Sometimes it feels a little weird to be posting about food when the world is turning upside down on a daily basis, but hey. Maybe you need some comforting in the way of my inanity. So I’m just going to compartmentalize for a quick sec– and hope you will, too– and tell you all about what a shitty baker I am.
I love to cook. I love it. It de-stresses me and makes me whole, and basically calms me down. And I’ve been cooking for years, mostly successfully. But baking? That’s a different story. Maybe it’s because of the fact that I carefully prevented myself from ever learning just so I could avoid having copious amounts of baked goods in the house (self-control ain’t my strong suit/indulgence is my jam). Or maybe it has something to do with my complete and utter lack of math skills as well as any sort of patience, which usually results in some messed-up, whackadoodle muffins because hey! it turns out you actually have to MEASURE when you bake. Like, with proper measuring spoons and not just your eyes. God.
But it’s January, and it’s cold outside. We’re also abstaining from alcohol this month, so my precious nightly glass (lol) of wine is no longer around, and I gotta fill that void with something. So, I’ve decided to start baking.
Charlie’s never been a sweets fan because he is a psychopath, so my taste tester is my five year old, Wilder. The great thing about five year olds is they don’t mince words when they’re criticizing, well, anything. Case in point when I asked him what he thought of my blue nail polish and he said, “It looks like you’re dead”. So, if he says something’s good, then you know you’re on the money.
I’m not going to go into too much detail of my failed attempts here, like the dry as bones Earl Grey coconut bars I made fresh out of the gate that went straight into the trash, or the oily as hell blueberry muffins that made my son exhibit actual sympathy by saying gently, “I like them, Mama. Just.. not right now.” Learning curves can be steep sometimes.
But today, we finally had a eureka! moment, brought to you by following some directions, substituting things that made sense, and good old fashioned luck. This recipe is a take on one from the lovely Giada de Laurentiis, except my grocery store out in the sticks was missing half of what was needed, so I had to improvise. And while improvising has never been high on my list of special skills (ask David Hewlett to tell you the “I do NOT do improv” story sometime), today it all worked out!
Giada calls these Banana Bread Brownies, but my bread to brownie ratio didn’t exactly pan out that way, so I’m going with Chocolate Chip Banana Bites. I realize I’m not doing a great job of selling these, but trust me when I say that these are cakey, chocolatey, delicious little morsels of comfort that were not only ravely reviewed by my blunt as F child, but also devoured completely, and, because they’re not totally loaded with sugar, caused zero meltdowns. What a WIN!
Let me know what you think! Eat your feelings!
Chocolate Chip Banana Bites
3 ripe bananas
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
3 tbsp canola oil
1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup quick cooking oats
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Spray an 8×8 pan with cooking spray and line it with parchment paper.
Mash the bananas in a large bowl, then add the peanut butter, oil, milk, sugar, and salt. Mix it up until the lumps are pretty much gone, but mine was pretty lumpy and life went on, so don’t worry too much about it. Add the flour, oats, and baking powder and stir till combined. Pour half the batter into the pan and smooth it out so it’s even. Add the cocoa powder and chocolate chips to the remaining dough mix in the bowl and stir to combine. Pour all that over top of the plain batter and smooth it out as best you can. Bake for 40 minutes and try not to open the oven door a million times to check on them because I’m pretty sure that’s how things flatten and turn into hockey pucks. Let them cool for 20 minutes, then cut into squares and serve. Delish!