Banana Chocolate Protein Muffins
So what do you do with a couple of spotty bananas that you’ve put in your freezer (besides make an amazing banana bread)? Try something new!
I wanted to make some tasty muffins for my family’s breakfast but also wanted them to be a bit more robust in their nutritional profile. So I added a protein powder I thought would complement the flavors. I’m loving Four Sigmatic because it combines plant-based superfood proteins with adaptogenic mushrooms to create a tasty powder that’s easy to put in smoothies or baked goods. So here we go!
3 Past-their-prime bananas (defrosted, if necessary)
⅓ cup Butter
⅔ cup Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
A pinch of Salt
1 tsp Baking Soda
1.4 oz Protein Powder (I used the Sweet Vanilla flavor for this one, but their Peanut Butter would also be awesome)
1- ½ Cups Flour
A buncha Chocolate Chips
Make sure your bananas are defrosted and mushy. ALSO, make sure your butter is melty and mushable (so take it out of the fridge a few hours before).
Spray your muffin tins with an olive oil or coconut oil-based spray. Turn the oven on to 350.
Put the mushy bananas and butter in a big bowl and smash them together (use a potato smasher, fork, whatever). Blend until it’s as creamy as possible.
Add sugar, egg and vanilla until combined. Stir in salt, baking soda and protein powder.
Add flour and chocolate chips and combine, then divide the mixture into 12 muffin tins.
Set the timer for 20 minutes and see how they look. Clean knife? Good. If not, add on a few minutes.
Enjoy for a snack, dessert or breakfast!
Banana Cream Pie
I’ve mentioned before that my dad is one of the world’s great pie makers, which fascinates people because how many fathers make pies? I don’t know how he got onto it, but he sure does love to do it. I think it’s sort of meditative.
I stayed with him over Christmas and asked to go through the whole process with him, to practice and watch his little finesse tricks. It was fun because a) he has a giant kitchen with lots of gadgets, b) he acted as my “prep cook” and got everything out and ready for me and c) he has a working dishwasher that makes cleaning up a lot easier than in my kitchen. I learned that when he’s making pies he keeps his ancient Betty Crocker cookbook out to follow along. Adorable.
Also, I should mention that this is one of my favorite desserts in the world. I made it for my birthday party the other night and everyone was more interested in the cake so I got the whole pie to myself which is just so much better because I get to reap the rewards of all my hard work.
Graham Cracker Crust
(The crust is a slight variation on the crust I make for the Dutch Apple Pie)
9 sheets Graham Crackers (or one of the little internal packages in a box)
6 tbsp butter, melted
¼ cup sugar
Preheat oven to 375*. Put crackers in a ziploc bag and seal well, smashing with a rolling pin until crumby. Transfer to a medium bowl, and add butter and sugar, mixing with your hands if necessary to integrate.
Transfer the cracker and butter combination into a pie pan and press down evenly until it looks like a pie shell. Bake for about 8-10 minutes. Let cool before filling.
Slice three bananas onto the cooled crust.
2 cups Milk
1/3 cup Flour
¾ cup Sugar
¼ tsp Salt
3 Egg Yolks
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
Put milk, flour, sugar and salt in a sauce pan, mix well and turn on medium heat. Stir occasionally, and bring to a boil. Stir consistently for two minutes (my dad even sets a timer). Temper in the egg yolks by adding a little of the mixture to the eggs, then pour everything back into the pan. Stir for another two minutes, or until thick.
Add butter and vanilla and stir again. Remove from heat and pour onto banana-filled crust. Set aside to cool.
¾-1 cup whipping cream
Whip in a mixer until fluffy. Dollop on top of pie once it has set.
For my bf's birthday a few weeks ago I wanted to do something a little different, a little more autumn-like for dessert. We had some cream cheese frosting left over from a previous cupcake experience, so for mine, I used store-bought and mixed in the maple syrup. But you can also make it from scratch, ala Martha Stewart (where the original cupcake recipe is from), at the bottom.
2-1/4 cups Flour
2 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1 tsp Salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups Sugar
2 large Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
4 cups coarsely grated Green Apples, such as Granny Smith (about 1-3/4 pounds)
Peel apples, then grate on a standard grater. Put grated apples in a sieve to allow some of the juices to drain.
Preheat oven to 350*. Line muffin tins with paper liners and set aside. Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl, and set aside.
In an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, mix butter and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low, and mix in apples. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined.
Divide batter among lined cups, filling 2/3 of the way; bake until tops are springy to the touch, 18 to 20 minutes.
Let cool completely before frosting/icing with cream cheese frosting.
8 oz. Cream Cheese, room temperature
8 tbsp (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
1 cup Powdered Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tbsp Pure Maple Syrup
Place cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl. Using a rubber spatula, soften cream cheese. Gradually add butter, and continue beating until smooth and well blended. Stir in powdered sugar, and continue beating until smooth. Add vanilla and maple syrup, and stir to combine.
You can either use as is and frost cupcakes, or heat up in microwave for 30 seconds to make a runny icing that can be drizzled over the top.
This makes two loaves–keep one and give the other one away. Or freeze the other one. Or eat it immediately because it’s that fricking good.
Though my mom usually takes care of making all the Christmas cookies for our family (bless her), last year I decided to take a whack at making these treasures of my childhood. They turned out perfect, and the people I’ve given them to as Christmas presents have already downed them (without saving any for their significant others, ahem).
My dad is the ultimate apple pie maker, and I’ve tried making his pastry crust a few times, but it never turns out well. Instead I use this easy-shmeezy graham cracker crust that goes deliciously with the tart apples. The result is a little bit messier than Dad’s, but between you and me, I think it’s tastier.
Crepes a la Melisa
My sister-in-law made these on a recent family vacation. The great thing is you can fill them with anything from plain butter and sugar to nutella to eggs and cheese. I (and my tiny nieces) were clamoring for more.