Because our house has recently reached heatstroke inducing levels, I've shied away from the oven for the past week or so. Cooking has also been a chore. Last night, it got so hot in the kitchen I had to shower after making dinner. I don't know how chefs do it. What if I were a TV chef and after every take they had to towel me off? I'm sure I'd be canceled in no time. The last thing anyone needs to see is a sweaty chef.
Thankfully, its finally cooled off a bit, so in a fit of baking withdrawal I instantly consulted my ever burgeoning recipe collection to find something that didn't require a lot of baking time. Monkey bars? What are those? Good question. It seems that monkey bars are a cross between a banana cake and a banana bar. Not as fluffy as a cake, but not as dense as a typical bar. They're also part dessert, part snack, maybe even part breakfast. Are the monkeys suffering from an identity crisis?
I combined a few recipes to result in a light cake-type treat that is full on brown sugar sweetness accented by cinnamon, caramelized apples, rum soaked raisins and ripe bananas. Applesauce and yogurt provide moisture to lower the amount of fat used. Finally, a dusting of powdered sugar provides the final touch. These were delicious and very light. So light, that it's hard to eat just one!
Since I technically used 3 fruits here (bananas, apples, raisins) I'm submitting this recipe to Cate from Sweetnicks ARF/ 5-a-day Tuesday roundup.
Brown Sugar Banana Apple Monkey Bars
Adapted from Cooking Light
1/2 cup raisins
1 1/2 tablespoons banana rum (can substitute with dark rum or apple juice)
1/2 large apple, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon brown sugar
pat of butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
2 medium bananas, mashed ripe
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
1 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine the raisins and rum in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at high for 1 minute, and set aside to cool.
In a small nonstick saucepan, melt a pat of butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar and allow to heat for 2 minutes or until bubbling. Add apples and saute until golden brown and tender, about 4 minutes. Add apples to raisins and allow to cool.
Combine flour and the next 4 ingredients (flour through cinnamon) in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Set aside.
Combine 3/4 cup brown sugar and 3 tablespoons butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add banana, yogurt, vanilla, egg whites and applesauce, beating well. Add the flour mixture, beating just until combined. Stir in raisin apple mixture.
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 once cool.