Sunday, February 26, 2012

Chocolate-Covered Banana Pops

The last time I made banana cake pops, I forgot to add in the sugar. The funny thing is, nobody noticed! That's right. They were missing 1.5 cups of sweetener, but were only slightly not sweet enough. That's probably because I had an extra 1.5 cups of mushed bananas, which are plenty sweet.

This time I did a better job, adjusted some of the quantities, made some different substitutions, and I think the result was orgasmic. If I do say so myself.

That's because, instead of just plain bananas for my "binder", I cooked up a modified bananas foster mixture. It added the right touch of decadence that a good cake pop needs.

I was going to turn these into monkeys and I worked really hard to come up with the right design but when I went to put the face bits on, I realized you can't turn cake balls you make with a cake pop maker into anything. For example, the part where the nose went wouldn't smoosh flat and I couldn't get the chocolate chips to dig in to make ears.

Sigh.

Since my monkey bits were mostly chocolate and peanut butter, I decided I'll try again only with my chocolate peanut butter cake pop mixture. They are also orgasmic.

In the meantime, I just made basic pops.

Here's the recipe:

Ingredients: 

Binder: 
1/4 cup unsalted butter (half a stick)
1/4 cup brown sugar substitute (I use Whey Low Gold)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup mashed bananas
1 tbsp almond extract
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Cake: 
1/2 cup 100% whole wheat flour
3/4 cup banana protein powder (I use Chike Banana Magic)
3/4 cup brown sugar substitute (Whey Low Gold again)
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (I use Kosher salt)
3/4 cup mashed bananas
1/3 cup buttermilk (if you don't have buttermilk, add 1/3 tsp vinegar to regular milk)
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Cook up the binder first. Over medium heat in a medium sized skillet, melt the butter into the brown sugar substitute and cinnamon. Then add the bananas, vanilla and almond extract.

Once everything is mixed, stir the mixture as it bubbles for about 4-5 minutes. Then, remove from the flame and set aside to cool off.

While the binder is cooling, mix up the banana cake as follows:

Mix the dry ingredients (the first six) in a bowl. If you don't have banana-flavored protein powder, you can use unflavored or vanilla. If you use vanilla, don't add any vanilla extract to the mix. If you use unflavored, you may need to add some more sweetener. If you have a sugar-free banana syrup, that would be best.

Mix thoroughly -- you may have to break up the clumps of your brown sugar substitute and you don't want any pockets of protein powder or baking powder in particular.

Add in the bananas and mix with a whisk until combined. Add buttermilk, egss and vanilla. Whisk until combined and then 1-2 minutes more. (If you have a mixer, you can beat on medium speed instead. Mr. Mac broke my mixer so I use a whisk. I kind of prefer to do it that way, anyway.)

What you do next depends on whether you are going to use a cake pop maker or not.

If using Cake Pop Maker: 
Mix the binder into the cake mix, using a whisk. Then cook as you do normally using your particular cake pop maker. Because they are extra moist, you'll need to cook on the longer side of whatever your range is.

If making the traditional way: 
Bake your cake in a 9x9 inch baking pan (the type you normally use to bake brownies) that's been greased and lightly floured. The oven should be preheated to 350° F. Bake for around 30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes then remove from the pan and cool some more.  Once your cake cooled off, crumbled it up and add in the binder. Smoosh it all together and then prepare your balls as you would normally.

Makes about 3 dozen cake balls if you use a pop maker and 2 dozen if you make them the traditional way.

I covered mine in Wilton's Rainbow Nonpareils and a milk chocolate dip made from half Wilton Light Cocoa Chips and half Hershey's Sugar Free Milk Chocolate with some Smart Balance Omega Cooking Oil to thin it out.

This gives the following nutritional stats per pop:

Calories: 91 calories
Protein: 2 grams
Carbs: 12 grams
Sugar: 5 grams
Fat: 5 grams

If you use 100% sugar free chocolate for the dip, you can get them down to about 80 calories even less sugar.
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