Skinny Frozen Banana Pops

20190326_114118Imagine for a moment that you’re passing through your kitchen and you notice a bunch of bananas becoming overly ripe. What do you do? Do you try to eat as many as you can before they go bad? Do you whip up some banana bread? Do you slice them up and freeze for smoothies? Or would you just simply toss them out? As you can see, there are many options for salvaging bananas, so hopefully your answer was not to just toss them out. I personally love bread and muffins, and if it was still fall or winter I would have made some. However, since we have officially hit spring, I thought it was time for a new way to prevent banana waste that would compliment the warming temperatures. So I did a little research, ran a few tests, & viola, these frozen banana pops were born.

IMG_20190322_170845_932As a foodie that’s doing my best to stay fit, I’m always on the hunt for foods I can give a cleaner, more nutritious makeover to. After a recent visit to the amusement park, I was reminded of my previous love for frozen, chocolate-covered bananas. Instead of giving up on these sweet treats altogether, I thought I’d try to make them healthier. With that said, bananas on their own are a rather healthy snack option. Containing both potassium and manganese, they pack a mineral punch. Potassium is an important nutrient because it helps keep your blood pressure regulated, while manganese is needed for the body to produce collagen. A protein found in skin, bones, tendons, and connective tissue, collagen is most known for improving the health of our skin, hair, and nails. Beyond keeping us youthful, collagen can also help relieve joint pain, prevent bone loss, and boost muscle mass.

20190326_114259With all the benefits a regular banana provides for the body, it honestly doesn’t take much to clean up a frozen banana pop. Therefore, I started my process by stripping the banana back down to its roots, before adding toppings that contain more nutritional value than chocolate alone. Dark chocolate, chopped nuts, and unsweetened shredded coconut all add nutritional value while making the banana feel more decadent. I also refrained from submerging the entire banana in melted chocolate and opted for sprinkles of chopped dark chocolate instead. To make the toppings adhere to the banana while providing a bit of protein and sweetness, I mixed a blend of unsweetened almond milk, all-natural peanut butter, and pure maple syrup. Once assembled, my version is only 169 calories a pop and are without all the harmful processed ingredients you’d find in store-bought frozen bananas.

20190326_114221So the next time you need to keep hunger at bay without ruining your diet, give these nutty and chocolaty frozen banana pops a try. They will satisfy your sweet tooth without feeling any of the guilt!

 

Skinny Frozen Banana Pops

(Yield: 8 Servings)

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 large Bananas; peeled & cut in half crosswise
  • 5 tbsp. Unsweetened Plain Almond Milk
  • ¼ cup Natural Creamy Unsalted Peanut Butter
  • 1 tbsp. Pure Maple Syrup
  • ¼ cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
  • ¼ cup Finely Chopped Dark Chocolate
  • ¼ cup Chopped Pecans or Walnuts
  • 8 Wooden Pop Sticks

 

Preparation:

  1. Line a large sheet tray with parchment paper. Pour toppings (coconut, dark chocolate, chopped nuts) onto a large plate. Set aside.
  2. Gently push a wooden stick into the cut end of each banana. Place on prepared sheet tray & set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine almond milk, peanut butter, and maple syrup until smooth. Holding one banana pop over the bowl, spoon peanut butter mixture over the banana, making sure to cover all sides. Allow excess to drip back into the bowl.
  4. Over the plate of toppings, hold the covered banana and evenly sprinkle with shredded coconut, dark chocolate, and nuts. Lay the completed banana pop on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat process with remaining bananas.
  5. Cover prepared bananas and freeze until firm, or at least 4 hours. Transfer to a zip-top freezer bag or container and store for up to 2 months.

