The other night I was working away when a massive sweet craving hit me. I needed something sweet, something warming, something comforting, STAT! In these times of need I usually whip up a creamy chunky monkey chocolate smoothie, answer my cravings with a sweet popsicle or indulge in a dreamy chocolate mousse. Yes, I am human, I do have a sweet tooth, and I do have cravings. I know how to read them, and usually I know how to give my body what it needs. I also know that wanting chocolate can be curbed with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Both the smell and the taste of cinnamon make chocolate cravings go away. So next time maybe you want to run to your spice cabinet and take a sniff... or you can give these baked cinnamon plantains a try.
What are plantains you may ask. In German we call them "cooking bananas", which exactly describes what they are. These bananas are less ripe and sweet than regular bananas. They are the starchy component of meals in Central America, the Caribbean's, and in some African countries, and are often treated just like potatoes when it comes to cooking them. This means you can fry, bake, mash, cook, grill, and steam them. They are excellent in curries and soups or can be made into a beautiful sweet dessert like these baked chips. Just like bananas, plantains ripen from green to yellow to black. In the very ripe, black state they can be eaten raw, in the other stages you should cook them. They also get more sweet as they ripen, so if you want to use them for a savory dish, make sure you use green ones. They are an excellent source of fiber to keep your digestion happy.
Plantains are hard to peel, and often you have to slice the peel off. When you cut into a plantain, you will find a lot of sap coming out, which stains your knife, chopping board, and clothes, so be careful and rinse everything quickly with warm, soapy water after preparing. I like to line my chopping board with a paper kitchen towel to avoid sap seeping into my board.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Makes 1 cup:
- 2 yellow plantains
For the marinade:
- 2 Tbsp raw honey or maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
Pre-heat oven to 200ºC/ 400ºF and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Whisk together the ingredients for the marinade in a big bowl and set aside.
Peel the plantains (see above for tips on the sap!) by using a knife and cutting away the peel (it's tougher than on regular bananas).
Slice the plantains thinly (about 3mm/ 0.1 inches), and transfer to the bowl with the marinade.
Using your fingertips, mix the plantain slices, making sure each one is coated well.
Transfer the slices on to the baking tray, making sure they are not overlapping.
Bake for 20 minutes, then flip the slices.
Bake another 15 minutes until caramelized brown.
Cool off for a few minutes. They will become a bit crispier, and will be super delicious!
P.S.: Beware, you have to eat them all at once, otherwise they turn stale and chewy.