week98Who doesn’t love bananas? Who doesn’t love desserts? Combine them together and it’s a win-win sweet ending to any meal or a delicious treat when snacking in-between.

Perhaps you remember my mentioning how bananas are my Mother’s favorite fruit. In “The Bulging Benefits of Bananas,” I shared how Mom would always buy a bunch or two from the grocer, encourage us to snack on these white soft fruits every day, and how she would add several into delicious homemade meals and, better yet, desserts.

I also cited how bananas are loaded with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, including potassium, fiber, B vitamins, tryptophan, and the good sugars – glucose, fructose and sucrose. And how eating this fruit daily has ample health benefits, such as fighting depression, curing hangovers, relieving morning sickness, and helping to protect against kidney cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and blindness, and more. Plus benefits one who never think of – reducing the itch and swell of a mosquito bite by placing the inside of the banana peel against it and the same for removing warts.

But let’s get back to the desserts. Bananas make an excellent ingredient to add to cakes, cookies, pies, puddings, and more. They are especially delish when paired up with peanut butter, oats, apples, or dark chocolate.

Since healthy desserts are often hard to find, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite banana desserts. Try one or try them all!

Banana, Apple and Almond Butter Smoothie
In a blender, add 2 frozen bananas (peeled and cut in chunks), 1 medium apple (cored and quartered), 1/4 cup almond butter, 1/2 cup almond milk (or soy milk, non-fat milk, or coconut water), and 1 pinch nutmeg (optional). Blend until smooth. Add ice for additional thickness.

Banana, Apple and Walnut Bread
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9-inch loaf pan. In a medium-sized bowl, mash 2 ripe bananas with a fork. Add 1 peeled and diced apple, 1/2 cup Sucanat or Stevia, 1 3/4 cups whole-wheat flour, 1/2 cup applesauce, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon to the bowl, and mix well. Pour into greased pan, and sprinkle with chopped 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out dry. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Banana Carrot Cake with Blackberries
Preheat oven to 350°F. Mash 2 large and ripe
 bananas with a fork, add 3 eggs and 2 tablespoons coconut oil and whisk together. Add 3/4 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup brown rice flour, 1 cup rolled oats, 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional), 1 teaspoon vanilla, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of saffron. Stir. Shred two carrots and ground 1 cup walnuts. Add to the mixture and stir. Grease the inside of 2 large 8-inch tartlet tins with coconut oil. Pour the batter into the tins and bake for about 30 minutes. Serve the cake while warm and top each with fresh blackberries and roasted almonds.

Banana Cream Pie
Peel 4-6 ripe bananas and cut in half. Place in a Ziploc bag or container and freeze overnight. For the crust, add 2 cups of unroasted, unsalted almonds into a food processor and process until ground. With processor still running, add a touch of maple syrup in a slow thin drizzle. Press crust mixture into a medium size pie plate with your finger, spatula, or wooden spoon. Next, fill crust with a generous amount of banana ice cream using a spatula or wooden spoon to evenly distribute and smooth out. Top pie with fresh fruit – blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries.

Banana Foster
Peel 3 large firm ripe bananas and cut into medallions. Heat one tablespoon of coconut oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet and add bananas. Cook for 2-3 minutes, just until tender and turns brown. Serve warm over banana ice cream or Greek yogurt.

Banana Ice Cream
Peel 2 medium bananas and cut into medallions. Freeze until it hardens, about an hour or two. Remove and blend in a food processor or blender until smooth and creamy. Add 3 tablespoons almond butter and teaspoons honey and blend OR add 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons coconut milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Both combos are delish or toss in fresh berries. You can also just eat just plain. Transfer to freezable container and freeze for a few more hours. Then serve and indulge!

Banana Muffins
Preheat oven to 325°F. Mash 2 very ripe bananas with a fork until mostly smooth. Stir in 2 eggs, coconut 1/4 cup melted coconut oil, 2 tablespoons honey, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon and apple cider vinegar. Additional optional add-ins include: 1/4 cup shredded coconut, 1/4 cup chopped nuts or seeds, 1/4 cup shredded carrot or shredded zucchini, 1/4 cup dried cranberries or raisins, or 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips. Mix together 1 cup almond flour, sifted 1/4 cup coconut flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. Add to mixture until well blended. Let batter rest for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the coconut flour to absorb the liquids. Fill paper-lined or well-greased muffin tins 2/3 full and bake 15 to 20 minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick. Cool for 10 minutes then remove muffins to a wire rack. Makes 12 regular-size muffins.

Banana Oatmeal Cookies
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mash 3 ripe bananas and mix with the 3 cups oats (preferably not instant), 1/2 cup skim milk and 1 egg. Add in 2 tablespoons Stevia (or other sugar substitute), 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon peanut butter (optional). Other optional add-ins area 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or raisins. Grease a cookie tray with cooking spray and spoon the mixture on to make around 9 large cookies. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Store in an airtight container.

Banana Peanut Butter Pudding
Puree 15 ounces chickpeas (or 15 ounces garbanzo beans), 1 banana, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 teaspoon honey in a blender, food processor, or hand blender. Spoon into serving bowls and refrigerate before serving.

Frozen Chocolate-Covered Bananas
Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Peel and cut 4 large ripe bananas into thirds crosswise. Insert a Popsicle stick into each piece of banana. Cover each piece with melted dark chocolate using a rubber spatula and sprinkle with shredded coconut or crushed nuts. Place the bananas on the baking sheet and freeze until frozen, about 2 hours. Indulge or store airtight in the freezer for up to one week.

Be Fit. Be Strong. Be Well.