Friday, August 1, 2014

banana bread bites (with gluten free option)

I'm always on the lookout for dessert recipes that are both good for your body and your taste buds.

The "good for your taste buds" part is easy since most desserts involve some sort of sugar and most people happily eat sweet. But good for you too? Now there's a challenge.

When I first spotted this recipe on Oh She Glows, I knew I had to try it. Unless you add the chocolate chips, it contains no added sugar other than what is found in the fruit. Score on the "good for you" part.

And happily, the recipe met the "good for your taste buds" requirement. It's a hands down favorite, especially with family and friends.

I made a couple of slight modifications and have included some suggestions for additional mix-ins.

Bring on the bananas...

Banana Bread Bites (recipe notes follow)
dairy free, fruit sweetened, gluten free option, nut free option, soy free, sugar free option, vegan

2 large bananas
1/2 c. date paste
1/4 c. coconut oil
2 c. rolled oats, gluten free if needed
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
mix in suggestions (use 1/4 - 1/2 cup): dairy-free chocolate chips, cacao nibs, unsweetened dried cherries, unsweetened coconut, unsweetened cocoa* (suggest 1/4 cup if using), chopped pecans 

Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until thoroughly combined. If adding mix-ins, pour mixture into a bowl, then stir in mix-ins. Scoop out portions with a large tablespoon and drop onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. With slightly damp hands (the water prevents the mixture from sticking to your fingers), form each banana bread bite into a ball shape. Since these don't spread, you can place each bite as close as a 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheet. Bake at 275 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until the bottom of each bite is lightly browned.

Recipe notes:
1. I usually double this recipe, especially when making for more than our family of six. If, like mine, your food processor can't handle all the ingredients in one go, process 3 cups of the oats into oat flour and place in a bowl. Then process the remaining cup of oats with the other ingredients. Then add to the bowl and stir in the remaining oats plus any mix ins.
2. I think this recipe works best with perfectly to just a tad over-ripe bananas to avoid an overpowering banana taste.
*3. If you're adding unsweetened cocoa powder, I recommend blending this into the other ingredients with the food processor.
4. If you can't find date paste (I get mine at a middle eastern convenience/market store), use 1 1/4 c. firmly packed and pitted Medjool dates. If the dates are dry, soaking them in warm water 20 minutes before using.
5. I get my dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips from Trader Joe's and order my fair trade cacao nibs from vitacost.

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