Tuesday, August 12, 2014

soft banana oat bars

you know how toddlers can quickly get obsessed with one specific food and then latch on like there is no tomorrow? nixon has been mildly (ok, not so mildly) obsessed with belvita brand banana bars lately, and though they are a decent snack (low in sugar, high in fiber), i felt like i could save a little money and make a copy of them that had a better texture and a more pronounced banana flavor.

and i did!

i searched all my cookbooks and then online for a banana cookie or bar recipe that was fairly low in sugar and high in oats and wheat flour. i then searched pinterest and found a few contenders. the hardest part of making these bars was narrowing down which recipe i wanted to use as a template and then tweak to my liking. this recipe from gold medal flour was the winner.

here's what i did--

soft banana oat bars

2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup all-natural Whole Wheat flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup regular sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
2T softened butter
1 cup mashed very ripe banana (about 2 bananas)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan or dish with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, cinnamon and baking powder.

3. Using a whisk, beat together the sugars, vanilla, butter and egg until well combined. Then add the banana and mix well. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

4. Spread mixture evenly into prepared baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely before lifting bars from pan and cutting into squares. Store in an airtight container.

these bars tasted very close to the belvita bars only better. they had a hearty texture from the oats, are lightly sweet, and have a pronounced banana flavor. today is day 2 of them and they are still perfectly soft. next time i will up the cinnamon to 1 1/2 tsp because my boy loves cinnamon (and i do, too) and maybe try adding peanut butter (and reducing the sugar) and/or subbing honey in place of the reg sugar.

if you wanted to make this more of a dessert or treat, adding chocolate chips, peanut butter chips or chocolate chunks from a good quality dark chocolate bar would not be a bad thing at all. 

i now have a homemade, organic, low sugar, high fiber food to offer nixon at breakfast, snacktime or in the car and i feel good about what he is eating (and he LOVES them!).

i'm a happy mama.

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