Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

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You know what I love? Cookies. You know what I love even more? Delicious cookies that are healthy too, like these yummy banana chocolate chip cookies. They only have 6 ingredients: bananas, oats, peanut butter, chocolate chips, vanilla, and salt. Yep, that’s right – no flour, butter, or sugar. I suppose one could argue that chocolate chips aren’t really healthy, but we don’t know any of those people, right?

Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are super easy to make too; just throw all of the ingredients into one bowl, mix it up, and bake for 15 minutes. If you’re wondering, yes, they do taste like bananas. I’m not a huge fan of bananas myself, but I really like these cookies. They remind me of chocolate chip banana bread. My oldest daughter doesn’t like bananas very much either, but even she devoured these cookies (I may have neglected to tell her that bananas were one of the main ingredients).

The sugar in the bananas make the cookies plenty sweet, so no need to worry about that. In fact, I would recommend that you use semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips in this recipe; the bitterness will complement the sweet cookies nicely. As you can see from my photo, I didn’t skimp on the chocolate chips. You can probably reduce the chocolate chips to 1/2 cup, if you want a less chocolately cookie.

I used ripe, but not overripe bananas (yellow, not brown). For those with peanut allergies, you can either omit the peanut butter, or substitute a different nut/seed butter. If you do omit the peanut butter, increase the amount of salt a bit.

Ingredients
2 bananas, mashed
1 cup uncooked oats
3/4 cup chocolate chips
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with a Silpat baking mat, or parchment paper.

Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl, and stir well to combine. If you used large bananas, you may need to add a bit more oats. The mixture should be sticky and wet, but not runny.

Plop rounded tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheet. (Note: I experimented with flattening a few of my “plops” before baking, but the taste and texture was the same.) Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the cookies are light golden brown on the bottom. Let cool a few minutes and enjoy!

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Blueberry Banana Coconut Smoothie

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The weather is warming up and it’s finally berry season! I love making healthy smoothies with ripe berries for a refreshing snack or a quick breakfast. I’ve been trying to cut back on sugar, so I don’t usually add any sweetener (the fruit is usually sweet enough). You may want to add a bit of honey if you like your smoothies a bit sweeter. I also add some fresh spinach to all of my smoothies now – you won’t even know it’s there!

Ingredients
1 cup of crushed ice
2/3 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 banana, sliced
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
Small handful of baby spinach
1-2 tablespoons milk

Put all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. You can also use a stick blender to blend your smoothie together (I got one for Christmas and it makes my smoothie prep a breeze!).

Pour your smoothie into a tall glass, add a straw and enjoy the refreshing goodness.

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Chocolate Banana Bread with Walnuts

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It has been cold and wet this week so I have been in a bit of a baking frenzy. I started the week with this amazing chocolate banana bread. The chocolate adds some decadence to this moist bread and changes simple breakfast bread into a sweet treat.

Ingredients
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup), softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 overripe bananas
3/4 cup unbleached flour
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour (or use all unbleached flour)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork, then stir into the butter mixture.

In a medium bowl, add the unbleached flour, white whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Use a whisk to stir the dry ingredients together until well combined.

Gradually mix the flour mixture into the banana mixture. Mix in the milk, and then stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

Pour into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

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Banana Sour Cream Bread

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This is my favorite banana bread recipe. The addition of sour cream makes it super moist, and I love the cinnamon-sugar flavor on the crust. Click here to view the original recipe, which yields four loaves (I reduced the ingredients to make only two loaves).

Ingredients
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 (16 ounce) container sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Grease two 7×3 loaf pans. (Note: if you have larger loaf pans, you may be able to fit all of the batter into one loaf pan; just be sure to increase the oven temperature to 325 degrees, and allow for extra baking time.) In a small bowl, mix together the 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Dust pans lightly with cinnamon-sugar mixture.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 1 1/2 cups of sugar (don’t worry if it doesn’t get “creamy”, just be sure to mix it well).  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well. Stir in the mashed bananas, sour cream, vanilla, and cinnamon. Add the salt, baking soda, and flour and mix well. Then stir in the walnuts. Pour the mixture into the prepared pans.

Bake for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

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