Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of chaos. I feel like summer just started, yet here we are, about to officially welcome fall. Time seemed to pass by in the blink of an eye because the past several weeks have been busier than usual for me. A few weeks ago my oldest daughter returned to school (first grade) and my youngest daughter started her first year of school (pre-K). Next up was the return of Hellenic Dance practice for my oldest and then we had family come to visit. Directly after that we spent several days bracing for a hurricane that thankfully avoided us almost entirely. The kids were off school for a few days so once they went back and schedules resumed normal operation, I quickly began work on building new workout routines/meal plans for my fitness groups, which happened to include coming up with this delicious, healthy cookie recipe.

Since my gears are still currently in the process of switching from summer to fall, I wasn’t quite ready to nose dive into everything fall flavored. I wanted to make something that used the warm spices of fall, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, but did not make apple and pumpkin the star of the show. I had a jar of organic pureed carrots that I wanted to use up before it expired so that became my starting point. This quickly led me to a craving for carrot cake, but I certainly had no ambition to make a cake with everything going on. The kids were begging for cookies so I thought, why not try making a carrot cake cookie.

To keep things plant-based and gluten-free, I started with a base of mashed bananas and oats. Rich and sweet, ripe bananas are a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, like potassium. Bananas also lend a creamy texture while binding the dough together, thus avoiding the need for eggs. To add more moisture and nutrients to the dough, I used a jar of organic pureed carrots. Although you could certainly use finely shredded carrots, I prefer to use pureed. Not only does it save a step during prep and clean-up, but it also blends more smoothly into the cookie batter, which improves the texture of the final product while preventing kids and/or husbands from detecting its presence. The best part is it doesn’t even take much of the orange root veggies to add a significant nutrition boost. The relatively small amount of pureed carrots provides numerous antioxidants and nutrients, with soaring amounts of beneficial beta carotene and vitamin A.

Therefore, if you love sweets and need a clean cookie that will fit into your meal plan/macros, this recipe is for you. When consumed as part of a nutritionally balanced diet, these cookies are a treat you can feel good about eating!

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies

(Yield: 12 Cookies)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Ripe Bananas
  • 2 cups Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • 4 oz. Jar Organic Pureed Carrots
  • 3 tbsp. Dried Unsweetened Cranberries
  • 3 tbsp. Chopped Unsalted Walnuts
  • 2 tbsp. Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
  • 1½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1¼ tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ Pumpkin Pie Spice

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Add oats, carrots, cranberries, walnuts, coconut flakes, cinnamon, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice. Mix well to combine.
  3. Wet fingers and scoop ¼ cup of mixture into your hands. Form into a ball and place onto prepared baking sheet. Gently flatten with hand. Continue with remaining batter.
  4. Bake cookies for 18 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Place baking sheet on a rack to cool. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Extras can be frozen in freezer bags until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Nutrients Per Serving: 1 Cookie

Calories: 91, Protein: 2 g.,

Total Fat: 2 g., Sat. Fat: 0.5 g.,

Fiber: 3 g., Sodium: 3 mg.,

Sugars: 3 g., Carbs: 15 g.,

Cholesterol: 0 mg

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: A. VALPONE
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2019

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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

 

 

Pumpkin Chia Pudding

20190312_153651What comes to mind when you think of a good snack? Do you envision lots of fruits and veggies, or are you more interested in processed convenience foods? We all know chips, candy, cookies, and ice cream are easier to reach for when hunger strikes, but if you want to be lean and healthy you need to make cleaner food choices. It can be a challenge discovering how to keep hunger at bay while living a fit lifestyle, but if you’re a foodie like me that still wants to succeed, you need to change your mindset towards eating. Even though processed snacks have to go, it doesn’t mean you’re no longer allowed to snack.

20190312_153925To stay fit and healthy while still enjoying food, start by arming yourself with nutritious snacks that can stand in for any sweet, savory, or crunchy craving that may arise. Take, for example, this pumpkin chia pudding. This recipe is super easy to make & will satisfy any sweet tooth without packing on the pounds. Unsweetened almond milk provides the pudding a low-calorie, dairy-free base, chia seeds give a fiber boost, while warm and aromatic pumpkin pie spice provides a nice depth of flavor to complement the pumpkin.

