Saturday, November 22, 2014

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins and Reflections on Turning Fifty

They tell me that 50 is the new fabulous…..Do I believe them?  Maybe.   I know that I am closer to death than I am to birth.  A reminder that life has a finite span.  This thought both sobers me and liberates me.  Makes me stop and think often of what's important, what's not.

I used to be able to eat whatever I wanted to eat, HELL NO, not anymore.  DITTO on eating after 9:00 p.m.   Love jalapeno poppers, ate six of them recently, had a burn for six days.

This new decade has given me the freedom to make new choices and the courage to do them.  I prefer the "complex" to the "complicated"  complex is so much more interesting.  I am a bit more daring, more adventorous and more loving.  I believe now I have experience and wisdom to share….Whoa, when did I arrive there (laugh).  I am hopeful that I will take my new decade to continue to explore and discover the world around me with a focus on making a difference.

So, my first fifty-year old blog post is going to start with ridding myself of the frozen overripe bananas in my freezer.  I am in a vicious cycle.   I buy them, they sit to long on my counter, and I throw them in a ziploc bag in my freezer, and before I know it, I am being over run with mystery date bananas.  A experienced fifty year old might simply unload her freezer full of bananas into the waste can and be done-but, I am a young fifty year old still exploring her options.

The recipe calls for using a 12-count muffin pan.  Hey, I am fifty and I used a 6-count mini-bundt pan.


Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Makes 12
Recipe from Epicurious



Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large)
1 large egg
1/2 cup unslated butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line twelve 1/3 cup muffin cups with muffin liner.  Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  Mix mashed bananas, egg, melted butter and milk in medium bowl.  Stir banana mixture into dry ingredients just until blended (do not over mix).  Stir in chocolate chips.

Divide batter among prepared muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full.  Bake muffins until tops are pale golden and tester inserted into center comes out with some melted chocolate attached but no crumbs, about 25-30 minutes.  Transfer muffins to rack and cool.

Enjoy!


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Dark Chocolate Black Bean Brownies

I would have probably raised my eyebrow had it been mentioned that black beans would be a healthy alternative ingredient to flour in brownies. It would have been difficult to imagine.  Obviously I am behind in the baking times…Not anymore. I am a believer. With the rise in sensitivity to gluten it has become known that bean flour or in this case A Can of BEANS is a good alternative to white flour for cakes, muffins and BROWNIES!

The jackpot has been won with this one bowl, one pan delight.  I love to bake when I don't have to think too hard, and when dessert has an opportunity to be enjoyed as a guilt-free pleasure.


Dark Chocolate Black Bean Brownies
Serves 10
Recipe from Rebecca Andexler

Ingredients
1 can (15-ounces) Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons butter
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 piece of parchment paper
Butter, softened for greasing pan

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  Line 8"X 8"X 2" baking pan with parchment paper and grease with butter

3.  Combine Black Beans, chocolate chips, flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, eggs, butter and vanilla extract in bowl of food processor.

4.  Secure food processor lid and blend until mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes.

5.  Spread batter evenly into prepared baking pan, using rubber spatula to scrape batter from bowl.  If desire, sprinkle chocolate chips and walnuts evenly over top.

6.  Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of brownie comes out clean.

7.  Remove pan from oven and allow brownies to cool completely before cutting into squares.

Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Enjoy!