Dark Chocolate Banana Chips

I’m always in the market for a good snack. While browsing the endless aisles of the grocery store, I came across some dark chocolate banana chips! However, being the cheap yet delightfully adventurous college student that I am, I realized I had enough ingredients in the cupboard to try making my own. The result? BEST SNACK EVAAAAA!

The best part of this snack is the three main ingredients– bananas, dark chocolate chips (I tend to use the organic variety but feel to use whatever you like!) and a little lemon juice to keep the bananas from browning. And that’s it! No additives, preservatives or yellow #6.

Dark Chocolate Banana Chips

Ingredients

  • two bananas
  • 1/2 cup organic dark chocolate chips
  • lemon juice

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 200° F.
  2. Slice banans 1/4 of an inch thick and place on parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Sprinkle lemon juice over bananas to keep them from turning brown.
  3. When finished, put cookie sheets in oven. Bake bananas for about two hours until flat and slightly crispy.
  4. Allow banana chips to cool for about 20 minutes. While waiting, lay out a large sheet of wax paper.
  5. Melt dark chocolate chips in a microwavable safe bowl. When banana chips are cooled, use two forks and dip the bananas in melted chocolate. Place on the wax paper and allow the chocolate to harden. Enjoy!
    (Also, if you don’t eat them all right away, store these bad boys in the fridge to keep the freshness alive!)

Fudge-tastic Two-Bite Brownies

Chocolate is something which I really like. I usually can never get enough of the stuff and when I do it’s quite rare and pigs begin to sprout wings and horses do math problems and all that. And when we move into the category of the dense, soft and sticky chocolate baked goods variety, I’m head over heels in sweet love. I still don’t have any eggs or butter in the fridge but that’s okay. These lovely little delights turned out perfectly anyways!

Something else I love is my mini muffin pan. Or today, known as a two bite brownie pan. They’re perfect for baking informal little treats that could probably be eaten in one bite as well. Additionally, when using a fairly liquid batter, mini muffin pans are always a winning idea to ensure your dish will bake through. (I always seem to run into this problem when using loaf pans and untried quick bread batter. I think I’ll start crafting mini muffins instead)

What makes these brownies so indulgent-forgiving is their secret ingredient: pumpkin puree. I find that pumpkin itself has a rather subtle taste, easily masked and lightened by other distinctive flavors such as chocolate or cinnamon. Also, rather than using applesauce or a ripened, smashed banana, pumpkin puree is thicker and more substancial, leading to an overall heightened fudge-tastic experience in this particular baking round.

Plus, these brownies provide a great avenue to get that extra veggie (well, technically fruit) boost, especially for picky eaters who might not receive it otherwise. With all those vitamins A, C, K, and E, and minerals such as magnesium, potassium, iron, a little bit of pumpkin and chocolate will help your mind and body BTHO the coming weeks before summer!

Two-Bite Fudge Brownies

Yield: 18 Brownies

Ingredients:

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup white whole wheat flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

3 tablespoons canola oil

1.5 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons milk of choice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup (vegan) chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, and cocoa powder and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the oil, honey, milk, and vanilla and add to the flour mixture. Fold in chocolate chips. Grease a mini muffin pan and fill indentions with a heaping teaspoon of batter. Bake for 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Vegan Black Bean Burgers with Cilantro Guacamole

Happy Friday!
Week one of the spring school semester is officially over, at least for those in attendance at A&M. I personally lucked out this semester with zero classes on Fridays. In celebration, I hopped over to the store in preparation for my unique TGIF meal, Vegan Black Bean Burgers with Cilantro Guacamole.

While I’m not a vegan, I’m definitely a veggie burger (or any burger/sandwich) fan. Growing up, one of my best friends was vegetarian and introduced me to the world of non-meat eating. I thought it would be a very very sad world but, as it turns out, it wasn’t so bad after all.

While I’m slightly skittish of canned goods, buying beans in a can isn’t scary at all. It’s also a lot easier than buying dry as one must soak their beans overnight before using. And I’m kind of an instant gratification type person.

Before mashing beans, I lightly sauteed some onion and herbs for the patties, similar to what we did with the herbed turkey burgers.Beans don’t have an extreme amount of flavor by themselves and this really adds a nice flavor and texture.

When mashing the beans, I suggest a fork/potato masher rather than a food processor. My roommate and I both agreed that the processor would yield something hummus like rather than burger like.

Plus, I think these look nice and rustic once patty-fied, don’t you?

To finish, I topped my burger with tomato, goat cheese (not vegan [I’m a cheater]) spinach, and a spread made from smashed avocado, lemon juice, and cilantro. I’ve found this also makes a great, non-spicy guacamole dip for those of us who can’t manage a pepper.

Additionally, I threw some oven baked sweet potato frieson the side. As I kept going back for more, I’m pretty sure I almost ate an entire sweet potato. Thus, I hope you enjoy this veggie filled meal and make it for all your friends!

Vegan Black Bean Burgers
Servings: 3          Prep Time: 20 minutes          Cook Time: 5-10 minutes

1 15 oz can of black beans
1/4 onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon rosemary, minced
1/4 teaspoon any herb(s) of your choice (I used sage and oregano)
pinch of garlic salt
2 tablespoons oats

Directions
1. Saute onion and herbs in a small pan for about 5 minutes or until onions begin to soften. Set aside
2. Drain and rinse black beans. Place in a medium bowl and smash beans with a fork or potato masher for roughly 5 minutes. The mixture should have the consistency of, say, chunky hot sauce rather than hummus.
3. Add onion mixture and oats to the beans. Mix with hands until combined and form in to 3 patties.
4. Heat a skillet to medium heat and cook patties about 3-5 minutes per side until browned.
5. When finished, top with sliced tomato, spinach, or anything else of your choice.

Cilantro Guacamole
Servings: 3          Prep Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients
1/2 large avocado, peeled and pitted
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried cilantro
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions
Lightly smash avocado with a fork. Add lemon juice, cilantro, and mix until combined. Salt and pepper to taste.