Healthy Banana Brookies

I know, the word healthy usually denotes a treat that may taste good but has the underlying notes of not being quite as good had it been made with oils, sugar, butter, etc. And yes the word “brookie” usually denotes brownies and cookies, which these are not. Instead they are bread and cookies combined — and for me, anything that includes banana bread is amazing. The funny thing is I actually don’t like bananas much at all but put them in bread, cookies, anything to replace oils and I’m on board. And let me also promise you that these may be healthy, they don’t taste like it. My mother was even willing to give them to neighbors as thank you presents, and seeing as neither my mom nor my neighbors are anything close to being vegan, I’d say that’s a pretty good sign that these are delicious.

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I also want to quickly discuss something that has been brought to my attention recently. That is soy. A lot of people feel hesitant to become vegan because of the emphasis on soy products – soy milk, soy ice cream, tofu, tempeh, etc. There have been multiple studies that show soy actually can be bad for you, whether that be inhibiting protein intake or increasing estrogen levels. Being a bit of daddy’s girl, I usually go to my dad with such questions, as he is a doctor (general physician if you must know). And his answer was pretty obvious – “Everything in moderation.” He didn’t seem to believe that soy had as terrible effects as some studies show, but a vegan shouldn’t rely on soy products for all protein or other nutrients. Lucky for us vegans we have tons of other ways to get protein – beans, nuts, SPINACH! There are so many ways to go vegan and avoid soy products. Let me know if you have any more questions on the topic! But from now on I will denote if a recipe is soy-free, and I’ll try to incorporate more soy free recipes to make sure every kind of plant based diet is accounted for.

This does tie into today’s recipe, as these scrumptious banana brookies are indeed soy free. And guess what? They’re also oil free, sugar free and fat free. Yay! I would enjoy these with a cup of milk, and they’re perfect for dessert, breakfast, or a snack. For my parents I added in semi sweet chocolate chips but that of course makes them unvegan and a little less healthy. You can always do that or add in vegan chocolate to make them a little more dessert like.

Healthy Banana Brookies (adapted from The Minimalist Baker)

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Ingredients:

2 very ripe bananas

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp cornstarch

2 tbsp water

1 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp agave nectar

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

3/4 cup rolled oats

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Directions:

1. In a large bowl, mash the banana then add baking soda, baking powder, salt, cornstarch, vanilla extract, water, agave nectar, maple syrup and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.

2. Add in the whole wheat pastry flour and rolled oats and stir. It should be wet and sticky, but if it appears runny, add another 1/4 cup or more of oats.

3. If you want to add in chocolate chips do so now, and stir until just combined. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes while preheating oven to 375 degrees.

4. Scoop slightly rounded 1 Tbsp measurements of the batter and drop onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a non-stick silicon baking mat. Space about 1 inch apart, then slightly press down with back of spoon.

5. Bake for 10-11 minutes or until they appear set. You aren’t going for brown edges – you want them moist and just cooked. Let cool slightly on cooling rack and serve warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

I apologize for the picture quality. I stupidly baked these around 5:00 in the afternoon on a cloudy day so the natural light sucked. Oh well.

I hope everyone is having a good first week of 2013. Get ready for an upcoming post on fitness and my battle with yoga.

Bon Appetit!

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