Posts tagged with Dessert

A holiday week snack perfect for the kiddos

Happy Thanksgiving week, friends. I hope everyone is warm and cozy and gearing up to devour some delicious seasonal treats on the big day (and then for a few days thereafter).

Last week, I shared an easy and tasty side dish perfect for bringing to dinner or adding to your own menu. This week, I've decided I’d share a recipe geared more to those inevitable holiday hours when everyone is around the house, looking for something fun to do, and trying to avoid eating all of the special Turkey Day food (both before and after the day itself).

Therefore, I present the perfect, healthy, kid-friendly snack for this holiday week (and the ones we’ll have in December): Tea-Time Banana Sandwiches.

These are easy, require no special equipment, and, by design, they include ingredients you probably already have around the house: bananas, peanut butter and chocolate. Because, if there’s one thing that’s no fun, it’s heading to the store for a single ingredient during the holiday rush.

Make a few with your kids while you enjoy the holiday hours together, and then make them again over winter break in a few weeks. They’re messy and won’t impress guests, but they’re good fun for the kids and the grownups, and they double as a not-so-bad cabin fever snack.

They're not pretty, but they're kid's play for children and grownups alike and require no special equipment to make.

They're not pretty, but they're kid's play for children and grownups alike and require no special equipment to make. by Sarah Henning

Tea-Time Banana Sandwiches

2 medium bananas or 1 large one

2 to 3 tablespoons peanut or almond butter

1/4 cup chocolate chips (or a chopped-up bar of regular chocolate if you don’t have chocolate chips)

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a double broiler (or a glass bowl mounted over water in a saucepan), begin to melt the chocolate chips over low heat. Meanwhile, slice the bananas into quarter-inch slices. Spread a bit of peanut butter on half the slices (this is awkward but fun) and then assemble your banana-peanut butter sandwiches.

When the chocolate has melted, use a toothpick (or just your fingers — no need to head to the store for just toothpicks!) to dip one side of the banana sandwiches in chocolate. Place each dipped sandwich on the lined cookie sheet.

When all the sandwiches are made and coated, place the cookie sheet in the freezer for at least 10 minutes. Then pull them out and enjoy.

You can store these in the freezer, but they probably won't last long enough to do so.

Variation: If you want a version without any refined sugar, swap the chocolate chips for 1/4 cup semi-soft coconut oil (too melted and it won’t coat properly), 1 tablespoon (or more) maple syrup and 1 teaspoon cocoa powder. Mix it together and use it to coat the sandwiches. You may need to freeze the sandwiches once first and then dip them in this mixture before returning them to the freezer.


Fudgy pudding cake

It's not pretty, but it sure does taste good after a dinner of some great CSA veggies.

It's not pretty, but it sure does taste good after a dinner of some great CSA veggies. by Sarah Henning

I know I’m the one with the healthy eating column, but even I like to indulge from time to time. And usually if that indulgence makes it into this space, it’s obviously healthy.

That said, sometimes, an indulgence is an indulgence, even if it’s been modified a bit. And today’s recipe is just that: a slightly healthier version of an indulgence. But mostly it’s an indulgence in its own right.

But first: I’m sharing this indulgence along with an update to how our CSA eating is going this year. By now most everyone who has joined a local community supported agriculture program should have gotten a share or several to start off 2014.

For our family and our Rolling Prairie subscription (and probably yours as well) that has meant a lot of greens. For example, this week it was spinach, lettuce, mint, asparagus, peas and green onions.

It has meant a lot of side dishes.

Not that it’s a bad thing. No, it’s a very good, very tasty thing. Salads, roasted veggies and green smoothies have been on the menu for weeks now.

And because I’ve covered those well in this space, I decided it might be more prudent at this point to share what we had after one of those delicious meals featuring Rolling Prairie goodness: cake.

