Bars, Breakfast, Recipes

Fantastical Food Fight: Banana Breakfast Bars

These simple freezer-friendly banana breakfast bars come together in a snap and taste SO good! They’re a great breakfast or snack that everyone will love.¬†

These simple freezer-friendly banana breakfast bars come together in a snap and taste SO good! They're a great breakfast or snack that everyone will love. #FantasticalFoodFight via thepajamachef.com

Apparently these days all my recipes revolve around breakfast or snack time. Ha! I first made these yummy banana breakfast bars in the winter and have since made them several times because they are a) easy, b) addictive, c) pretty healthy, and d) made with ingredients I always, always, ALWAYS have on hand. All three of us love these hybrid granola bar/banana bread recipe that can be enjoyed for an on-the-go breakfast or for a healthy snack option. And my husband likes them doubly-so because they’re made in just one bowl for extra-easy clean up! Haha.

These simple freezer-friendly banana breakfast bars come together in a snap and taste SO good! They're a great breakfast or snack that everyone will love. #FantasticalFoodFight via thepajamachef.com

I’m always on the look out for easy, real-food recipes that I can make for my toddler’s afternoon snack at school… with the dreaded “nut free” caveat. I’m fortunate enough to not have a child with food allergies, so I don’t quite understand that world, though I do try to be sympathetic. But it’s hard because I love me some peanut butter and lots of my favorite recipes include it! So I have to think outside the box a bit for school snacks. We try to rotate between yogurt, applesauce, cheese, fruit, and some sort of muffin/bar recipe so he doesn’t have the same thing for snack everyday. The muffin/bar option is one of my favorites because so many recipes–including this one–can be made ahead and frozen so he doesn’t have a week’s worth of the same thing. I know he’s only two, but even so I don’t want him to get bored with the same snacks. And maybe BECAUSE he’s two, I don’t want him to get into a food rut. ūüôā¬†So many store-bought breakfast/granola bars are made with nuts or nut butter, which is a no-go for school… so these are absolutely perfect!

These simple freezer-friendly banana breakfast bars come together in a snap and taste SO good! They're a great breakfast or snack that everyone will love. #FantasticalFoodFight via thepajamachef.com

I hope you give these easy bars a try. Read through the recipe below to see how to make them… and be sure to click over to the original recipe. If you don’t have to make nut-free snacks like I do, you’ll want to try the yummy peanut butter-white chocolate drizzle. I need to give that try sometime! ūüôā

P.S. I’m linking these up with the BANANA Fantastical Food Fight this month. Check out more banana recipes here:¬†

two years ago: Creamy Sweet Potato and Kale Orzo
three years ago: Cantucci (Almond Biscotti)
four years ago: Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice
five years ago: Autumnal Muffins
six years ago: Iced Tea with Ginger-Mint Simple Syrup
seven years ago: Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad
eight years ago: Spaghetti + Meatballs

Banana Breakfast Bars

  • Servings: 12 bars
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slightly adapted from Crazy for Crust

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium bananas, very ripe
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, mash bananas. Add oil, egg, and vanilla, then whisk until egg is beaten in and everything is combined. Add in oats and flour, then stir to combine. Sprinkle in brown sugar, cinnamon, and baking soda. Stir to combine.

Pour batter into prepared pan, then bake for 18-22 minutes until edges are golden brown and center is cooked through.

Cool completely before cutting into bars. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days, or freeze (in bags for easy lunch packing, if desired) for up to a month.

The original recipe has a yummy peanut butter-white chocolate drizzle on top if you want to try that! I needed to keep these nut-free for my son’s school, but that would be a fun addition. Enjoy!

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Bars, Breakfast, Recipes

{Healthy} Mexican Hot Chocolate Breakfast Bars

Would you like a rich, chocolately, fudgy bar for breakfast? They have a hint of cinnamon and cayenne¬†reminiscent¬†of the fancily flavorful Mexican Hot Chocolate that is so addicting once you get past the fact that you’re drinking something with a little heat. I bet you’ll love them.

{Healthy} Mexican Hot Chocolate Breakfast Bars | The Pajama ChefBut…… I know, I know. Chocolate for breakfast is everyone’s dream. Emphasis on dream, not reality. Especially in near brownie form, complete with chocolate chunks and coconut flakes. Perfecto! Nah, you say. No can do. Welllll, what if I told you they were healthy. What if I told you they were healthy without seeming healthy. What would you say then?¬†I hope you’re in. I hope you’re game. Because these Mexican Hot Chocolate Breakfast Bars are secretly healthy. Made with a base of [gasp] sweet potatoes and black beans, this is one breakfast treat that anyone can get into eating.