 

Nutrients Per Serving: 1 Banana Pop

Calories: 169 Calories, Protein: 4 g.,

Total Fat: 9 g., Sat. Fat: 3 g.,

Fiber: 3 g., Sodium: 11 mg.,

Sugars: 12 g., Carbs: 21 g.,

Cholesterol: 0 mg

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: C. LYONS
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2019

 

 

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Plum-Almond Buckle

20180730_112740In Florida, it pretty much feels like summer year round. With the exception of a few weeks in the winter, the temperature doesn’t give much indication to the season we’re currently in. One way we stay in touch with the seasons, like the rest of the country, is via the produce that’s being harvested.

20180730_112610I don’t know about you but there’s something about a juicy stone fruit that screams summer. Peaches are my favorite variety, but with plums only 0.99¢ a pound, I could’t pass up the opportunity to snatch a bunch to bake with. Available from May to October, plums hit their peak harvest in July. There are over 2,000 varieties worldwide, with more than 100 types in the U.S. alone, making for plenty of options at your local farmstand throughout the summer and into early fall.

20180730_112124Although lusciously juicy and sweet to eat out of hand, plums provide a complex flavor and texture to any dish they’re added to. The sweet flesh and tart skin of plums are particularly fantastic in desserts, with this plum buckle being a perfect representation of that fact. In case you aren’t familiar, a buckle is a dessert where fruit is placed on top of a layer of cake batter, which rises to the top while baking and then buckles when cool. Buckles are quick and easy to prepare, which means you can whip this dessert up fast for that unexpected BBQ or have it on the table for dinner in no time!

 

Plum-Almond Buckle

 

Ingredients:

  • 7.6 oz. (about 1 & 1/3 cup) White Whole Wheat Flour
  • ¾ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¼ Salt
  • 6 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; softened
  • ½ cup plus 1 tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 tsp. grated Lemon Zest
  • 1 ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 large Egg
  • ½ cup lowfat Buttermilk
  • 3 Plums; halved, pitted, & sliced ½ in. thick
  • 2 tbsp. Sliced Almonds

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the butter, ½ cup sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla. Beat mixture at medium speed until creamy. Add egg and beat until combined. Alternatively add the flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, blending just until combined.
  4. Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan. Arrange sliced plums on top of batter. Sprinkle evenly with almonds and the remaining tablespoon of sugar.
  5. Bake 30-40 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool cake in the pan on a wire cooling rack before serving.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2018

Summer Fruit Galette

20180717_110614Summer is in full swing, which means more sun, fun, and a bounty of fresh, colorful produce to choose from. If you head over to your local farmer’s market or chain grocer, you’re sure to find an abundance of in season fruits and vegetables right now. Not only is there a larger variety of produce, but prices are likely to be significantly lower thanks to plentiful harvests.

20180717_111219The past several weeks have been cherries galore on sale, which is why my last post, Easy Cherry Upside-Down Cake, happened to feature them. This week it was BOGO raspberries and peaches. When I see great deals like these I can’t pass them up. I usually have no idea what to do with the ingredients at the time but I figure it out later. That was the case with this recipe. I had a bunch of peaches and raspberries with little time to myself to make anything. I needed something quick, easy, and would leave the fruit as the star of the show. This summer fruit galette was the answer.

20180717_110927What I love about this rustic dessert is the peaches and raspberries get to stand center stage. Usually in a pie it’s all crust and the fruit gets lost in between. With a galette, the fruit is showcased beautifully and the preparation couldn’t be easier. My 5 year old and one year old daughters even had a blast helping prepare this so if there is a rainy day or your kids love to bake, spend time together as a family making this galette. Oh and did I mention clean up is a breeze. I can count the amount of dishes I had on one hand which makes for an even happier baking experience. So the next time you see a bunch of summer fruit on sale, don’t hesitate to grab it and whip up this easy fruit galette for a quick dessert to accompany dinner or your next summer cookout!

