Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Recipe: Fried Banana Bites






  Let's call this an "upcycle recipe". Nothing gets wasted around here - not even brown, mushy bananas! If they're not bad enough to be compost-worthy, they usually become banana bread or muffins. But, c'mon... We have leftover bananas almost every week. How much banana bread can you eat? Although this recipe isn't terribly different from banana bread and it's certainly not health food, at least it's a change.


  The result is a chewy, doughnut-like bite that is mildly sweet - Which makes it perfect for a dipping sauce of your choice. Caramel? Chocolate? Maple syrup! Or, just dust them with powdered sugar. Personally, I like them plain, with a cup of coffee on the side. The choice is yours! :)



recipes, cooking, banana





  The inspiration for these bites came from a simple drop biscuit recipe. I replaced the fat with the fruit, so I suppose that makes them a bit healthier... But then they're fried in oil, so you can probably throw that out the door. I tried to bake them for a low-fat option, but the dough has to be thickened first, which makes them drier. Without the fat in the recipe, they come out like sawdust. Without thickening the dough, the baked ones come out like cookie-crackers. Perhaps I'll perfect it in time, but for now, at least they're fried in "healthy" oil.




  This recipe might come out a little different depending on the ripeness and amount of bananas you use. Plus - Depending on if you use nuts or not, your yield may vary. I'll give you tips for getting it right no matter what, and show you where I went wrong... Actually, the Other Half did that... Oh well - Just follow along!




Ingredients:
2 cups flour (You can use whole wheat, but you will need to increase the amount of liquid.)
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp brown sugar
Milk (Amount will vary - I generally use less than 1/2 cup, and sometimes none at all, as you will see later.)
Bananas - At least two. Four is better. (Six was too many, lol.)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruit, etc. (*Optional - See explanation after recipe)




Directions:



  • Since parts of this recipe may vary for you, let's start with the one thing that will remain the same: The dry ingredients. Sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.

  • The Other Half helped me by mashing the bananas for this batch. That's where I had to improvise. The bananas should be slightly mashed, with bits of whole fruit remaining. He got heavy-handed with the potato masher, and completely liquefied all six of these bananas - When I only needed four. Whoops! I could have removed some of the fruit, but I decided to see what would happen if we used it all for this batch. 



recipe, cooking, dry ingredients, bananas



  • I usually mix the vanilla extract in with the milk, but since there was no adding milk this time, I added it to the banana puree.



recipe, banana bites



  • If your fruit is still partly whole, then you should mix it in as you would cut in shortening for biscuits. Since mine was pureed, it made the batter the perfect consistency without adding milk. If your batter is more like a stiff dough, then start stirring in some milk. The final result should drop easily from a spoon, but hold its shape for a few seconds.



recipe, batter, banana



  • I suppose you could deep fry these like doughnuts, but I do them in a pan on the stove with less oil, and flip them halfway through. I use a blend of canola and grape seed oil for frying. I find that the cooking temperature varies with the batter. When I add milk to the recipe, I heat the oil on medium-high, and they take about a minute per side to cook - Just enough time to fill the pan before flipping the batch. When I fried this batch with no milk in the batter, they cooked in under 30 seconds a side and started to burn! I had to reduce the temperature to medium. Test a spoonful of yours before cooking up a whole pan.


  So, besides the bananas, how is this an "upcyle recipe"? I go on a cupboard-cleaning mission whenever I make a batch of these bites. Sometimes, I dice up an apple to add to the batter, or toss in that handful of chocolate chips that have been forgotten in the back of the refrigerator. This time, I added the remainder of this bag of walnuts:



recipe, banana bites, walnuts




  We went a little nuts (no pun intended, but ha!) over these honey-roasted walnuts. Once we tried one bag, we started buying one or two a week. At first, they were snacked on alone. Then we started making trail mix. And finally, we were burned out on eating them. What's left in this bag has been sitting in the cabinet for over a month. This recipe was perfect for using them up! Next time, maybe I'll add the rest of those cranberries from the trail mix. :)



  Changing what's added to the batter keeps this recipe from getting old when I make two batches back-to-back. I just made some a few days before I made these, but the week's bananas gave me a surprise. They didn't look that bad, but when I picked up the bunch, the tops split:



recipe, banana



  Oops! They were still green under those brown spots, and the fruit inside was firm. Since I already have a few bananas in the freezer from the last time this happened, I didn't want to put more in there. And it seemed a waste to throw them in the compost.



  Do you have trouble keeping bananas fresh? What do you do with the mushy ones? If I make any more banana bread with them, I'm going to go bananas. I already have those bananas in the freezer waiting to be... Oh no! I froze those for banana bread! Help!



bananas, Wal-Mart produce





Happy Cooking!





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