Honestly, I made this cake in all its pudding-like glory because my son requested it. I’d loaned the cookbook from which it’s adapted to a friend and just got it back and asked my 5-year-old to page through for a weekend dessert we could make. We had a family function planned, and I figured if I were going to make something for the masses, I should make sure my own kid would be excited about it first.

What he picked was something I’d never tried making in any capacity before (and I’ve done a lot of baking in my day). Yes, for some reason, I’d never attempted a pudding cake. I knew I liked them and their warm, gooey texture, but for some reason, I’d never tried making one. Must have been a baking blind spot, for sure.

That said, though it’s not the prettiest cake ever, this one got major brownie points for being super easy, relatively healthy (though it has more sugar in it than I typically use) and allergy friendly (no milk, eggs, wheat in it). We served it up with coconut milk ice cream, though in my opinion it didn’t really need it.

Kid-Friendly Fudgy Pudding Cake

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

1 1/2 cups oat flour

3/4 cup plus 1/3 cup coconut palm sugar, divided

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, divided

1/3 cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate

3/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 cup non-dairy milk (we used flax milk)

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted, plus more for greasing the pan

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/4 cups boiling water

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Lightly grease a 7-by-11-inch glass baking dish with coconut oil. In a small bowl, whisk the ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons water. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the oat flour, 3/4 cup of the coconut sugar, 1/3 cup of the cocoa powder, the chocolate chips, salt and baking powder.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flaxseed mixture, non-dairy milk, coconut oil and vanilla. Pour the milk mixture over the flour mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Pour batter into the prepared baking dish and smooth out the top evenly with a spoon.

In a small bowl or mug, combine the remaining 1/3 cup coconut sugar and remaining 2 tablespoons cocoa powder. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the batter in the baking dish.

Slowly pour the boiling water over the cocoa powder mixture, ensuring the liquid completely covers the mixture. The cake will now look like a complete disaster, but this is normal. Promise.

Bake for 27 to 33 minutes, uncovered, until the cake is semi-firm on top but bubbly and gooey around the edges.

Let the cake cool for 5 to 10 minutes before digging in. If desired, serve with ice cream.

— Recipe adapted from Angela Liddon’s Fudgy Mocha Pudding Cake recipe from "The Oh She Glows Cookbook")


Healthy soft serve ice cream

Soft-serve without the crap.

Soft-serve without the crap. by Sarah Henning

Like many kids, my 5-year-old is very much into the PBS show “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” which, for those of you who don’t have kids, is a cartoon spin-off of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

As you can expect from a pedigree like that, “Daniel Tiger,” as the kiddo calls it, is full of the sort of wholesome lessons Fred Rogers taught kids like me back in the ’80s. You know, songs about brushing your teeth, being nice to friends, sharing, etc.

But Daniel Tiger also has something going for him I don’t remember from the original show: excellent eating habits.

Included in the rotation of fruits and vegetables Daniel eats on the show as a good example to the kiddos watching is something Daniel calls “banana swirl.” Basically: frozen bananas in a blender.

On one of the warmer days we’ve had recently, the kiddo was hot to trot on making banana swirl just like Daniel Tiger. Good thing I’ve been making it for years (so glad he noticed).

There are tons of recipes out there for banana soft serve — so many that I forget where I first saw it, but no matter whose recipe you use, it’s a delicious cold snack on hot days that won’t leave you feeling guilty.

Now, unlike Daniel Tiger, I make my “banana swirl” in the food processor. That said, if you have a very powerful blender and no food processor, you can try this recipe with that. I’m sure someone reading this will have a Yonanas machine, in which case you probably already know and love bananas as soft serve.

Raspberry-Chocolate Banana Ice Cream

Per serving:

2 frozen bananas, sliced

Thawed frozen or fresh raspberries

Chocolate chips

In a food processor, blend frozen bananas, scraping down at the sides as needed, until a thick, soft serve texture is achieved (usually about 5 minutes). Top with raspberries and chocolate chips to taste.

