The first was called “Chunky Monkey Muffins” from allrecipes.com. I adore that site and often use it for inspiration. Such a clever title. This recipe said that it was vegan and gluten free. While my diet doesn’t require either vegan or gluten free, I thought it would be a great one to try for my grown family with all their dietary needs.
The second was supposed to be a high protein breakfast bar. But first to the muffin mess.
As for me? I’m just trying to limit the sugar in my diet. I’ll eat meat happily, and eggs and bread. But I digress…
I was drawn to the recipe, in addition to the cute name, because it calls for two ripe bananas and I seem to have a steady supply of overripe bananas. (Our store had a sign for a while asking us not to break up “bunches of bananas,” so I end up bringing home huge bunches of bananas that seem to become overripe in the car ride home. They have removed the sign, but I still feel as if a produce thug is ready to jump out of the apple bin and pounce on me when I tear a banana family apart. Guilt, my ever present companion.)
This recipe also used dates with the bananas. No problem, I keep dates on hand because my chunky monkey hubby eats them like candy. No other sugar required and they were quite sweet. That was their saving grace.
There was one ingredient that I didn’t have – palm shortening. This was in addition to coconut oil. Since I didn’t have that I swapped out butter. (I know that’s not vegan, but they weren’t coming here this weekend. When push comes to shove, there is only so far I will tread into vegan territory.)
The top of the muffin was supposed to be sprinkled with chocolate chips and walnuts. In an effort to be good (which goes against my very nature!) I skipped the chips and added unsweetened coconut.
The resulting muffins? At first glance, I noticed that they sank in the middle. Not a confident lot, those muffins. The recipe called for baking soda and they must have meant baking powder which would have given them a bit of lift.
But that was only the beginning of their troubles. The tops of the muffins were flavorful with the chocolate/banana/walnut combo. But when you hit the middle and bottom you were treated to an oil well. Literally. Oil oozed out of the muffin papers. The bottom of each muffin looked like an oil spill in the ocean. Dark and murky. Not something to savor with morning coffee.
Will I try the recipe again? You betcha! I’m the person who tips my hairdresser even after I’ve gotten another horrid haircut.
But I’ll add real flour, an egg and some oats. And cut the oil at least by half. But I won’t serve them to my vegan/GF family members. Stay tuned.
The next experiment was from a book called 500 Low-carb Recipes by Dana Carpender, published in 2002. The crazy thing is that I have no notion of how it got on my cookbook shelf. I have dozens and dozens of cookbooks, which I read, study and mark up. But this one is unmarked, although a bit yellow from age. A mystery! In spite of the fact that it could have been left by some outer space demon, I read through it and decided to try “Kathy’s Peanut Butter Protein Bars.” Sounds perfect for a busy work morning. A make ahead bar that you can devour and be on your way.
But I am a succor for peanut butter, so I pressed on – literally one night about 10 pm. This one called for peanut butter, cream cheese, butter and gobs of protein powder. Seriously 1 and 3/4 cups of it. I have vanilla protein powder that’s flavored with Stevia, so I thought that would be good.
After mixing this crumbly mess in a bowl with a very heavy wooden spoon, you then press it into a pan and let it chill.
Chilling did not save this. It was crumbly and way too sweet, even though I didn’t add in the recommended extra 2 TBS of Splenda. Two tablespoons? And no one really uses Splenda anymore do they? It would have been utterly inedible with any more sweetener.
Ken and I both choked down a piece in the morning…with a lot of coffee. It was wretched. The next day, I thought I could save it by making a bit of chocolate with coconut oil, unsweetened chocolate and Stevia. I heated it, poured it on and let it chill. No save grace. Ken mumbled something about “just stopping for a breakfast sandwich” at a fast food joint.
I scraped the chocolate off and ate just that. Zoe the dog was the only one who was interested in the crumbly bottom. She a succor for peanut butter.
I will continue to search for a high protein, low sugar breakfast bar. But not one that adds butter and cream cheese to peanut butter. What was I thinking? Now to find out who left this cookbook in my shelves…