In comparison, it is much easier to experiment with savory dishes as you can substitute chicken for beef, mushrooms for peppers, thyme for rosemary, and while the dish might not come out PERFECT, it usually isn't completely ruined.
Baking on the other hand, is a different ball game. You can't just take out the flour, add double the butter, or switch brown sugar for white. These changes can not only drastically change the taste of your dish, but it can completely alter the chemical reaction that occurs in the oven and leave you with a goopy (or rock hard) mess.
Yesterday I succeeded in drastically modifying a dessert-type recipe and it turned out surprisingly well!
While exploring various food blogs that I'm addicted to, I came across this recipe for Baked Raspberry Oatmeal. While it sounded good, it just wasn't exactly what I was looking for. Although I wanted to make something healthy (and with only 1/3 cup of brown sugar this is guilt-free), I did NOT want to make Oatmeal. Ugh, my only memories of eating oatmeal were from Brownie camps that I attended as a child. I have always, even as a kid, been a big eater. However, those mornings when I was given nothing but a bowl of runny oatmeal I just DID NOT EAT. Even still to this day I can't even look at Justin when he has a bowl of it for breakfast. The consistency just completely freaks me out.
This recipe is not oatmeal. And it is without a doubt, the healthiest dessert I've made - other than popping the top of a fat-free pudding cup :) It's actually so healthy I will even say that you could have one of these for breakfast. I mean, there's fruit, rolled oats, milk - isn't that a balance meal??
So if you're craving that irresistible strawberry-banana combo then give these a try! They're not rich, creamy, or overly sweet - they really just remind me of a chewy granola bar.
Strawberry Banana Granola Bars
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 somewhat ripe bananas (not black, but not edible), cut into 1 cm slices
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon, divided
1/4 tsp gound nutmeg, divided
2 1/4 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup slivered almonds, divided
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries, thawed and halved
In a small bowl toss sliced bananas with 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp brown sugar and 1/8 tsp nutmeg. Melt butter in a small skillet. Add banana mixture and cook for 3-4 minutes, gently mushing the bananas up a bit until you get this chunky looking caramel-type consistency.
Remove from heat and gently add half of the strawberries. Set aside.
Pre-heat the oven to 200C or 375F. Line an 8inch square pan with baking parchment.
In a large bowl, mix together the remaining cinnamon, nutmeg, oats, half the almonds, brown sugar and baking powder.
In a small bowl, mix together the milk, egg and vanilla. Slowly add the wet to the dry, stirring until just combined. Gently stir in the banana-strawberry mixture. Pour batter into baking pan. Top with remaining almonds and strawberries.
Bake for about 30-35 minutes until cooked through (when a knife comes out clean). Allow to cool and slice into desired size. For added sweetness you can dust with a bit of powdered sugar or drizzle with a small amount of honey.