Banana Energy Bars

IMG_0417I love gifting loved ones with unique gifts and sometimes it just makes sense to turn to Etsy.  Yes, they expanded like crazy and I have no clue how to navigate the site like I used to but I saved my favorites for those last minute gifts.

One of their expansions was pretty great, though.  Eatsy had a ton of pretty posts with healthy(-ish) options.  When Adrianna Adarme posted her Banana Breakfast Cookies I knew that I had to them.  The first time I made them I substituted in AP Flour for the wheat and oat flours justifying it by saying that I just wanted to try the cookies because I had a banana that was just waiting to be baked and absolutely nothing else.   Whoops.  A little bit of research revealed that wheat flour is great for giving your baked goods a nice chewy texture while oat flour is sweet.  Which explains why the first batch of cookies was a little bland.  The next set of cookies I followed the recipe as well as I could, substituting in oat bran for oat flour since I couldn’t find oat flour at my local grocery or Trader Joe’s.  Oh, and I substituted chocolate chips for cocoa nibs.  And doubled the amount of chocolate and walnuts called for in the recipe.  I like chunky cookies.  I also substituted avocado for butter.  Ok, so I completely changed the cookies.  I’m just getting them where I want them to be for me…fewer exotic additions and a cookie that I can whip up without 5 trips to the grocery store.

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The batter right after creaming the avocado and sugar.  As you can see from the finished product, it doesn’t turn out green in the end!

The next round of cookies I made a few more changes.  I added in a second banana – it needed more of a banana flavor.  And I baked them in bar form.  Less work/fewer dishes makes me a very happy girl.  The cook time went from ~20 minutes to ~35 min.  My beau’s comment on the final product: they’re home-made Clif bars!  So the lesson here is: good for energy anytime whether its the start of your day or mid-hike.  Bonus:  These should freeze well when wrapped up nice and tight so that you can make up batches and store them every time you have a pair of bananas at the end of their lives.

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My Recipe for Banana Energy Bars:

Ingredients:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup oat flour (grind up oats in a food processor or herb grinder)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 an avocado (Hass because they are easiest for me to find at the grocery store)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 bananas (recipe approximates that it’ll be about 1 cup)
1/2 old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup chocolate chips
3 tablespoons coconut flakes
1/2 cup chopped coarsely chopped walnuts

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. In a large bowl, cream together the avocado and sugar.  I use a fork.  It will look like green goop.  We’re just looking for a consistent texture from the avocado.  Add in the egg, vanilla and bananas and mix to combine.
2. Add in the flours based on volume.  AP flour goes on banana mixture and is topped with the other two flours.  Next up: the salt, cinnamon and baking soda.  Mix until just combined.  Again, I’m using a fork.  I swirl the dry ingredients to mix them together a bit them evenly distribute them then incorporate the dry into the wet.  It will look kind of like pancake batter with banana chunks in it.  Finally, add in the chunks: oats, chocolate, coconut and nuts.  A quick stir just to evenly distribute them would be perfect.
3. Butter and flour a 8x10in baking dish (think brownie pan). Evenly spread the batter in the baking dish. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the tufts and edges of the pan are lightly golden brown. Cool the bars before eating.  Enjoy!
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Enjoy!
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