Here are some creative and healthy treats to beat the back to school blues. The banana muffins are a tasty and nutritious addition to the lunchbox. The frozen bananas make a great after school snack, served directly from the freezer. Both recipes are fun and kid friendly so your child can help you prepare them. To make the two-tone doggie sandwich, use a dog cookie cutter to remove the center of a slice of whole wheat bread and replace with a dog cut-out from a slice of white bread.
Before you begin you will need: A pastry blender**, and a 12-cup standard size muffin pan lined with 12 standard size cupcake liners.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
In a large mixing bowl, sift together the first 6 ingredients.
With a pastry blender, two knives, or your fingertips cut in the shortening until it resembles coarse meal.
In another mixing bowl combine the mashed bananas, eggs, orange juice and vanilla, then add to the dry ingredients.
Mix together all ingredients until just combined—do not over mix.
Fold in chocolate chips and nuts.
Fill each cupcake liner about ½ to ¾ full with the batter.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the muffin comes out clean.
Makes 8 to 12 muffins.
Peel bananas. Cut in half. Insert popsicle or lollipop stick into cut side very gently about halfway into the banana being careful not to split banana.
Place bananas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for several hours or overnight. Once bananas are frozen, you can place them in a large baggie and store in freezer until ready to use.
When you are ready to dip the bananas, place your favorite toppings on paper plates.
Place chocolate and Crisco in a microwave safe bowl and microwave at 50% power for 1 minute. Repeat this process, one minute at a time until all the chocolate is melted and smooth.
Pour the melted chocolate into a long, slender cylindrical vessel (such as a champagne flute), remove banana from freezer and dip the banana into the melted chocolate.
Once banana is fully coated, work quickly and roll in your favorite topping before the chocolate hardens.
If desired, you can melt a different color chocolate to drizzle on banana instead of a topping, i.e. if you’ve coated the banana in dark chocolate, you can drizzle white chocolate over it. It is okay to drizzle on a design after the coating has hardened.
Place coated and decorated bananas on a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze.
When finished bananas are frozen, you can store them in Tupperware or aluminum storage containers.
Serve bananas directly from freezer. They will turn mushy if they defrost.
Essex Fells Magazine