Sometimes I get a craving for something, and I’ll scour the internet looking at recipe after recipe until I find the one that…..oh great….I just spilled iced tea all over my keyboard. Is that going to seep into the computer and cause problems now????? I held my laptop upside down, so I think most of it dripped away. At least it wasn’t sweetened.
Anyway, back to my story. I scour the internet until I find the recipe that most tickles my fancy or meets the criteria for said craving. Sometimes I can’t find a recipe that fills all the boxes on my checklist and I know that I must make this right. After all, I just spent an hour furrowing my brow at unsatisfactory recipes, further deepening that wrinkle on my forehead.
I’ve really wanted to make a super healthy granola bar that I can grab as breakfast, a mid-day snack, or even have as a sweet treat at the end of the night. There are SO MANY granola bar recipes out there that use sticks of butter and cups and cups of brown sugar. Wouldn’t a good ol’ chocolate chip cookie be more satisfying?
My ideal granola bar would meet these criteria:
- No flour
- Natural sugar only
- Low in sugar
- Very low in fat
- Chewy and satisfying
So, after a good hour of searching, I decided to tackle this one on my own (and give my forehead a break). The resulting bars are soft and chewy with a subtle sweetness from bananas and honey. I forgot to add salt, which made them a tad “bland” according to Travis, but I think they’re perfectly fine for that super healthy snack I was looking for. I adjusted the recipe so that salt is now included.
Cranberry Banana Granola Bars
- 2 small bananas, well mashed
- 2 Tbsp. liquid egg whites (or 1 egg white)
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- 2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
- 2 1/2 cups regular oats
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- Preheat oven to 375 F and spray a 9″ square pan with non-stick spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the mashed banana, egg white, vanilla, honey, and oil.
- Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Dry toast the almonds until they begin to brown and become aromatic. Remove from heat.
- In a medium bowl, mix oats, cranberries, cinnamon, salt, and toasted almonds. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix thoroughly.
- With wet hands, press the mixture firmly and evenly into the pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes until browned around the edges. Cool 15 minutes before removing from pan. Slice into bars and allow to cool completely.
I mashed the bananas really well because I didn’t want any chunks in there, but that’s up to your discretion.
Next, toast the almonds. Dry toasting brings out such a wonderful flavor, and it makes the kitchen smell great!
They should look nice and toasty when they are done.
It just so happened that I had exactly 2 1/2 cups of oats left in the pantry.
Reminder: Get more oats at the market.
Add the toasted almonds to the oats, cranberries, cinnamon, and salt.
These guys were actually a late addition because I found that, without them, the mixture would not hold together.
They also needed that extra little touch of sweetness from the honey.
Spread the oat mixture evenly into the pan, set the timer for 20 minutes, and pop those bad boys in the oven!
The apartment smelled like cinnamon and love. At one point, I went outside to grab the laundry from the downstairs laundry room, and the smell of freshly baked granola bars perfumed the air. I felt so lucky that the smell was coming from MY apartment. Maybe my neighbors will want to become my friends now.
After about 20 minutes, remove them from the oven.
Try not to pick all of the cranberries out. 😉
I enjoyed two of these today, one as a mid-morning snack and one to tide me over on the drive home from work. I always bring something to snack on during my drive home. If I don’t then I’m famished when I get here, and I spoil my dinner.
These did the trick to satisfy my granola bar craving. They won’t get crunchy because of the bananas, but they are delightfully chewy and only a tad sweet. Upping the amount of honey might give them a more traditional granola bar taste and texture, but I was perfectly happy with the outcome.
Have a zestful evening!