Note: This works best if you make several servings at once, though how many depends on the size of your food processor. My food processor is 9 cups, and the minimum number of bananas I can get away with is 6. That said, mine also has a 4-cup bowl insert, and I can usually use 2 to 3 bananas in there just fine.


Blueberries get a faux summer treatment

Summer, are you there? It's me, Sarah.

Summer, are you there? It's me, Sarah. by Sarah Henning

I keep pretending the glimpses of warm weather we’ve been getting will actually last. And then Mother Nature comes in and rains (or snows) on my parade.

She might have control over the weather, but I have control over the kitchen. And this week I wanted a summer dessert.

That said, I wasn’t about to buy some anemic, out-of-season fruit to get there. Rather, my lifesaver was one of my favorite go-tos: frozen fruit. In this case, blueberries.

I’ve been avoiding regular flour, trying to figure out some stomach issues, so I made what I’m calling a "faux crumble” using almond flour and a bunch of other goodies. The result is something I think is pretty healthy as far as dessert goes. Plus, it’s super easy and quick to make, and tastes great straight out of the oven or leftover and chilled.

Blueberry Faux Crumble

2 8-ounce bags frozen blueberries, thawed to room temperature

Lemon juice

1 cup almond flour

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch sea salt

Preheat oven to 350. Spread blueberries evenly across a 7x11-inch glass baking dish. Squeeze a good bit of lemon juice on top.

In a small bowl, mix almond flour, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and a little more lemon juice. Once combined, spread over blueberries as evenly as possible.

Bake 35-40 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the topping has browned. Serve warm.

Note: Make sure all your ingredients are warm or room temperature. If they’re not, your melted coconut oil will start to harden again before baking. It will still bake properly, but the oil won’t be as evenly distributed.


Inspiration on ice

The kiddo (and the rest of the family) gobble these up. Twenty minutes in the oven and they're ready to go.

The kiddo (and the rest of the family) gobble these up. Twenty minutes in the oven and they're ready to go. by Sarah Henning

Last week, I wrote about the little things you could do to help make it toward your goal of eating better in the new year.

This week, inspired by the crazy cold temperatures, I thought I’d continue this January pep talk with my top three frozen helpers. You know, the foods that are real and reliable and readily available (how’s that for alliteration?) and help me make sure my family gets the healthiest foods possible with the least amount of hassle.

Now, I prefer fresh foods. Fresh fruits, veggies and unaltered ingredients, all without processing. However, because I’m a working mom, there is no way in heck that I can buy only those things week in and week out and manage to A. Use it all before it goes bad B. Do anything but cook to keep on top of it.

I do rely on some frozen items. And before you ask, I prefer frozen to canned because there often aren’t added ingredients (e.g. salt) and I don’t have to worry whether or not the can might be lined with BPA. Of course, if the power goes out, I lose money, but to me, it’s worth it in the end.

  1. Frozen fruits and vegetables: Whenever freezer section berries and veggies are on sale, I load up. Blueberries, raspberries, black raspberries, cherries, strawberries, etc., plus every kind of vegetables available. All the berries are great in smoothies, homemade sorbet and crumbles, while all the vegetables work well in stir-fries and slow-cooker recipes. Also, all work just fine eaten all by their lonesome (they’re mushy but hey, they’re healthy.) Note: Make sure to choose berries without added sugar.

  2. Hilary’s Eat Well Mini Veggie Burgers: I used to love to go to Local Burger and buy the regular-sized veggie burgers there in bulk. Now, not only can you get the big ones, but little kid-sized mini ones, too. The kiddo prefers the tiny ones and I love that not only do I know there are no ingredients I don’t want in them, but I know (and have interviewed many times) the person who created them, Hilary Brown (and no, I wasn’t paid to say anything about these).

  3. Pizza dough: OK, so I make the pizza dough and then freeze it. It’s easy to make, saves lots of money, freezes well and then you can make super healthy pizza with ease. And yes, I do believe homemade pizza is worlds better for you than the frozen kind (which is usually rife with salt, extra fat and chemicals you won't use if you make it at home). Use this recipe, divide it in half and you've got two pizza-sized balls of dough at the ready. Stick the dough in a plastic bag and freeze. All you have to do is remember to put the ball of dough out on the counter before you leave for work in the morning.