20190312_153809Even though pumpkin is a fall flavor and we are currently entering spring, this recipe is simply too good not to share. I initially developed it back in the fall when pumpkin was still in season, but thanks to canned pumpkin you can enjoy one of fall’s best flavors year round in this gluten-free, dairy-free, low-sugar, healthy snack. If you do opt to buy canned pumpkin over roasting your own fresh pumpkin, just be sure it is organic pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling. If you have a sweet tooth and love anything pumpkin, I recommend you give this recipe a try. It’s a sweet treat that won’t hinder your progress to being lean!

PUMPKIN CHIA PUDDING

(Yield: 6 Servings)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Plain Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • ½ cup Pitted Dates
  • 1/3 cup Chia Seeds
  • ¾ cup Unsweetened Pumpkin Puree (fresh or canned)
  • ¾ tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • Cinnamon Sugar; for garnish (if desired)

 

Preparation:

  1. In a large jar or container with a lid, combine milk, dates, & chia seeds. Cover, shake well, & chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, but no longer than 8 hours.
  2. Remove chilled mixture from the refrigerator & place in a blender. Process mixture on high speed until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Add pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, & salt. Blend again until thoroughly combined. Divide among 6 (4 oz.) meal prep jars or store in one larger container. Refrigerate at least 1 hour more before serving. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

 

Nutrients Per Serving: 4 oz. Pudding

Calories: 104 Calories, Protein: 3 g.,

Total Fat: 4 g., Sat. Fat: 0.5 g.,

Fiber: 5 g., Sodium: 83 mg.,

Sugars: 9 g., Carbs: 16 g.,

Cholesterol: 0 mg

 

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

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2019

 

Gluten-Free Chewy Apple Pie Bars

20190108_174442Hello everyone! To all of my followers, I know it’s been a long time since you’ve heard from me. I’ve been extremely busy this past year with the creation of my new small business & it has unfortunately kept me from doing any content for this website. Thankfully, now that I’ve gotten into a rhythm in my business, I’m back to share content with you once again.

I will admit my content going forward will have a slight shift in focus. I will still be posting up baked goods as always, however they will be more nutritious in nature. As my life has changed to a healthier lifestyle, this website will have to change along with it. I hope you will all enjoy what is to come. I’m extremely excited to be back & I hope to expand this website even larger in the future…so stay tuned!

20190108_174231For my first post back, I’m sharing with you the first healthy snack bar I ever created. The story behind this recipe coincides with the beginning of my journey to losing fat & getting healthier. At the time I started my journey, I did not have the finances to buy all of the fancy snack bars you find in health food stores, so what I did was I created my own from home. Later I would come to find out, as I became more educated in nutrition, that I wasn’t just saving money, I was also avoiding a lot of harmful ingredients that get hidden in processed health food products. So if you want to enjoy healthy snacks, even if you’re not on a budget, the best way to go is make them yourself.

20190108_174413These chewy apple pie bars are the perfect make & take snack. They are freezable, gluten-free, vegetarian, & come together quickly. Taking only about 10 minutes of prep time, you can pop one in your lunch box or gym bag for a sweet snack on the go in no time. When you arm yourself with nutritious snacks, you can always keep hunger at bay!

Chewy Apple Pie Snack Bars

*Makes 12 Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Pitted Dates
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Dried Apple Slices
  • 1 cup Unsalted Walnuts
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. Ground Ginger
  • ¼ tsp. Ground Nutmeg

 

Preparation:

  1. Line a 4 x 8 inch pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large food processor, combine the dates, apples, and walnuts. Process until a fine crumbs form, about 1 minute. Add the cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Continue to process until mixture is very soft and easily holds together when pinched, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Press dough into prepared pan. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until firm. Cut into 12 snack size bars (2 x 1¼ in. each). Wrap each bar individually and keep refrigerated (5 days) or freeze (1 month).

