Science for Hungry People – Chiquita Rounds

If you use Instagram, there’s a good chance that you come across food content—recipes, videos, cake-decorating magic, mesmerizing icing work, thinly rolled ice cream… I could go on for hours.  Some of that content is a sect I like to refer to as ‘Instagram Incompletes.’  I’m not sure if it’s intentional or just lazy, but I often get seduced by the idea of a recipe only to realize there are crucial parts missing.  I mean, I can hold my own in a kitchen, and I have a good idea of how to fill in the gaps.  But when writing a legitimate recipe out for someone else, the devil is in the details!  Just because I can improvise, that doesn’t mean I want to have to!

Proofread your recipes, y’all.

About a week ago, I came across a photo of these ‘oat balls.’  [Side note:  I had to change the name to ‘Chiquita Rounds’ because I was unhappy repeating the word ‘balls’ over and over again.  I have other ideas for binders that aren’t banana, so even that name may change later on down the line, but for now it’s a welcome replacement.]

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Oat Balls.  Terrible name.  Tasty-looking though.

The recipe definitely falls into the ‘Instagram Incompletes’ sect, though only just barely.  Here it is:

2 cups oats, 2 ripe bananas, dark chocolate chips of choice, & cinnamon 👉🏻 mix all ingredients together by hand & then bake at 375F for 20 min!!! So easy, so good, you seriously gotta try them 😎 Happy Saturday!!

I don’t mean any shade.  It’s a nearly-complete recipe.  But how much of the dark chocolate chips?  And how much cinnamon?  Can you bake them on greased sheet pan?  Parchment?  Should you start checking them at 10 minutes or leave them to be?  What size is the actual oat ball?  Will they spread at all?

These are the things the people need to know!  Also, why does it look like there might be peanut butter in the binding of the oat balls in the picture…?  Is that just a coincidence?  Or was peanut butter included and just not mentioned?

I decided I would take matters into my own hands and do what I really love to do… Recipe Test!  I started off by immediately dividing the recipe in half; I had a sneaking suspicion that they might come out a bit more banana-y than I personally enjoy, so I didn’t want to make a huge batch.  Here is my modified recipe:

Chiquita Rounds

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of oats
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 ounce of a dark chocolate bar, chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 Tablespoons of PB Powder*
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of ground flax meal

*The PB Powder was unnecessary and didn’t bring any peanut butter flavor to the party.  I wouldn’t use it going forward.

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Mash ripened banana in a bowl.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Mix well with a spatula.
  3. Shape into 5 balls using a giant ice cream scoop.  Split them, and re-roll into 10 balls.  Think about splitting them again, and decide against it.
  4. Place balls on parchment-lined sheet pans, and put into the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  5. Try one and decide that, while the flavor is very good, there is just too strong a banana presence.  Cut the remaining 9 in half for a total of 18 pieces for BP’s coworkers to sample.
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Most of the ingredients

The ‘Chiquita Rounds,’ which sound so much nicer than ‘Oat Balls,’ came out really well.  If I liked banana bread, I’d have kept them around for mid-morning snacks and late afternoon hunger pains.  But as banana bread is not my jam, I had no problem sending them off with BP to get some honest feedback.

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Pre-Baked Rounds

Overall, they were well received.  The feedback was all really constructive:  there could be more sweetness, a less-dark chocolate used, more chocolate used, more moisture provided by either another banana or applesauce, and I’m so into that instead of using bananas (thanks BP)!  There was also the suggestion to bring some nuts to the party for a little texture and crunch!  Walnuts would be great in this mix, but I think I’d like to use some crushed plain roasted peanuts in their place!  Really bring that peanut butter flavor to the party!

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Finished rounds, chopped in half for sharing.

This recipe is the perfect size for testing a new variable quite easily; it comes together so quickly, and it bakes for only 20 minutes!  You can make them up and fold up that lingering basket of clean laundry while they bake.

I’ll definitely be updating you with the next test soon!  What variations would you like to see me try?  Leave me a comment below!


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