I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again. I’m a big time snacker. So much so that I purposefully have to avoid that Trader Joe’s aisle with all the crazy chip/cracker combos otherwise I’ll eat the entirety of whatever I grab before I get home (and I don’t live that far from TJ’s). That store knows how to get me. There needs to be a PSA about those “Inner Peas” because they’re fooling you into thinking you’re eating a bag of peas when you’re really eating dehydrated and fried things that look like peas. Or maybe they are peas, but I’ve HAD peas and I’ve promptly spit them into my napkin and dropped them onto the floor since I was three years old so…yeah…those ain’t peas.
Anywho…I snack like it’s my job so I need to make sure I’m not wasting my entire days worth of calories on bags of salty, yummy, but oh-so-fake peas. I also love chocolate. This is a problem when I also love to snack. I filled a bulk bag full of dark chocolate chips the other day intending to use them in this recipe and I barely had enough left to satisfy the 1/4 cup amount this recipe calls for. That means I ate like 2 cups worth of chocolate chips in a few days. I need help. How do I satisfy those snack attacks and also get my chocolate fix without tripling my recommended daily caloric intake?! This is how.
These chocolate banana oat bars are packed full of healthy whole grains and potassium rich bananas with a small dose of cocoa powder and a few dark chocolate chips. They’re perfect for a morning run-out-the-door bite, an afternoon snack or an after dinner dessert that won’t break the scale. Your kids are sure to love them and they’re incredibly easy to make. Make a double batch over the weekend and put one in your kids school lunches and your work bag throughout the week!
I have to thank my little nine month old nugget for packing our house full of bananas (which were the inspiration for this recipe). She eats them daily and loves them plain, but if you know baby food then you know every combination under the sun is mixed with banana. Banana kale, banana mango peach, banana strawberry raspberry, banana pumpkin pear…and on and on. We all love bananas for their versatility and they come through again in this recipe. They add moisture and creaminess to these oat bars eliminating the need for oil. This is a great use for those super brown bananas that you’re seconds from throwing into your compost. The browner the sweeter and the sweeter the better!
The best part about the first bar always falling apart is that it goes to the cook. The second and third one that follow are on you though…
Let’s talk about waste. When it comes to baked goods they all use a lot of similar ingredients so for the most part you probably already have a lot of these ingredients on hand. For the items you don’t, remember to take your reusable produce/bulk bags with you to the store and shop the bulk aisle first to see what you can find. At our store I was able to find oats, chocolate chips, brown sugar and carob (or cocoa) powder. By shopping the bulk aisle you reduce unnecessary packaging waste from going into your trash and you can take only as much as you need so nothing goes to waste. Bananas come in their own compostable packaging (the peel) so don’t you dare bag them in a plastic produce bag! Overall you shouldn’t be left with much (if any) waste and we can all smile about that.
Happy snacking my friends!
- 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder or carob powder
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (lightly packed)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup milk (I used almond)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 ripe bananas, mashed
- 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9X9 square baking dish with cooking spray or butter.
- In a large bowl stir to combine the oats, cocoa powder, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.
- Once combined add the egg, milk and vanilla extract and stir again.
- Lastly, mix in the mashed banana and dark chocolate chips. Stir to combine.
- Pour the mixture into the baking dish and bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into 12 squares.