 

Nutrients Per Serving: 1 Bar

Calories: 119, Protein: 2 g.,

Total Fat: 6 g., Sat. Fat: 0.5 g.,

Fiber: 16 g., Sodium: 23 mg.,

Sugars: 12 g., Carbs: 16 g.,

Cholesterol: 0 mg

 

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

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2019

 

 

Gluten-Free Pomegranate Apple Protein Muffins

20171128_144623Mornings are not my friend. In fact, I don’t think there has ever been a day in my life where I have been a morning person. Since I am most definitely a night owl, it only makes sense that I do not want to spend time in the kitchen making breakfast.

20171128_144819To avoid skipping breakfast, which is the most important meal of the day, I whip up these amazing muffins on meal prep day. Then I have a quick and easy on-the-go treat that contains all the vital nutrients the body needs. On days that I do not have to be somewhere in the A.M., I will make a larger breakfast and enjoy these muffins as a post-workout snack.

20171128_144837I know it is easy for the brain to be fooled by the word “muffin” that these little gems are not healthy, but do not compare processed, overly sweet bakery muffins to these. Each of these muffins only contains 149 calories, 1 gram of saturated fat, 2 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein. Oat flour stands in for traditional wheat flour, making each muffin gluten-free and lower carb. There is no refined sugar added for sweetness, only raw, organic honey, which keeps the sugar content very low (only 10 grams). They are even vegetarian friendly! I like to make a large batch and store in the freezer, that way they do not spoil and you can pull one out as needed and warm it up quickly in the microwave. Quick, easy, satisfying, and made with flavors of the season. Enjoy!

 

Gluten-Free Pomegranate Apple Protein Muffins 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Oat Flour
  • 2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¼ tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/3 cup Chopped Walnuts; raw & unsalted
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • ¾ cup Milk
  • 5 tbsp. Raw Unfiltered Honey
  • ¼ cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple; peeled, cored, & diced
  • 1/3 cup Pomegranate Seeds

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Line a 12-count muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the walnuts and whisk again. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, then stir in the milk, honey and yogurt. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in apple and pomegranate seeds. Do not overmix. The mixture will be lumpy.
  3. Fill each muffin cup liner three-quarters of the way full with batter. Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center. Let cool in tin for 10 minutes, then transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: HEATHER BAINBRIDGE
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Dessert Plating: Dietary Guidelines

Happy Friday once again. Today was perfect for me as I did not have class. Le Cordon Bleu elected to give us Friday off instead of Monday for Columbus Day. With that said it was a short week for plating. We had two days to create two different plates meeting dietary guidelines of our choice. Some examples are Sugar Free, Low-Fat, Dairy-Free, etc. Although I have dietary needs myself (Lactose Intolerance) I opted for Vegan and Gluten free so that I can challenge myself. So let’s start with Plate #1..Gluten Free.

 What initially came to my mind when brainstorming for possible components was how much I miss ice cream being lactose intolerant. So I decided to make items that maybe would be missed by those with gluten allergies or vegans whose morals wouldn’t allow them to ever try such textures and flavors. Of course the obvious item that came to my mind for those with a gluten allergy would be cake. As this is culinary school I can’t simply make any ordinary cake so I made a Chocolate Kahlua Cake cut into proper portions with a round fluted cutter. To make the cake gluten-free, I used Rice Flour and Tapioca Starch to replace regular cake flour or all-purpose usually found in most cake formulas. I also added xanthum gum. The cake tasted delicious on its own but I wanted to add more components and give height to my plate utilizing the cake rather than an external component. To do this I made a White Chocolate Caramel Creme Anglaise which I poured over the cake and allowed to drip over the edge to give that warm, fresh from the oven look. To add texture I placed cherries soaked in brandy over the creme anglaise and topped with another layer of cake. For added adornment and height, I tempered white chocolate and squeezed it into a mold using a baking squirt bottle to create the scroll. The decorative dots outlining the cake were created with a Cherry & White Peach Coulis.

