Lindsay Ann Bakes: Banana Chocolate Chip Granola Bars (egg free, dairy free, with low fat & gluten free options)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Banana Chocolate Chip Granola Bars (egg free, dairy free, with low fat & gluten free options)

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These granola bars are so good and so versatile! They taste like a super moist slice of banana nut bread mixed with a chocolate chip granola bar. If you prefer a lower sugar, healthier option, you can cut the sugar in half and use a fruit puree like extra mashed banana or some applesauce in place of the oil for a low-fat alternative with natural sweeteners from the fruit! The best part is there is no egg or dairy and can easily be made gluten free for a perfect lunch box addition, pre workout snack, or morning grab-and-go breakfast!


These granola bars are so simple to make you may never buy another box from the grocery store again! Kids will also love adding their own mix-ins to customize their own bars. They are a perfect snack to throw in a lunch box, take to the park or grab as a quick after school treat.


The ripeness of your bananas will determine how naturally sweet your granola bars are, so make sure your bananas are extra ripe, and I mean R-I-P-E! Think, covered in brown spots, too ripe to eat, about to throw it away, ripe. That means it is at the peak of sweetness, the riper the better! This will ensure the banana is ultra sweet, soft, and packed with a more intense banana flavor, than a regular yellow banana, making them perfect for this recipe!




If you're anything like me, you forget to plan ahead and buy the bananas in advance so they can ripen to the perfect level. Watch my video below for my trick to get you perfectly ripe, super sweet and soft bananas for the recipe, by releasing the natural sugars in the oven at a low temperature.


To start, simply mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.



Pour into your prepared 8" pan.


 Press down into the pan for even bars.


Bake until golden.


Cool and cut into bars.
 
 

Enjoy!


You can even whip up a mini batch in no time by cutting the recipe in half and baking in a small loaf pan for a quick and easy 4 bar recipe!



Chewy Banana Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Yield: 8 bars

Ingredients
  • 1 3/4 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour (may use oat flour or whole wheat flour)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • Optional 1/4 cup of mix-ins of your choice such as: chopped nuts, wheat germ, dried fruits like cranberries, apricots, cherries, or raisins; seeds like sunflower, sesame, pumpkin or flax; even fun additions like crushed pretzel or graham cracker pieces, white chocolate chips, shredded coconut flakes, M&M's, or candy pieces
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil*
  • 1/4 cup honey, agave or light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup very ripe banana (about 1 small banana), mashed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*Sub half of the oil with 2 tablespoons of applesauce for a healthier, low-fat version.

 


Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper or foil (along the bottom and up the sides of the pan) for easy removal.

In a medium size bowl combine oats, flour, cinnamon and salt. Toss in chocolate chips, nuts, and mix-ins of your choice. In a separate bowl, combine oil, honey, brown sugar, banana and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until well combine. Gently press into prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes until lightly golden. 

Let cool and remove from pan by lifting by the parchment or foil. Cut into bars or use a cookie cutter to create fun shapes. Store in an air tight container or zip lock baggies at room temperature.


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