Summer Fruit Galette

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 roll Refrigerated Pie Crust (2 rolls per box)
  • 1 pound Peaches; pitted, halved, & sliced into ½ in. wedges
  • 6 oz. Raspberries
  • 1/3 cup Sugar plus 1 tsp.; divided
  • 1 tsp. Lemon Juice
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • 2 tsp. Fat-Free Milk

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 13 inch circle. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine peaches, raspberries, 1/3 cup sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Mix well.
  4. Mound filling in center of prepared crust, leaving a 3 inch border. Fold edge of dough up and over filling, pleating as necessary. Brush edge of dough with milk and sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp. of sugar.
  5. Bake galette until filling is tender and crust is browned, approximately 35-40 minutes. Slide galette (with parchment paper) onto a wire rack to cool. Cut into wedges and serve.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2018

Easy Cherry Upside-Down Cake

20180707_105854Summer means school’s out, barbeques light up, and ample time is spent outdoors enjoying the fantastic weather. With longer days and warmer temps, entertaining becomes easier and sometimes unexpected if people decide to drop over. If you’re ever looking for a dessert that’s quick to prepare for last minute summer get togethers or easy enough to make and take for a picnic, look no further than this delicious cake.

20180707_110006Featuring in season cherries, you’ll get a taste of summer bursting through every bite. I make this with my favorite organic cake mix, Miss Jones, for convenience, however you can also make it with your own homemade cake recipe if you have more time. Dark, sweet cherries taste best, however you can use any variety of cherry available to you or even mix and match. The juices released from the cherries make for a moist, flavorful, and easy cake!

20180707_105802NOTE: Fresh or frozen cherries can be used in this recipe. If using frozen cherries, be sure to thoroughly thaw and drain the cherries before proceeding with the recipe as directed.

Easy Cherry Upside-Down Cake

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; melted
  • 1/3 cup packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 4 cups pitted fresh Bing Cherries
  • 1 box Vanilla Cake Mix

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Place butter in a 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Place pan in oven until butter is melted. Remove from oven and swirl melted butter around pan to evenly coat.
  2. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over melted butter. Arrange cherries in a single layer over brown sugar. Set pan aside.
  3. In a large bowl, prepare cake mix according to package directions. Pour prepared batter into pan. Spread batter evenly over cherries.
  4. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow cake to cool in pan for 10 minutes.
  5. Loosen cake from edges of pan with a knife and then invert cake onto a serving platter or sheet pan. Place on a wire rack to cool completely.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2018

 

Rhubarb Apple Pie

20180525_184415The arrival of spring is a time much welcomed by those hit with the winter blues. It’s a time when warmer days allow you to pack away the jackets and begin purchasing a new bounty of fresh produce. Strawberries are probably the most popular spring pick, which is why I’m here to tell you about rhubarb.

20180525_184941Beginning in April and continuing through the summer, rhubarb is at its peak. It looks a lot like a stalk of celery, and even has the same stringy texture, but one bite of this plant and you will never forget how tart it is. To this day I still remember my first bite of raw rhubarb, and my decision to hate it for a long while after. I was very young, probably around 5 years old, when my dad picked a stalk from the plant in our backyard and offered I try it. I remember him stressing for me not to ever eat the leaves as they are poisonous, but his words would not be necessary. Merely taking one bite of that freshly picked stalk would keep me from wanting to go near the plant. Later that summer, however, I did ultimately give rhubarb a second chance, but in the form of a pie.

20180525_184822As tart as rhubarb is fresh, once it’s cooked the flavor gets drastically toned back to a delightful balance of sweet and tart. Once I realized this, I was in love, and every year thereafter I would look forward to the time the rhubarb would make its seasonal debut. My dad usually let rhubarb stand alone as the star of the pie, but I prefer it to share the title with other fruits. Two of the most popular pairings for rhubarb are strawberries and apples. Since strawberries are in season at the same time as rhubarb and their sweet flavor profile helps balance rhubarb’s tartness, it’s only natural they would be a favorite combination option. For me, however, there is just something delicious about the combination of cinnamon, sugar, fresh sliced rhubarb, and equally tart, sliced Granny Smith apples. But no matter which fresh fruit combination you choose, I guarantee you’ll have the makings of a perfect pie.