I don’t usually calculate nutrition stats for my recipes, but I did for this one and discovered that each bar is 247 calories each, with 6 grams of fat. Thanks to the sweet potato and black beans, each serving has as much protein as an egg [6 grams] and as much¬†potassium¬†as a small banana [300 milligrams]. Add in the 6 grams of fiber and high amounts of vitamin A, this is a breakfast to be proud of. Unfortunately, the sugar content [29 grams] is higher than many breakfasts, but there are a couple ways this could be lowered–by using less honey or unsweetened versus sweetened coconut [or even subbing nuts for coconut altogether]. But that stat aside, I [the non-nutritionist,¬†dietitian, and professional that I am] feel pretty good about eating this for breakfast. A bit indulgent, yes, but homemade,¬†nutrient¬†rich, tasty, and satisfying.¬†Paired with a piece of fruit or some skim milk to round out the meal, these bars are really filling. Seriously… for the girl who usually eats a midmorning snack, a couple days when I ate one of these for breakfast at 8 am after a workout with a piece of fruit I wasn’t hungry until 1 pm. CRAY cray!

But don’t just take my word for it. Nutrition and all that boring info aside, I’m guessing you might be a bit hung up on the sweet potato/black bean base. I have two words: don’t. worry. I promise. Pinky swear, in fact. No one will be able to tell.

{Healthy} Mexican Hot Chocolate Breakfast Bars | The Pajama Chef

Case in point: the whole time I made these, Ben was playing video games in another room. True to routine, after they were baking, I visited him with the batter spoon for a test taste. Mum was the word, and he licked the bowl with a¬†vengeance. They were pulled out of the oven and set on a cooling rack next to an assortment of clean dinner and baking dishes air-drying on a towel. Ben said they looked like brownies, and that he was looking forward to a breakfast treat. He even tried a piece that had cracked off the top and said it was delicious. Still, I said nothing. It was only when we had gotten into bed that I fessed up. What can I say… I can’t go to bed in¬†deceit. Without batting an eye [at least, I think so… it was dark], Ben just laughed. He’s used to my kitchen games by now. And then, the next morning he took one to work for breakfast, along with a few others for his co-workers to try. That night, he came home with rave reviews. If that’s not an awesome testimony, then I don’t know what is.

{Healthy} Mexican Hot Chocolate Breakfast Bars | The Pajama Chef

I mean, I FINALLY tricked my husband into eating [and loving] something secretly healthy. I mean, I did¬†here, so it’s been done before. But I failed here, and also have failed with a ¬†smattering of other dishes over the years. Believe me, Ben eats plenty of healthy foods, but when it comes down to it, he would choose a rich, chocolately brownie over a bowl of sweet potatoes. Who wouldn’t? But why should you have to choose? If no one can tell, then I say game on and serve a secretly healthy Mexican Hot Chocolate Breakfast Bar in the morning. You won’t regret it…. especially if you heat ’em up for about 20 seconds before enjoying. Melty chocolate in the morning is the bestttt!

Mexican Hot Chocolate Breakfast Bars

  • Servings: 12
  • Print

heavily adapted from Eliza’s Edibles

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups no salt added black beans, drained and rinsed [a 15 ounce can or¬†cooked my way]
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 large sweet potato, scrubbed, peeled, and cooked [about 1 1/4- 1 1/2 cups]
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons natural peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of cayenne pepper [optional]
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chunks¬†+ more for sprinkling on top
  • 1/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes + more for sprinkling on top

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly grease and “flour” [using cooca powder] a 9×9 pan.

Add black beans and honey to a food processor and process until smooth, taking care to scrape the sides periodically to eliminate unsightly black bean chunks. Then chop sweet potato into small chunks and add to food processor along with the buttermilk, egg, peanut butter, and vanilla. Process again until everything is fully combined and very smooth. Mixture will be thick but not heavy.

In a small bowl, stir together cocoa powder, flours, baking powder, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper.

Transfer black bean mixture from food processor into a large bowl, then fold dry ingredients in. Stir until well combined, then add chocolate chunks and coconut flakes.

Spoon batter into prepared pan, then top with extra chocolate chunks and coconut flakes. Bake for 40-45 minutes, covering with foil for the last 10 minutes or so to ensure coconut on top toasts, not burns. Test with a toothpick to ensure bars are done, then cool completely before cutting. Keep refrigerated.