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Bananas: Vitamins and flavor by the bunch

Published 5:42pm Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Congratulations to Reba Samuel, whose recipe for “Reba’s Sweet and Simple” won first place in the hospital’s healthy dessert contest earlier this week.

I’ll be giving that one a try for sure.

It’s not easy to find a tasty and healthy dessert.

Mrs. Samuel’s recipe calls for one of my husband’s favorite fruits – banana.

The banana is Jason’s cure-all fruit. According to him, anything from cramps, to headaches, to general queasiness can be cured with a banana.

Some of that is true. Bananas are very good for you in moderation.

Since Mrs. Samuel has already provided us with a healthy use for bananas, I’ll provide one that’s a little less healthy but just as tasty.

In my house, we call these “monkey bars.”

You’ll need:

1/2 cup raisins

1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum or apple juice

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup mashed ripe banana

3 tablespoons low-fat buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large egg whites

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Cooking spray

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the raisins and rum in a microwave-safe bowl.

Microwave at high for one minute and set aside. Lightly spoon flour into a measuring cup and level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk and set aside.

Combine brown sugar and butter in a large bowl and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add the banana, buttermilk, vanilla and egg whites, beating well.

Add the flour mixture and beat just until combined. Stir in the raisin mixture and walnuts.

Spread the batter into an 8-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until golden.

Cool the bars completely on a wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

A lot of the ingredients you use for this recipe are naturally low in calories or are low calorie. Still, the rum and butter, brown sugar and powdered sugar sprinkle mean this may be off your Weight Watchers chart.

It’s delicious nonetheless and makes an awesome alternative – if even a little spicy if you use the rum, to a traditional banana nut bread.

 Tiffany Cannon is a field editor for Taste of Home Magazine and owner of 2ate9 Bakery and Catering in Demopolis. She can be reached via email at tiffany@2ate9.com

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