*NOTE: If you elect to give this pie a try, you can expect to spend about 30 minutes of time preparing it. From start to finish the pie should take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes and will yield 12 servings. If you have trouble finding fresh rhubarb or would like to make the pie when it’s not in season, you can substitute frozen rhubarb for the fresh. If you do opt for frozen rhubarb instead of fresh, be sure to thoroughly thaw and drain it before using as directed in the recipe, otherwise you will end up with a loose filling and soggy crust. If you’re considering serving this pie to guests, I recommend pairing with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

 

Rhubarb Apple Pie

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 refrigerated or frozen 9 inch Pie Shell
  • 3 ½ cups (about 1 ¼ pounds) Sliced Rhubarb
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tbsp. fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 Granny Smith Apples; peeled, cored, & sliced
  • ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 3/8 tsp. Salt; divided
  • ½ cup White Whole-Wheat Flour; plus 3 tbsp.
  • ½ cup Old-Fashioned Oats
  • ½ cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 6 tbsp. Cold Unsalted Butter; cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup Chopped Walnuts

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Place pie shell on a baking sheet & set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the rhubarb, granulated sugar, lemon juice, and apples. Sprinkle with cinnamon, ¼ tsp. salt, and 3 tbsp. flour. Toss to combine. Spoon the mixture into the pie shell and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, place the remaining flour (½ cup), remaining 1/8 tsp. salt, oats, and brown sugar. Cut butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or food processor until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in walnuts. Sprinkle mixture evenly over the rhubarb filling.
  4. Bake pie for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375° (do not remove pie) and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. If crust begins to get too brown, shield it with foil. Once baked, place pie on a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before slicing & serving. Enjoy!

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: JULIANNA GRIMES
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2018

Skinny Roasted Banana Pudding

20170726_155542In the south, banana pudding is a quintessential summer dessert. It is a valued traditional fare like cheesecake is to New Yorkers. Despite all of its southern charm, traditional banana pudding harbors an enormous amount of calories and saturated fat. As much as I love traditional recipes they don’t quite fit into a healthy lifestyle I try to lead. I needed to find balance, a way to slim down traditional recipes without losing their classic flavors.

20170726_155602I usually have bananas on hand because both of my daughter’s love them. Problem is both of my daughter’s love them and the second I use them for a recipe they will request them all day and refuse to eat anything else. Thankfully, my preschooler has been particularly picky lately and has not been requesting bananas while my youngest has had tummy troubles from the formula to milk transition and definitely does not need anymore binding foods. This caused my bunch of bananas to hit the overly ripe stage and make them free to use for baking.

20170726_151850Now that I had bananas I had to figure out how to shave down the average traditional recipe’s 800 calories, 49 grams of fat, and 19 grams saturated fat without losing the taste everyone falls in love with upon first bite. My first idea was to enhance the banana flavor in order to compensate for the loss of richness sacrificed along with the heavy cream. I know from my culinary school days that when you roast a banana the naturally occurring sugars concentrate and take on a caramelized flavor. This would allow me to boost the flavor of the custard and reduce the amount of added sugar as well. The only problem with this approach is the texture of the roasted bananas becomes too soft to slice for the banana layers that adorn the custard base. My solution was to roast only the bananas needed for the custard as they would be mashed anyway and keep the sliced bananas fresh so they would retain their shape and texture.

20170726_152128To finish up my recipe makeover I swapped 2% milk for the heavy cream or half & half found in traditional recipes. The added richness from the roasted bananas more than made up for the taste lost along with the fat. For the topping I used light whipping cream over heavy cream to save even more calories and fat. Even though the whipped topping doesn’t hold a stiff peak like it would have if made with heavy cream, it is not necessary for this recipe. After all the tweaking, this recipe saves over 500 calories, 44 grams of fat, and almost 17 grams saturated fat per serving without losing a bit of good ole’ southern charm!

