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Thursday, January 14, 2016

No-bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Oat Bars

This is one of those awesome treats that doubles as breakfast (oats and banana) and dessert (chocolate) with a special ingredient that ties them both together (thanks peanut butter!).

Whenever I can I like to brown the butter I use in recipes to give a depth of flavor and make my kitchen smell awesome in the process. The caramel-y and nutty notes of the browned butter are absorbed nicely by the oats and these bars don't end up feeling too healthy that way.

It's always a bonus when you can skip the step of baking, and by browning the butter and using the same pot to cook the oat mixture, these only require 1 pot to prepare. Less dishes and no baking time means you can get to eating a lot faster, and I don't know anyone who minds that ;)

Some days we'll grab these on the way out the door in the morning as breakfast, some afternoons they come in handy as a snack between meals and they're an awesome ready dessert to enjoy after dinner. I've served them for brunch and included them in school lunches. They last a while in the fridge and still hold up great flavor and texture, so give these a try and let me know what you think!

Makes 16 bars

-4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
-3 cups old fashioned oats
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1/8 teaspoon salt
-1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 medium sized RIPE bananas)
-1 tablespoon vanilla
-1/2 tablespoon cinnamon powder
*optional: add 1 tablespoon flax or chia seeds to give these a nutritional boost*

-1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
-1/2 cup peanut butter

-1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

To make
-Heat a pot and add butter. Let the butter melt and whisk over medium heat until the butter foams and turns a light brown color. You will be able to smell a toasty and caramel like flavor, that is when your butter is browned. Be careful not to burn the butter.
-Add the oats, brown sugar, salt, mashed banana, vanilla and cinnamon powder (plus optional flax or chia seeds) to the pot of browned butter and cook the mixture for 3-5 minutes, until the oats are soft and have partly broken down.
-Line an 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper and butter the paper. Reserve 1 cup of the oat mixture and press the rest of the oat mixture into the pan, making sure to pat it down into an even layer. I butter the back of a silicon spatula and use it to press down the oat mixture. Place the pan in the freezer to firm up the bottom layer while you prepare the chocolate.
-Using the same pot you used to cook the oat mixture (make sure its empty) add the chocolate chips and peanut butter and cook on the lowest heat until the chocolate is melted and they are mixed together. Spread the chocolate mixture over the oat layer and smooth out to even.
-Using the reserved oat mixture, dallop in pieces over the chocolate. Alternatively (this is how I make it but it is a little more difficult), butter you hands and take chunks of the reserved oat mixture and flatten with the palm of your hand. Carefully lay the flattened pieces on top of the chocolate until you have covered the entire surface. Sprinkle with optional mini chocolate chips
-Cover and refrigerate or freeze until the mixture is firm. In my freezer it takes less than an hour.
-Cut into 4 rows diagonally and horizontally and serve.
-Enjoy and tag #savvychef in your instagram pictures to share :)

Try these other popular oat bar recipes! 

Raspberry Oat Bars

Nut and Seed Granola Bars

Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

1 comment:

  1. Tried these recently and loved them. Will absolutely make again!