Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tricks for Your Treats...

Tricky Ingredients Make Healthy Treats

If you like peanut butter as much as I do, you're going to love these recipes! I came by my peanut butter addiction honestly. There's always a jar of peanut butter mixed with honey on the counter at home. In my mind, peanut butter falls under the 'kids meal' category, but my heart knows better. Peanut butter is a food mildly tolerated by kids and only sometimes enjoyed. My peanut butter palate didn't fully mature until I was also enjoying other more adult foods. Maybe that's because there was nothing smooth about peanut butter when I was growing up. It was a challenge to spread it without tearing the bread—but no more!

Good peanut butter has a satisfying depth of flavor, and there are so many delicious pairings. Remember your first Reese Cup? Chocolate and peanut butter: a memory worth savoring. And how about jelly? I've experimented with some interesting flavors, but grape jelly continues to be my first choice. Many love the peanut butter/honey combination. I can't deny that it does have its own special appeal. If you're really hungry, with only time for a bite, nothing is more lasting or satisfying than a big bite of peanut butter.

I first published this recipe in 2007 as a healthy lunch box choice for kids as they were going back to school. When I saw the cover of Cooking Light this month sporting banana bread with peanut butter, I decided to dig this out of my recipe archives and compare. By combining the two recipes, I was able to add some yogurt, remove some butter, losing a little fat, and produce some pretty darn good cupcakes. Truthfully, they're more like muffins, and don't need the frosting, but don't tell the kids.

The second recipe is a homemade health bar with lots of protein, fiber, and antioxidants, but if you don't tell, no one will know they're eating something that's really good for them.

So, take a little time and make healthy treats for the goblins this year.

Banana Cupcakes with PB & J

One and one-half to one and three-fourths cups mashed, very ripe bananas

Tip: if your bananas aren't very soft, cut them up and microwave for one minute on high. If you have a 'muddler' it's a good tool to use to mash your bananas.

2 large eggs

One-fourth cup vanilla yogurt

One-fourth cup creamy peanut butter

2 T canola oil

3 T melted butter

One-half cup white sugar

One-half cup (packed) dark brown sugar

1 tsp. Cinnamon

1 tsp. Salt

One and one-half teaspoon baking soda

One and one-half cup plain flour


One-fourth cup creamy peanut butter

One-fourth cup grape jelly

Preheat oven to 350°.

Mix bananas, eggs, yogurt peanut butter canola oil and melted butter until well blended. Add white and brown sugar and mix to thoroughly combine.

Stir the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together, and then mix it into banana mixture.

Swirl peanut butter and jelly together gently, without thoroughly combining.

Put cupcake liners into muffin tins.

Fill each liner about two-thirds full. When batter settles into liner, add a heaping teaspoon of the peanut butter/jelly mixture. Then cover with a little more batter, smoothing with the back of a spoon.

Bake for 25 minutes. Remove and cool completely before frosting.


4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

1 T butter, room temperature

1 heaping T grape jelly

One and one-half cup confectioners' sugar

Cream cheese, butter and jelly. Add confectioners' sugar a little at a time until all incorporated.

Store in refrigerator.

Peanut Butter Granola Bars
Tip: I used my nonstick wok to mix this, and it worked nicely. Also, you can substitute or add extra nuts and dried fruit as you desire.

One cup honey

One-half cup white sugar

One-half cup brown sugar

One and one-half cups smooth peanut butter

1 (15oz.) box of your favorite granola-like cereal (shouldn't be sweet)

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup dried cherries

One and one-half cups 60% chocolate cacao chips

Preheat oven to 325°.

Heat honey, and both sugars in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring.

Remove from heat, add peanut butter, and stir until completely combined. Immediately add cereal, pecans and dried cherries and stir to combine.

Pour into parchment lined 9 x 13 inch pan, and spread evenly.

Pour chocolate chips evenly over top.

Place in oven just for a minute to let chocolate melt. Remove and smooth chocolate over top with an offset spatula.

Set aside and cool completely.

When cool, slice into bars and store in zip lock bags.

1 comment:

  1. This recipe sounds FABULOUS! I can't wait to make them. PEANUT BUTTER, the glue that keeps us all together!!!!!
    Kathy Messer