Okay, I have a confession: I have a sweet tooth, and a rather large one at that.
I love sweets. I think they’re delicious. Problem is, they’re not nutritious. Now, there are some great blogs out there about “healthifying” recipes, but the problem with them is that most I’ve found use strange and expensive ingredients. Or “healthify” them in ways I don’t think really makes them healthier. Like making everything gluten free. If you actually need gluten free, then those recipes are great! But, unless you actually are gluten intolerant, then they’re not any healthier. It’s a health craze that isn’t better for you. And it annoys me. There is a very, very, very, small part of the population that needs gluten free. But most people don’t.
Okay, now that I’ve gotten really off topic…
Back to healthy sweets! Most recipes are not my cup of tea. I’ve found some zucchini brownies I really like (which I’ll share later. They’re from the amazing Chocolate Covered Katie’s blog. If you haven’t read her recipes, do so. They all taste really good). The other problem is most of them are simply healthier. Y Many use sugar substitutes, when almost every substitute has been shown to be worse for you in the long run than sugar. Using natural sugars like honey and agave nectar aren’t bad, but if you do a direct substitution, you’re not really cutting out the unhealthy aspect. Yes, it’s less processed, which is a big bonus, but it’s not any lower calorie. I remember when my sister was so proud of cutting sugar our of her diet. Come to find out, instead of adding 3 spoonfuls of sugar to her tea, she added around 4 spoonfuls of honey. Less processed, but not cutting sugar out of her diet. You’re still better off avoiding them. But avoiding them doesn’t help my sweet tooth.
So, when I came across a two ingredient actually healthy cookie in my browsing through pinterest, I was super excited.
Yep, you read that right. 2 ingredients.
Here’s the breakdown:
- 2 Bananas.
- 1 Cup Quick Oats.
- Mix until cookie dough consistency and bake on a GREASED cookie sheet at 350* for 15 minutes.
It makes about 16 cookies.
I’m sure you sitting there asking me, “Wait. How are oats and banana’s cookies?” The answer lies in the natual sugars in the banana and other nectars. When baked, a banana sort of caramelizes. (Here’s where the Chemist part of me comes out, because naturally, being a chemist, I had to look up the science of caramelizing fruit. And now I have to share it with you!)
When we think of sugar, most people think of a singular substance. But, scientifically speaking, there are a lot of different sugars, many of them are present in the fruits we eat. (Which is what makes then so yummy and sweet!). When we bake them, we do things to those chemicals. (We’re adding heat). It’s actually a complicated process that’s not entirely understood even though it’s been used in cooking for hundreds of years. Part of the reason it’s so complicated is because of all the different types of sugars. There’s a lot going on when you caramelize something. The main process I’ll talk about here is a dehydration process. For those of you who saw chemistry and got scared, let me tell you something: dehydration is just what you think it is. It’s losing water. Some sugar is losing an H2O molecule to give a different chemical, known as caramelan. This has increased the conjugation (meaning that there are more double bonds in the molecule) which is what gives it the brown color. Cool, huh? It’s a form of pyrolysis, of the breaking down of a compound when heat is added. But there’s more to it than that. (That’s why it’s complicated. There’s simply so much stuff in biological systems! The Chemistry is amazing and complex and beautiful and just so much fun!) The other reason the food browns is called the Maillard Reaction. This reaction is responsible for the browning of meats when they’re cooked, for dulce de leche, for roasted coffee, and many other things. It’s a reaction between amino acids and sugar, which means that there are lots of products because there are lots of amino acids and sugars in foods. The those in turn go through even more reactions.
Long story short, chemistry makes your food taste good.
If you skipped my aside in to chemistry (I didn’t even go that deep, I promise! I don’t think I could do it justice in this blog), then here’s the why it tastes good: the bananas natural sugars caramelize, meaning that the sweet flavors are brought out even more. When I made these, I added a handful of dark chocolate chips, which was delicious. Next time, I’m going to try adding some cocoa and honey to a bit to see if I can make them chocolate, but healthier (because still, mainly oats and bananas). Or maybe peanut butter for the husband (as I don’t like the nutty spread).
These cookies are great.
Best part? I’ve eaten two for breakfast guilt free. It’s basically eating a banana oatmeal, but your brain still thinks it’s a cookie. For breakfast. There’s no losing with these.