at least 10 minutes.
  2. While the dates are soaking, pulse the graham crackers and peanuts in a food processor until they are crumbs.  Set aside in a medium mixing bowl and combine with flaxseed.
  3. Drain the dates.  Place in food processor with peanut butter and pulse to form a chunkier paste.  Transfer the paste to the bowl containing dry ingredients.
  4. With your hands, knead the wet and dry ingredients until well combined.  Place the bowl in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes.  (Note: This will make it easier to form the truffles)
  5. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Remove the truffle filling from the refrigerator.  Shape into bite-size balls (~1 heaping tsp of filling per ball).
  6. Microwave chocolate for 45-60 seconds, stirring every 15 seconds until melted.
  7. Dip the balls in melted chocolate and transfer to cookie sheet.  (Note: I use a fork to do this step and minimize messiness) Place truffles in freezer for 15 minutes to harden the chocolate.  Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Magic Bars (7-Layer Bars)

This weekend I spent an unforgettable weekend in Leavenworth, WA.  Our group of friends started the Quarterly Crew with our Oktoberfest trip this past Fall.  We had such an amazing time hanging out the cabin, exploring the city, cooking, hot-tubbing, playing games.  We knew this needed to become a tradition.  This wasn’t one of those situations where you say you will do something and then never follow through.  We were determined.  After all we live in the PNW, there are so many amazing things to do year-round, and cabin trips are never a bad idea.

Magic Bars (7-Layer Bars)

I even had my first lesson and successful snowboard mission!!  No sore butt or wrists.  I do have the best instructor.  Andrew grew up in Alaska and has been snowboarding since he was 10.  He even graduated high school early and spent the time before college snowboarding.  Talk about living the dream?!?!  Well I am determined to pick up this hobby and make my man proud.  Thankfully, our relationship survived the day at Steven’s Pass ;)

Magic Bars (7-Layer Bars)

So how do these Magic Bars come into the picture.  Well when I go on group trips I tend to take charge of the food.  I was able to create a main grocery list so 30(+) people could survive the weekend without worrying about running to the store.  However, I thought it would be fun to bake the treats instead of store bought.  A few of us girls volunteered to bring the goodies.  Personally, I like making cookie bars for large groups because they are less time-consuming than cookies, cupcakes, cakes, or pies.  Honestly, aside from making the graham cracker crust all you do is layer toppings.  Now that’s a dessert I can get down with!  Also, my secret ingredient is the sea salt.  When you’re ingredient list is basically all sugar, the taste of sea salt with each bite is an amazing surprise for the palette.

Magic Bars (7-Layer Bars)

These bars a) ARE FREAKING FANTASTIC b) pretty much make themselves c) are definitely not healthy.  So you should probably make your way over to your kitchen and whip up a batch!

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 25 min
Servings: 24 bars

The Players: 

1 sleeve honey graham crackers (9 whole crackers)
(Note: if using pre-bought graham cracker crumbs you will need 1 + 1/2 C)
1/2 C unsalted butter, melted
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 C chopped pecans
1 C butterscotch chips
1 C chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate)
1 C shredded coconut
1 t sea salt

The Rules: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and coat 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Place graham crackers in resealable gallon-size bag and seal.  Use a rolling pin to crush the crackers to a bread crumb consistency.
  3. Combine butter and crumbs in your baking dish and press firmly to form a crust.
  4. Spread condensed milk over the graham cracker layer.  Top evenly with remaining ingredients.  Using a fork press down firmly on toppings.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes until lightly browned.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.  Use a sharp knife to cut into 24 bars.  Store in an air-tight container.

Skinny Double Dark Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Chocolate.  Are there many things in life that are more delightful than chocolate?  Puppies, babies, the perfect sunset/sunrise, wine/charcuterie, a great work out, new shoes, and CHOCOLATE.  Those are a few of my favorite things…in no apparent order.

Skinny Double Dark Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Now when I enjoy chocolate, I do not want to feel the slightest bit of guilt with each bite.  After all dark chocolate has many health benefits.  Don’t take my word for it… you can read about a few of them here: http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/6-health-benefits-of-dark-chocolate.html#b

So how does one make dark chocolate even healthier???  By adding veggies to it.  Seriously, think about how spectacular carrot cake is AND it is loaded full of carrots and nuts.  These double dark chocolate zucchini muffins are carrot cake’s second cousin…dessert packed with veggies :)

Skinny Double Dark Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Don’t be a skeptic.  You literally cannot taste the zucchini.  And you can’t even see the zucchini so it’s a great way to sneak in veggies into your kid’s or sig other’s diet.  Sneaky, sneaky.  Chocolate – 1, Ives – 0 (more like Chocolate – 3, Ives – 0 since I ate 3 of these decadent guys in less than 24 hours).   Added bonus: they are dairy-free and refined-sugar free.

Skinny Double Dark Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Double-bonus: they are ready in < 30 minutes and tasting amazing warm out of the oven or re-heated in the microwave.  Yeah, you know you will be tempted to whip up a batch this weekend.  I am already planning on making a second round ;)

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 15-20 minutes
Servings: 12 muffins

The Players: 

1 large zucchini, peeled and grated (~1 1/2 to 2 C grated)
2 egg whites + 1 egg
1/2 C unsweetened apple sauce (alternatively sub vanilla or honey greek yogurt)
1/4 C agave syrup
1 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 C whole wheat flour
3/4 C dark cocoa powder
1 T ground cinnamon
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
4 oz baking chocolate (I used dark cocoa), roughly chopped

The Rulers:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and line muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  2. Combine dry ingredients: flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon in a small bowl.
  3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine zucchini, eggs, apple sauce, agave,  and vanilla extract.
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, do not over-mix.
  5. Fill muffin tins 3/4 of the way full with batter and top with remaining chocolate chunks.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Allow to cool.