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Have you ever made a "healthy" bread / loaf / bun recipe and after a bite he said "hmmm … this is good but would be much better with a little almond butter". Yes … I'm pretty sure we all have. I'm right?
Nut butters improve everything, but I'm going to start by saying this is one of those recipes. These bars are delicious – no peanut / sunflower / almond butter needed.
I did them for two reasons: 1.) I'm going on a hike this weekend to a friend's bachelorette party and wanted to bring a little snack to share with the girls, and 2.) Isaac will be alone this weekend. and sometimes he forgets to eat
The first time I learned about this amazing recipe was at Runner’s World Half & Festival. For one of the blogger lunches, we ate a ton of different things and these oatmeal and banana energy bars were on the menu. It was one of my favorite things I ate that weekend! Once at home, I made a batch of bars for my cousin right after she had her baby, since she and her husband needed all the energy they could get.
Since this was the second time I made the bars, I decided to experiment a little by changing some of the ingredients to make them a bit healthier. As you will see in my version of the recipe below, I used less oil, less sugar, less dried fruit and whole-grain puff flour. I also cut the batch into 16 bars instead of 12. With these changes, they came out with approximately 125 calories, 7 grams of fat and 17 grams of carbohydrates LESS than the original bars. It's not bad at all.
Despite the changes, the bars turned out to be as good as the original recipe. They have a nice, hearty texture and thick (almost crisp) edges, but are still quite sweet and moist. Speaking of crisp edges, they are my favorite part of these bars. I'm almost tempted to buy a rimmed brownie pan so I can make them in it.
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As I mentioned, these bars are absolutely delicious on their own (no toppings needed). And they're great for eating or fueling a workout because they're portable and packed with healthy ingredients (unlike many store-bought energy bars). While I have no children around to test this theory, I am almost certain that the children will devour them immediately. If you do and share them with your children, be sure to let me know if my hypothesis is correct. 🙂
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 2 overripe bananas
- 1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil
- 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 3/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (affiliate link)
- 3/4 cup whole wheat puff flour (or 1/2 cup whole wheat flour + 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour)
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/4 cup raisins
- Preheat the oven to 350 °. Coat 8 "x 8" square baking pan with cooking spray.
- Spread the walnuts on an ungreased baking sheet or stone and toast in the oven for 5 to 8 minutes, or until toasted and fragrant.
- While the nuts are roasting, mash the bananas in a medium bowl. Add the remaining wet ingredients: oil, apple sauce, sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth.
- In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients: oatmeal, flour, yeast, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking soda. Add the banana mixture (wet) and stir until combined. Fold the toasted walnuts and raisins, being careful not to over mix. Pour the mixture into the prepared skillet and spread evenly. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top is browned and an almost clean toothpick is inserted. Let cool completely before cutting into bars.
- Portion size: 1 bar
- Calories 172
- Sugar: 13
- Fat: 8
- Carbohydrates: 24
- Fiber: 2
- Protein: 3