Sneaky Pumpkin Pie Bars

There's a chocolate surprise at the bottom of these cake-like pumpkin pie bars.

There's a chocolate surprise at the bottom of these cake-like pumpkin pie bars. by Sarah Henning

OK, I can’t believe I’m going to admit this, but — deep breath — here it goes: I am not a pumpkin pie person.

There, I said it.

Yes, I will eat pumpkin in pretty much any form. Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin soup, pumpkin muffins, etc.

But when it comes down to it, do I like pumpkin pie enough to warrant the caloric penalty?


I can’t tell you why this is. Maybe it’s a texture thing. Maybe it’s not sweet enough. Maybe it’s because chocolate isn’t involved (I think pumpkin and chocolate are perfect companions).

But as someone who thinks dessert is a super important part of any holiday meal, I’ve been working on a solution for this year’s festivities. Last year I made cookies, but this time around I’m trying to get a little closer to pie.

You know, without crossing the line into what I don’t really like.

Luckily, I think I found a pretty good middle ground that will keep the pie lovers in my family happy without a mutiny from the people like me who want something a little different.

It looks like pumpkin pie, but it's not!

It looks like pumpkin pie, but it's not! by Sarah Henning

These pumpkin pie bars are super soft, giving them a texture somewhere between pie and cake. That’s a huge bonus to me, but there’s more: they really aren’t horrible for you.

Calling them “healthy” might be a stretch, but they don’t have any refined sugar or flour in them but they still taste great — that’s why I call them “sneaky.” Well, there’s a tad bit of sugar in the chocolate chips I sneak in, but you can leave those out if that tiny amount of sugar bothers you. These will still be good without them.

Note: The chocolate chips will sink to the bottom of the batter once you’ve but these in a pie plate. That makes these bars a little bit sneaky in another way because the chocolate is hidden like a little present in the bottom of each bar.

These won't last long. I promise you.

These won't last long. I promise you. by Sarah Henning

Sneaky Pumpkin Pie Bars

½ cup pumpkin

½ cup raw, unsalted almond butter

⅓ cup maple syrup or honey

½ cup chocolate chips

2 eggs or 2 flax eggs (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed and 3 tablespoons water for each egg)

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt (less if you happen to be using roasted almond butter)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a deep-dish glass pie plate with coconut oil. Set aside.

Put all ingredients except for the chocolate chips in a bowl. Stir well. Once all of those ingredients are incorporated, stir in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into your oiled pie plate. Bake 25 minutes or until the the edges are golden and the center is firm. Let cool completely before cutting into bars. These store well in the fridge, as the cold helps them set up a bit more.


A sweet treat for tonight’s KU-KSU game

Tonight is the first KU-K-State basketball game of the year. Totally exciting, right? If you're feeling like you might want to show your KU spirit with more than just some fancy chips, I've got a sweet option for you. Something that shows your love of the crimson and the blue, while tasting oh-so-good after some salty pizza or other game-time meal: this Simple Berry Crisp.

It's easy, tasty and showcases the red and the blue well if you use a mix of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. The crimson and the blue, right there and ready to eat.

And if you're a K-state fan living in Lawrence? I'm sure if you use only blueberries, you'll get the effect you want. Not that that's what I'll be doing...

Simple Berry Crisp

6 cups frozen berries

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

2 cups granola

2 tablespoons melted butter

Vanilla yogurt or ice cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, gently toss together berries, sugar and flour then transfer to an ungreased (8-inch) baking dish; set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss together granola and butter then scatter over berries in dish. Bake until top is golden brown and berries and their juices are bubbly, about 30 minutes. Let cool then spoon into dishes and serve with yogurt or ice cream on top.

— Recipe from