Friday, June 21, 2013

Butterscotch Banana Birdseed Bars (#RecipeRedux)

Now that we've reached the end of the school year, my task as the cook has turned from churning out the "approved" menus to finding creative ways of using up the last of our groceries by the end of today. I have found myself making things I never thought I would this week - applesauce muffin-bread with ground cereal for flour, chicken hot dogs on pizza, egg salad sandwiches made with a combination of mayo and French onion dip... you get the picture. While I'm being forced to clean out our school kitchen (since the place is shutting down, sadly), the "pantry challenge" is carrying over to my home life too. It's been a while since I looked through my baking shelves, and let me tell you - it was definitely time to get using some of this stuff.
Butterscotch Banana Birdseed Bars
I wound up combining bits from both school and home when it came to making these moist bars. Tender, butterscotchy batter filled with caramelized bananas got peppered with the dregs of some of my seed bags and a spoonful of ricotta. While the recipe looks long and drawn out, in reality it's fairly simple to execute and the flavours meld into a profile similar to a slightly upscale banana bread. It's nice enough to serve with a drizzle of raspberry coulis or cherry sauce for a romantic summer dessert, but unfussy enough that you can toss a few chunks into your hiking bag or pack the whole thing for a picnic lunch. Who knows, the birds might even appreciate the "birdseed" bits too!

This month's #RecipeRedux is all about the seeds - adding crunch to pasta, salads, puddings, granola and even cakes and bars like this!



Butterscotch Banana Birdseed Bars

Butterscotch Banana Birdseed Bars
Adapted from Technicolor Kitchen
Serves 12

Butterscotch Bananas:
¾ cup vanilla sugar
¼ cup water
3 large bananas, diced
1 1/2 tbsp salted butter
1 tbsp Scotch whiskey

Cake:
1 large, overripe banana
8 (1g) packets PureVia All Natural Zero Calorie Sweetener (or 1/3 cup sucanat)
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
1/4 cup non-fat plain Greek style yogurt
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp full-fat ricotta (or more Greek yogurt)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tbsp whole egg powder (or one egg + 2 tbsp flour)
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat (or spelt) flour
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
1/2 cup mixed seeds (I used millet, amaranth, and poppy)

Butterscotch Bananas:
  1. Mix vanilla sugar and water in a saucepan and place over medium heat.
  2. Without stirring, bring to a boil then cook until the sugar turns to a dark brown-red colour.
  3. Add the diced banana, butter and Scotch, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
Cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 9" square pan with greased parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the banana with the stevia and sugar.
  3. Beat in the yoghurt, vanilla, ricotta, oil and applesauce (and whole egg, if using).
  4. Stir in the egg powder, flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt, then fold in the butterscotch bananas and seeds.
  5. Bake for 50 minutes, until tests done. Cool completely in the pan.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 252.6
Total Fat: 7.8 g
Cholesterol: 12.1 mg
Sodium: 19.1 mg
Total Carbs: 43.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.8 g
Protein: 4.9 g