20170726_155634Note: If you are not serving the entire pudding right away you will want to prepare just enough whipped cream for what you are serving rather than spreading the full amount across the entire pudding as the final layer. This whipped cream is not stabilized in order to save calories and fat so it will lose its hold over time (approximately 2 hours of holding time). Rather than ruining the entire pudding due to weeping, simply whip up some fresh whipped cream with each serving.

 

Skinny Roasted Banana Pudding

 

Ingredients:

  • 5 ripe Bananas; unpeeled (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 cups 2% reduced-fat Milk
  • 2/3 cup Sugar; divided
  • 2 tbsp. Cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Whipping Cream
  • 45 Vanilla Wafers; divided

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place 2 unpeeled bananas on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes. Carefully peel and place roasted bananas in a small bowl. Mash with a fork until smooth or use an immersion blender. Peel and cut remaining bananas into ½-inch thick slices.
  2. Combine milk and 1/3 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer but do not boil.
  3. In a medium bowl combine milk, remaining 1/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, salt, and eggs. Stir well with a whisk. Gradually add the hot milk mixture to the sugar mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Return the newly combined mixture to the pan and cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add mashed bananas, butter, and vanilla, stirring until the butter melts. Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl for 15 minutes or until mixture comes to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
  4. Whip cream to stiff peaks. Fold half of the whipped cream into the cooled pudding mixture. Spread 1 cup of custard evenly into the bottom of an 11-x-7 inch baking dish or individual ramekins. Top with 20 vanilla wafers and half of the banana slices. Spoon half of the remaining custard over the banana slices. Repeat procedure by placing 20 vanilla wafers, remaining banana slices, and remaining custard. Spread the remaining whipped cream evenly over the pudding layers. Crush the remaining 5 vanilla wafers and sprinkle over the top. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until chilled. Serve.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: SIDNEY FRY
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake Bars

20170629_102444If you haven’t already noticed, this summer I am all about the no-bake desserts. With limited time available and no desire to make the A/C work any harder than it already is, no-bake desserts are a perfect option. Not only are these cherry cheesecake bars an easy summertime treat but they are also a great addition to your 4th of July picnic or party.

As with every dessert I make I try to make it as healthy as possible without the taste being noticeably off. These bars are no different. Instead of a traditional graham cracker crust made with fattening butter, this crust is made with olive oil containing heart healthy fats and omega-3 rich walnuts. The walnuts add a touch of extra flavor to the crust to make up for the loss of richness when butter is cut from the equation. To keep saturated fat in check in the filling, regular cream cheese is swapped out for a blend of reduced-fat cream cheese and nonfat Greek yogurt. You can even make these bars gluten-free if you make the simple exchange of gluten-free graham crackers for regular.

20170629_102431Whether you want to pass a delicious dessert at an Independence Day themed picnic/party or simply desire an easy, no bake summer dessert for your family, these no-bake cherry cheesecake bars are sure to never disappoint!

No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake Bars

 

Ingredients:

  • Half of a 14 oz. box of Graham Crackers; preferably whole-wheat
  • ½ cup chopped Walnuts; toasted
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • 1/3 cup light Olive Oil
  • 2 (8 oz.) pkg. Reduced-Fat Cream Cheese (Neufchatel); softened
  • 2 cups Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 6 tbsp. Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cans Cherry Pie Filling (you may not need all of the 2nd can)

 

Preparation:

  1. Process graham crackers in a food processor until finely ground. Add walnuts and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the sugar. Drizzle with the oil and stir to combine. Press into the bottom of a 13-x-9 inch baking dish.
  2. Beat cream cheese, yogurt, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread evenly over the crust. Spoon the cherry topping over the filling until no filling shows through the topping. Cover and refrigerate until cold and set, about 3 hours. Cut into squares and enjoy!

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: CAROLYN MALCOUN
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017