Bananas are a staple of American life. We have them for breakfast, as a snack at lunchtime or as a dessert. Some of us get daring and even make dinner with them. And they are very affordable (bless their slippery little peels). But when they don’t get eaten, the bananas languish. Only the biggest banana fans are willing to eat an overripe one. So we make banana bread with what’s left over and the next week we make banana muffins and the next week we make banana bread, ad nauseam.
Maybe you’ve got overripe bananas hanging around or maybe you just want to take advantage of a deal on the discount shelf. When I got sick of banana bread, I went banana-recipe hunting and found some goodies that I’d like to share. I even invented one of my own. The best recipes replace something you would otherwise need to buy, like cookies, jam or even whipped cream. Without further ado, here’s the low down on what to do with those overripe bananas:
Banana Junk Food
Only we Americans could come up with a way to make bananas this unhealthy. These deep fried puffs will remind you of carnival food. Eat them plain or sprinkled with powdered sugar.
1 3/4 c. flour
2/3 c. granulated sugar
1 t. baking powder
1 mashed overripe banana
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
3/4 c. water
3 c. vegetable oil
Mix flour, sugar, and baking powder thoroughly in mixing bowl. Stir in banana, vanilla and water for a smooth, sticky dough. Heat vegetable oil in deep fryer or tall saucepan to 350 F. Drop batter by large spoonfuls (about ¼ c.) into oil. Cook in batches of 4 or 5 puffs for about 3 minutes, until they turn golden brown and float to the surface. Turn the puffs to cook other side. Remove and drain onto paper towels.
Banana Substitute for Whipped Cream
Try this on strawberry shortcake, vanilla ice cream, pancakes or waffles: whip together 2 large mashed overripe bananas, 3 t. sugar and 2 egg whites. Beat at high speed until fluffy.
Mash and Mix
Plain old mashed bananas are pretty tasty when stirred into yogurt, oatmeal or your favorite pancake or waffle batter. Some people like to mix it into their French toast batter with a little cinnamon. You can really bake them into anything. Just cut back on other moist ingredients to make up for the addition of the bananas.
Shake it Up
Banana smoothies are yummy and healthy. The natural sugars in bananas make them sweet, but you may want to add a little sugar to taste for the kids. Mash two bananas and throw them in the blender. Pour in a 6 oz. container of vanilla yogurt, a splash of milk and two ice cubes. Blend. Enjoy.
For a quick warm snack, cut a banana in half, sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar and sauté with a little butter until soft. Best on vanilla ice cream.
PB & B?
You can always put mashed banana on the kids’ sandwiches in lieu of jelly. Peanut butter and bananas taste heavenly together!
Get a Facial
Mix mashed banana with honey and oatmeal for a healthy (and yummy) facial scrub. You can always use the left over at breakfast!
Really, Really Overripe Bananas
If your bananas are no longer fit for human consumption, that doesn’t mean they can’t do your plants some good! Bury black bananas beneath your rose bushes and watch them bloom.
Banana Curry - A Little Different, But Hey!
If you are into curry, you will enjoy this recipe. If you’re not into curry, try it anyway. You might surprise yourself!
2 T butter
1 small coarsely chopped onion
½ c. sliced mushrooms
1 diced chicken breast
1 c. chicken stock
½ c. coconut milk
¼ c. chopped dates
2 T. curry powder
1 sliced overripe banana
Sauté the onions and mushrooms in butter. Add the diced chicken, stock, coconut milk, dates, and curry. Turn heat to low, cover and simmer 15 minutes. Add sliced banana and simmer 5 minutes more. Serve on rice.
And, announcing for the first time anywhere, SavingTools’s own special banana cookies! Yes, you can find banana cookie recipes elsewhere, but they are nowhere near as good as these! This recipe is my own hybrid of chocolate chip cookies and banana bread. I have found that when cooking with bananas, less is more, so I’ve kept this very simple. The kids will love them and at least they’ve got a little nutrition in them!
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1/3 c. light brown sugar
½ c. tub margarine
1 t. vanilla extract
1 t. baking soda
1 c. mashed overripe banana
2 ½ c. all purpose flour
Piggyback this recipe on dinner to save energy. Set the oven at 350 F. Cream together sugars and margarine. Add egg and beat with blender. Add soda and beat until fluffy. Let the mixture rest for 2 minutes. Add the mashed banana and flour. Mix until well blended. Drop by scoop or by large tablespoon onto cookie sheet. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.
Notes on this recipe:
Have fun with it. You can make them a little taller and thicker by adding more flour, a little flatter and thinner by taking some away. Two thin cookies sandwiched with fluff are a very tasty treat. You can add a little more vanilla for extra flavor. It really draws out the banana flavor. Any banana-baking recipe can be improved by adding vanilla. Consider walnuts too…they are always yummy with bananas.
Some things you should not change: the margarine and the time to let the baking soda sit. Tub margarine is lighter than butter or stick margarine. The baking soda needs the two minutes to sit and help aerate the batter. These two elements work together for that special “cakie” texture. If you try this, come back and tell us how you liked it!
Note: t. = teaspoon. T. = Tablespoon.