Au Naturel Essence

All natural treats for body and soul


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Skinny Chunky Monkey Cookies

I’ve recently started to explore the idea of cutting refined sugar out of my family’s diet.  We don’t eat a lot of sugar, but it’s still there.  Frankly, my husband has already gone down this road and simply avoids sweet treats now, including the ones that I bake!  Hmph!

Cleaner Eating

My first foray into this world was with a recipe that I found on Pinterest.  Check out my Cleaner Eating Board here.

I chose to start this journey with Skinny Chunky Monkey Cookies.  This a simple recipe that uses oats instead of flour and fruit instead of refined sugar.  There are actually quite a few variations of this recipe to be found.  I liked this one because it used apple sauce and I have a ton of that on hand!  You can see the original recipe here.

Skinny Chunky Monkey Cookies

Here’s a reprint of the recipe.  I followed it to the letter with no modifications.

Skinny Chunky Monkey Cookies Recipe:
(Makes 30 cookies) 
Ingredients:

3 ripe bananas
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Mash bananas in a large bowl, then stir in remaining ingredients. Let batter stand for approximately 20 minutes, then drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes.

Freezing Directions:
Cool completely, then place cookies in a freezer bag. Seal, label, and freeze.

 

These were so simple to make. I actually made them while holding my 9 month-old son on my hip.  (He refused to be put down that particular afternoon!)

The raw batter looked like this.

Skinny Chunky Monkey Cookies - The Batter

Skinny Chunky Monkey Cookies – The Batter

The baked cookies looked pretty similar!  They taste like chocolate covered bananas.  Frozen, they remind me of an ice cream treat.  My hubby loves them.  This recipe is a keeper!

Skinny Chunky Monkey Cookies

Skinny Chunky Monkey Cookies

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Banana Cotta Crumble

Do you ever decide on a recipe based on what you have hanging out in the cupboards or fridge?

I do this more and more these days.  It’s all part of my current focus on using up what I have on hand rather than buying a whole new set of ingredients for a recipe.

That’s exactly how I came up with this Banana Cotta Crumble.   Never heard of it before?  I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t.  In all truth, this was intended to be a Banana Cream Pie.  However, I got a little carried away at one point and strayed from the recipe(s) that I was following.  I ended up with a whole new dessert!

And yes, if I do say so myself, it was delicious.

The Occasion

We were invited out to dinner at a friend’s house.  I offered to bring dessert.  That was over a month ago.  A few days before, I thought I’d start thinking about the perfect dessert to bring.

The Cupboards

In my cupboard, I had a lonely tin of Dulce de Leche Condensed Milk and some vanilla pudding.  To be honest, I try to make everything from scratch, so having both of these prepared ingredients was kind of bothering me.  I also found some graham cracker crumbs.

I searched for a recipe that would use the condensed milk and settled on a banana cream pie.  I thought the caramel was the perfect pair for the bananas.  Of course, I’d never made such a pie before. In fact, my pie making has been limited to lemon meringue pies only!  Oh well, what could go wrong?

Ingredients

The Recipes

I am a big fan of following recipes.  I’m just not that good at throwing things together without guidance.  In this case, I decided to take the best of two recipes and combine them.  For me, I was WAY out on a limb when I decided to take this course.

I found the first recipe on All Recipes.com.  You can find the recipe here. It looked pretty straightforward.  The filling was straight condensed milk and bananas.

I found the second one on Our Best Bites here.  In this recipe, the filling was a combination of condensed milk and vanilla pudding mix.  Bingo!  Just what I was looking for in order to use up some of my extra baking supplies.

My Concoction

I started with the crust, using the directions from the All Recipes recipe.  I mixed the graham cracker crumbs with the butter and baked, as directed.  The only change I made to the crust was to add a dash of salt.  I’m a big fan of anything that is sweet and salty.

Salted Graham Cracker Crust

Salted Graham Cracker Crust

Filling

For the filling, I followed the recipe from Our Best Bites. It was a simple mix of the condensed milk, pudding mix and water.  Unfortunately, this is the point when I got kind of distracted and I ended up adding too much water.  Whoops!  The mix was yummy, but a tad runny.

After chilling it for a bit, I added some whipped cream, as per the recipe.  The chilling and the whipped cream both went a long way toward thickening up the filling.

Caramel Filling

Caramel Filling

Assembly

The final step was to assemble the pie.  I sliced up three bananas and layered them on the baked crust.

Banana Layer

Banana Layer

Next, I spooned the filling on top of the bananas.  Pretty, isn’t it?

Caramel Filling

Caramel Filling

Finally, I whipped up the rest of the whipped cream with some icing sugar and spread that on top of the caramel filling.

Topped with Whipped Cream

Topped with Whipped Cream

Keep Calm and Banana On

The dessert was made, but I was sure that it would not hold its shape once it was cut, no matter how long I chilled it.  I wasn’t sure what to do.  Should I take the dessert to the dinner party and risk embarrassment?  Should I try and whip up something else for dessert?  Should I run to the store and buy something?  I was almost out of time…

Not knowing what to do, I did what any self-respecting woman would do – I called my best friend.  She also loves to bake and cook and quickly understood the dilemma I was in.

Keep Calm and Banana On

(* Image courtesy of Google Images)

She wisely advised me to calm down.  She pointed out that there was nothing wrong with any part of the dessert.  The only issue was the presentation of the dessert.  Therefore, the logical conclusion was to simply rename the dessert and then serve it with confidence, in bowls.  Isn’t she smart?

We brainstormed a few names.  There was the Banana Cream Pudding, Banana Panna Cotta,  and Banana Crumble.  They all sounded great and we settled on Banana Cotta Crumble.  It sounded good, it was easy to say and if nothing else, it would get some attention. Though there was never any hint of a Panna Cotta recipe in this adventure, I thought we just should just run with it.  I tried out the new name on my husband as soon as he came home and he was sold.  I knew if I could convince him, I could certainly convince our hosts!

Banana Cotta Crumble

It was served that night at the dinner party and it was lovely.  The salted crust mixed well with the sweet caramel pudding.  The banana slices provided great texture and flavour.  And what dessert isn’t made better when it’s topped with sweetened whipped cream?

Banana Cotta Crumble

Banana Cotta Crumble

It’s always great when a plan comes together.  It’s even better when you’re saved from dessert disaster!