For the final component on of the Gluten Free plate, I created a two-toned chocolate bowl overflowing with cherries. To create the bowl, I used a round chocolate mold. Utilizing the already tempered chocolate used earlier for the scroll, I squeezed abstract lines around the bottom and sides of the mold. I allowed this to chill until firm in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, I tempered dark chocolate for the remainder of the mold. Once the white chocolate had hardened, I poured tempered dark chocolate over the streak of white chocolate until about 1/3 of the mold was filled. I then placed secured the second portion of the mold over the filled portion and allowed it to set up overnight to ensure it would be fully solidified. On the day of plating, I allowed the chocolate bowl to warm slightly, about 10 minutes at room temperature before attempting to remove it from the mold. This ensured the mold removed crisply without cracking. The bowl was then filled with the remaining brandy soaked cherries and tipped over on the plate to create a natural overflowing look.

With the Gluten-Free Chocolate Kahlua Cake plate finished, it was time to move quickly on to plate #2…Vegan. Let me start by saying I have never in my career ever worked with anything remotely vegan except for the common organic fruit and vegetable. Items available to me such as Tofu and Agar Agar were new and I admit a tad bit intimidating.

 Despite the intimidation I pushed forward and ran for the exotic ingredients before the rest of my classmates used them all (our pantry is limited considering the large class size). The first item I snatched was oat flour and thankfully so as it was gone quickly following my usage and there was only one bag to be had in purchasing. Since you are now aware of the main ingredient I’m sure you can almost guess what the bar is…. and if not it is Oatmeal Raisin sillies. Well Oatmeal Raisin Date Bars. Following Vegan dietary concerns, I made sure to plump my Raisins and Dates in Dark Rum free of animal additives used during fermentation. I also was sure to toast my oats in vegan imitation butter and sweeten with Agave. Once the bars were out of the oven and cooled it was the difficult task of cutting them into presentable squares. My largest complaint about the Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Bars is their texture. Even the slightest movement and they crack and shatter into crumbs. It was obviously fate that I made a larger pan then necessary to compensate for the amount I broke in the process of cutting. Finally I managed to get one decent square out of the bars and plated it right away before it shattered in the way of its predecessors. To attract the eye to the bar and add texture to the eye, I created a Banana Poppyseed Coulis which I fanned out from the bar and across the plate. The coulis consisted mostly of banana puree and agave to sweeten.

For the final component and least favorite of all my plates so far is the Vegan Pumpkin Banana Mousse. The reason for such hatred between the mousse and I is its texture/consistency. My idea of mousse is a creamy, velvety yet heavily rich dessert that only takes a few spoonfuls and you are satisfied even though you could devour several spoons if given the opportunity to have a larger dish and scoop. This mousse met none of those requirements. The tofu imparted a distinct flavor and it didn’t fully incorporate with the pumpkin and banana puree, causing small pellets to form even after running through the robocoup (food processor) several times. Also the consistency wasn’t as firm as mousse typically is because it lacked the key volumnizing ingredient (heavy cream) and stabilizer/setter (gelatin). I did the best I could with this dish to be quite honest. I placed dollops in a nice parfait dish hoping to glamorize it somewhat. I layered fresh raspberries throughout to add color and a welcoming familiar texture. The parfait added height to my plate if nothing else, especially with the tempered dark chocolate adornment added to act as a straw.

All in all I did enjoy the vast majority of the components on these plates despite the lack of typical ingredients I am accustomed to working with. You never realize how much heavy cream and eggs are in everything until you are told you can’t work with them due to dietary concerns! I did taste everything and it all tasted well in my opinion except for the mousse. If given the opportunity for a do-over I would replace only the mousse and maybe have made a vegan sorbet instead. I am thankful for the experience of working under dietary guidelines. It will forever be useful to my career and future in baking, especially with the large amount of people living with conditions, diseases, or religious beliefs requiring specific dietary needs. Following dietary guidelines is a must for every pastry chef and even novice baker ready to take innovation to the next level.

All content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2011